For a lot of us, father’s day comes with with lots of baggage. Let’s be honest, you’re either celebrating it or avoiding it.
Greg Hamilton will be celebrating with his two boys and the group of fathers he has brought together through his outreach organization Fathers-4-Fathers.
Hamilton, a high school teacher, and coach started F4F in 2013 after finding himself in a messy divorce with nowhere to turn. “Growing up I always envisioned my life with my partner and my kids and for it not to work out that way was such a shock and kind of hard to grasp. It was a big transition for me, but at the end of the day I said I was going to be there for my kids no matter what.”
When the idea of being a hands-on parent was challenged, Hamilton was left to fight for his rights as a parent through the court system. The bias that fathers face when going through custody proceedings was the base for building F4F. “My organization stands for the fact that there are good men and fathers out there doing what they are supposed to do. That’s what we advocate for; we try to educate men to be better. My vision for the organization is to make a monumental change to government’s policy and society’s views towards dads so that we are seen as equal parents.”
Hamilton feels strongly about changing the way we view parenting to allow fathers to be seen as an equally vital part of raising healthy and happy children. “As an educator, I see the results of kids in high school that don’t have that father figure in the home. I see what broken home looks like. God designed it that both parents should be raising a child--not one. I think we need to get back to the roots of how it should be.”
Hamilton stresses that getting back to our roots is not just for the sake of tradition but rather to allow children to see what it means to be a man. “My kids in their preschool and daycare, they had nothing but women teachers throughout that time. Kids need to see that role model. They need to see how a man conducts himself, how he acts. They need to see that being modeled. They may be too young to understand but seeing that on a consistent basis provides a lot."
To achieve the massive shift F4F is aspiring to, they offer resources to men who are trying to learn how to effectively parent whether they are the custodial parent, a grandparent or an uncle. They provide courses, social events, and basketball programs for Dads and their kids to come, be together and feel supported. Men are often overlooked when it comes to programs available to help them improve and develop their skills as a parent. Their services extend to being able to offer a safe space for men who are going through a separation or divorce.
Through information and community, F4F is offering a new alternative to the idea that fathers play a less important role in their child’s life than mothers.