Each Father's Day , I find myself reflecting on the lessons and wisdom embedded within me through my father.
Fathers love and respect their partner - He was born on a farm in Ipswich, South Dakota, the oldest of eight children. He was a farmer at age 14 and a young soldier early in World War II. After seven years in the Navy, our dad fell in love and married the enduring love of his life, our mother. They were married for 62 years. My parents eventually settled in a small town in southeast Iowa and raised 5 children while my father worked 3 jobs. He always commented how lucky he was to have married our mom and that it was best decision that he ever made.
Fathers sacrifice for their children - Watching my father work so hard had a profound effect on me. My first job was delivering newspapers, at age 12. On Sundays, the paper was real thick making it difficult to deliver all across the town. My father would get up with me early on Sunday morning and helped me load the papers in the car and drive me to the various neighborhoods.
Fathers are fun - As busy as our dad was, he made time to do a lot of fun things for us. Our dad bought a second hand motorboat that we used to go out on the Mississippi River on weekends. The boat was constantly breaking down and there were many times we had to use the oars to row back to the dock after the engine conked out. It was a standing joke, that whenever we went out on the river, we would always head upstream, so that we could easily return to the dock downstream.
Fathers live well - I learned from my father, particularly in his later years, the importance of being kind, and to try and do some good every day. He treated every person he met with courtesy and kindness.
My father, Leo Maiers, passed away peacefully at age 92. My siblings and I were blessed to have had him in our lives as long as we did.
On this Father’s Day of 2013, I think about my father’s life and how important it is to live each day like it’s your last one, and try to do something good for someone every day.
Paul Maiers is a Program Specialist with the Administration for Children and Families Office of Family Assistance, and the father of two.
As a group, we men are not known for doing a very good job of taking care of our own health.
National Men’s Health Week, from June 10 through Father’s Day on June 16, is a good time for us to start taking responsibility and doing what’s needed to stay healthy and active. That means eating right, taking the time to exercise, and—yes—talking to our doctors about what checkups we need.
Many health problems are preventable or more easily treated if we’re proactive about our health. The good news is the Affordable Care Act ensures that most health insurance plans cover recommended preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost.
Some of these services that are particularly important to men ages 40 to 64 include blood pressure and cholesterol checks, flu shots and tobacco cessation services.
Make sure your fathers, grandfathers, friends and uncles on Medicare know that they are eligible for these and other preventive services such as a yearly wellness visit, with no co-pays or deductibles.
On October 1, 2013, there will be a new way for men to find affordable, quality health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You will be able to compare private insurance plans at the new Health Insurance Marketplace on HealthCare.gov and purchase the one that best suits your needs and wallet, for coverage starting January 1, 2014. You will also be able to use the same website to find out if you’re eligible for free or lower-cost coverage.
Beginning next year, you can’t be turned down or charged more because of a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, or because of the type of work you do.
Educate yourself and get information to share with all the men in your life -- your sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, cousins, partners, and friends -- by signing up now at HealthCare.gov.
During National Men’s Health Week, let’s man up and take control of our health—for the peace of mind and security that we and our families deserve.
There’s no better Father’s Day gift for the fathers and men – and women and children – who care for us.
Bill Corr is the Deputy Secretary Of Health And Human Services
Sione is one of the many fatherhood success stories from the Office of Samoan Affairs Healthy Marriage and Relationship (HMR) program. The program has created a platform for Pacific Islanders that address the foundation of family and marriage. In doing so, fathers and families become healthier and happier which helps promote thriving communities.
Sione never had it easy. He carried an accent in his residing city of Sacramento, from his home of origin in New Zealand, and suffered from having a language barrier. He married young after finding that his girlfriend would soon be the mother of his first son. He found himself becoming an abusive husband and father at least in part as a result of his own abusive upbringing.
After attending a HMR workshop with his wife, Sione began applying the tips and tools he received, which included healthy communication, conflict management, and other relationship skills. Sione’s desire as a father to provide a healthy foundation for his son has been strengthened through support from program staff and a growing relationship with his community and church. Recently, Sione went back to school and is graduating this spring with his AA Degree. His wife describes their relationship as “the best it has ever been” and the couple has just welcomed their second child into the world!
