Courageous Conversation: The influence of a positive father figure

Everyone's Child

Springfield, Mo – As we continue to look at the increase of mass violence that occurs in our country, an examination of the root of the problem is an important place to start. Many issues in a boy’s life can arise during a child’s formative years. Yet, it’s something that is perhaps preventable with the influence of a positive father figure.

Paul Windisch is a Springfield dad who is spending Halloween with his nine-year-old son, Hayden. It’s just one of the many traditions they enjoy together.

“(Hayden is) the biggest blessing ever. He’s my whole world,” Paul told us.

Fatherhood is a responsibility he’s not taking lightly.

“The statistics are staggering of how children as they get older into their teens, the paths they go down if they don’t have a father in their life who is fully engaged,” Paul said.

The U.S. Census Bureau says those growing up without a father figure are more likely to face bigger risks of behavioral problems, including being more prone to crime. Paul works with the local organization Good Dads, which puts an emphasis on fathers being more present in their kid’s lives.

“It’s not just for dads who are not in the home,” he said. “It’s for workaholic dads. That was me for a long time at the beginning of his life. I’d work a lot of hours, come home, and was never fully engaged.”

Dr. Jennifer Baker founded Good Dads after realizing there is a need to help assist fathers to be the best they can.

“Some research indicates that fathers are more helpful than mothers in regulating the child’s emotional affect, and regulates their emotions,” Dr. Baker said.

Whether it’s fathers who don’t live in the same home or frequently work out of town, Good Dads offers several different options to help families that may have unusual circumstances.

“It’s just that fathers are so important in the lives of their children, and especially their boys,” Dr. Baker explained. “A dad being there and helping them to understand what it’s like to be a man, and being confident in one’s self. Those kinds of things are much more likely to happen if a dad is present in his son’s life in a positive way.”

Paul and others are grateful for the mission statement from Good Dads and wants to set a precedent for the future, for more than just he and Hayden.

“We’re changing things for generations if we do it right,” Paul said. “If we engage with our children the right way, and we spend quality time with them and raise them the right way, we’re impacting generations. Because, hopefully, that’s going to go on, with him, and with his family.”

“I’ve never met a child that did not want a good relationship with his or her father,” Dr. Baker said. “That desire to know, that ‘my dad is thinking about me, my dad cares about me, and he wants to know if I’m okay.'”

You can learn more about Good Dads by clicking here.

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