by John Hoffman Are you a smoker? Thought about quitting? No doubt you have. I have never been a smoker myself. So I don’t feel qualified to give people advice about how to go about quitting. However, few would argue the point that the health-related reasons for quitting are compelling. And when you become a father there’s another big reason – setting a good example (and being healthy) for your kids. But, as we all know, smoking is an addiction, and addictions are hard to break. So anybody who wants to quit usually needs more than just willpower. Fortunately, there are now some great supports and products to help people quit including nicotine patches and nicotine gum. And there is now a great Canadian resource called Dads in Gear for fathers who want to quit smoking. Dads in Gear is about more than just quitting smoking. It’s also about healthy lifestyle and plain old being a good dad. But quitting smoking is a primary focus. One thing I really like about the site is the personal stories about quitting. I particularly liked a video where a young dad named David talks about his reasons for quitting and how he went about it. I really admire his honesty and his very direct way of speaking. David tells a story about how three guys he was working with – all smokers – had all come to work one day without cigarettes. That day was going to be day one of quitting for them. David was all like, “I’m really going to try with you guys.” But in the back of his mind he was thinking there was no way he could really do it. “I am not going to be able to come to work without a pack of cigarettes,” he said. “Because it goes hand in hand. You go to work and you bring your smokes. You make sure you have them before you start your day.” What’s interesting is that, of that group of four, David is the only one who ended up quitting. And it was the thought of his family, particularly his baby son that motivated him. “I didn’t want to be a father that smoked,” he says simply. David wanted his son to grow up in a smoke-free environment, unlike himself, who grew up in a house where both parents smoked. But the thought of his family kept him going; that plus the fact that, as he puts it, “I really didn’t want to smoke.” David says he never used non-smoking aids to stop the cravings. “I just thought about my family. I felt like I would be a failure to them if I’m trying to quit smoking and then, here I am having a cigarette.” At the time the video was made, David had been cigarette-free for eight months. Ironically, he doesn’t feel like he’s an ideal role model. He’s afraid that his story might seem to make it sound like quitting smoking is easier than it really is. “It was really, really hard at times,” he says. But, the thought of his family kept him going; that plus the fact that, as he puts it, “I really didn’t want to smoke.” I have to think that this kind of personal story – unscripted, just a guy saying it in his own words – is more effective than some expert rehashing all the health risks of smoking. Most smokers already know the risks. Dads in Gear has other personal quitting stories as well. The site also has information and videos about healthy eating, active lifestyle, things to do with kids and information about Dads in Gear groups in different towns in BC. It’s one of the best new resources for fathers that I’ve seen recently. And if a guy who wants to quit (and most smokers do and have tried at some point), becoming a father is as good a motivation as I can think of. Dads in Gear is there to help.
by John Hoffman A few years ago, as part of a project, I did an unscientific survey of Canadian programs for fathers. One of the most striking results was that the most common type of program for fathers was what I call the Saturday morning Dad and Me drop-in type program. These programs usually run … More Gotta Love Those Dad and Me Drop-in Programs
There is momentum for fathering programs in the Regent Park Community in Toronto. As part of their program planning that includes increasing father involvement, Parents For Better Beginnings is having a number of Dads & Kids Days in the winter: sledding in January; a winter carnival in February; ice skating in March. They have put out … More Regent Park
We are a group of dads with children that have special needs. We get together once a year for a getaway weekend at Easter Seals Camp Woodeden in London On. This year Dads Camp will be on September 19th to 21st 2014. We are always looking for more dads to join us for a … More A WEEKEND AWAY FOR DADS THAT HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN
This years recipient of the Lozier Award for Excellence in Father Involvement Practice is the LAMP Community Health Centre. Engaging fathers takes intentional decisions that begin to open doors for opportunities to support fathers in communities. With much foresight, in 2002 the Board of the LAMP CHC made a conscious decision to become a leader … More Fernand Lozier Award for Excellence in Father Involvement Practice
On Saturday June 22, 2013 Blind River Best Start Hub hosted an event to begin building above ground garden boxes. One dad, Bill and his son Will began to measure for cutting. They measured all boards and then cutting began. All wood was cut and screwed together to form the boxes. Kevin, who also come out … More Diggin in the Dirt with Dads
The Portuguese Speaking Fathers Group at St. Christopher House is a group of fathers and their children, primarily between the ages of 0 to 6, that meet every other Saturday, and its central purpose is to enhance parental skills and strengthen the bond between fathers and their young children. The program has made a significant … More Portuguese Speaking Dads Celebrating Fatherhood