In honor of Fathers Day this Sunday, we bring you a special interview with one of Diane’s colleagues, Dan Dolsen. Several years ago, Dan founded The Fatherhood Project, with one mission in mind: building great dads.
From left to right: John, David, Kristin, Dan and Michael Dolsen
4word: What gave you the idea to start The Fatherhood Project?
Dan: In 2010 I had a dream. I am a person who is a bit skeptical when it comes to taking specific actions because of a dream; however, there are a few great stories in the Bible where God used dreams to move an individual to action.
In my dream, I was presenting at a retreat center on the topic of fatherhood. As soon as I woke up, I prayed. And God inspired me to help fathers reach into the Scriptures and gain an understanding of how best to serve their families.
Since this time, God has continued to inspire me to develop the material that supports the message of The Fatherhood Project – Building Great Dads, as well as to meet with fathers to work together on how to bring the very best to our families.
4word: I think we can all agree that being a dad is tough! Do you think it’s harder now in today’s culture? Why/why not?
Dan: Fatherhood has always been challenging – think of Adam dealing with Cain and Abel or the rebellion of King David’s sons – but each generation faces its own set of challenges. One of the big challenges facing today’s fathers is busyness: in their own lives, in the lives of their spouses and particularly in their children’s lives.
We, including our children, become defined by what we do, and our value is equated with the notion that busy people must be important — simply because they are so busy. This perspective is far from the value that God the Father sees in each one of us. He does not define our value by what we do or how full our calendar is with activities.
So a central challenge facing today’s Christian father is to bring the truth to our families that true value and purpose are found in the fact that God is their father and they are His children. This truth should lead each of us to view and treat our children differently because of their relationship with God the Father.
4word: What do you hope that men who participate in The Fatherhood Project learn and grow from the experience?
Dan: For most men, planning is an important part of their lives –whether it is planning for work, finances, or even their golf game. However, when it comes to being a father, most dads are more reactive and tend to take it as it comes.
The Fatherhood Project is a biblically-based approach to being a father that provides a set of practical tools to help dads become more intentional in their parenting. Through this highly interactive workshop, fathers consider four central roles – being a Provider, Protector, Partner and Preparer – and develop a realistic plan of action based upon their own unique circumstances and needs.
4word: If you could offer just one piece of advice to current or future fathers, what would it be?
Dan: It’s not an accident that you are a father. For some dads, it might have seemed like an accident, but it wasn’t—it was very much a part of God’s plan for your life. If it was God’s plan for you to become a father, then it is also God’s plan to equip you and use you as the key influence in your children’s lives.
There are no exceptions to this truth! So relax, knowing that God has already readied you to be a father, and enjoy being a dad. Be assured that God will use you (yes—even you!) to be a direct expression of His love to your family.
4word: As women, what can we do to encourage the men in our lives as they are striving to be great dads?
Dan: So much of what we are trying to do with our children is help them grow in confidence and security, knowing that they are loved and valued. Many couples make the mistake of mainly focusing on their children, but the reality for most children today is that they find their security in knowing that mom and dad are in love with each other and will be together.
This is especially true in a world where our children see so many families torn apart through divorce. So wives (and husbands): make sure to put each other first and shower love on one another. Be expressive and let your children see the example of two people who are madly in love. Your very secure children will love you for it!
Now we’ll turn that last question back you on, dear readers. How do you support and encourage the dads in your own lives?
If you’re interested in learning more about The Fatherhood Project, you can visit buildinggreatdads.org or contact Dan at email@example.com.