The Office of Samoan Affairs (OSA) is located in the heart of Sacramento, CA. Established 30 years ago; its mission is to empower the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (NHOPI) community of nearly 25,000 people in the city of Sacramento.
Since its official Sacramento opening in November 2011, the office has served over 800 adults and nearly 200 youth through its Healthy Marriage and Relationship (HMR) Program. This program, funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, has impacted many with stories similar to Sione and is continuing to create more stories just like this one in the NHOPI community.
Learn more about the Office of Samoan Affairs Healthy Marriage and Relationships Program at http://officeofsamoanaffairs.org/healthy-marriage.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Office of Family Assistance
Ed. Note: Reposted from the ACF Family Room Blog. Read the original post here.
Greetings and Happy Father's Day!
On behalf of the Administration for Children and Families and my office, the Office of Family Assistance, congratulations to all you dads on being an engaged, responsible and concerned father. I know you wouldn’t be visiting this blog if you didn’t care about your role as a father, dad and friend to your children.
Father's Day is a special day for me because it gives me a chance to reflect back on my past and think of my future with my four-year-old son. Unfortunately, I lost my father just after my wedding, 18 years ago. As a result he never had the opportunity to meet his grandchild, Owen, and vice versa. Yet, in the years before his death he took me on a life journey that set the stage for me — however late in life — to follow in his footsteps and be an engaged and committed father and husband. My dad’s efforts to be a good father were based on his love, devotion and goal for me to be a civil and respectful person. All of his work set the stage for me to have a vision of what it means to be a good father, dad and husband.
As you all know, parenting comes with its challenges. We plod along in this role, trying not to lose focus or sight of our purpose because we know deep down inside of us it is the right thing to do. It can be difficult. The beauty of fatherhood can come quickly and/or instantaneously. For example, when after a long day in the trenches, a screaming, wide eyed, gapped toothed smiling, whirling dervish of a child scampers around the corner as you open the door, and jumps in your arms yelling "Daddy!" Then, just as quickly and enthusiastically, jumps out of your arms and races back to watch, for the 100th time, the final scene of Star Wars, at that moment you know that the force is with them. Because, for that moment all seems right.
So on this Father’s Day I hope that you all have the opportunity to feel and direct the force of your child or children in a positive way. It is a special privilege to be a father and I hope you all have the ability to revel in the moment when you look into their eyes as you open their cards wishing you Happy Father’s Day, because it is at that moment when you know the force is with you.
Earl Johnson is director of the Office of Family Assistance. Prior to joining the Administration for Children and Families, Johnson was senior Policy Advisor to Oakland, California Mayor Ron Dellums, where he was responsible for helping set policy and program goals for the city in the areas of workforce, health and urban affairs. He also worked with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships on fatherhood initiatives.
As we head into Father’s Day this year, we are celebrating the bonds created through spending quality time between fathers and father figures, families and children. As the President has said before—Our children don't need us to be superheroes. They don't need us to be perfect. They do need us to be present. They need us to show up and give it our best shot, no matter what else is going on in our lives. They need us to show them -- not just with words, but with deeds -- that they, our kids, are always our first priority.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continues to support the important role fathers play in families and we’re pleased to highlight these recent efforts:
Protecting Men’s Health - To help fathers take control of their health and be around for a lifetime of quality time with their kids, we’re reminding all men that thanks to the Affordable Care Act new options will soon be available for the nearly 23 million uninsured men who are eligible. Beginning October 1, 2013, individuals and small businesses will be able to visit the Health Insurance Marketplace to compare health coverage options and choose the plan that best fits their needs and wallet. In fact, some individuals will be eligible for free or low-cost plans. Coverage will begin as early as January 1, 2014.
Getting Engaged Early through Head Start and Early Head Start - We’re also helping fathers develop responsible parenting skills and economic stability. Head Start and Early Head Start programs are bolstering resources and training as a part of their Father Engagement Week for creating father-friendly programs to make it easier for men to engage in their children’s lives. Through these efforts, we are encouraging and equipping fathers and families to create quality time with their children through these programs.
Tips for New and Expecting Dads - Spending time together can start early. That’s why text4baby is launching a new series of messages for expecting fathers and fathers with a baby under the age of 1 through its free text messaging service. These messages created in partnership with HHS contain critical information and tips on how to improve child health and safety, ways to engage with your baby and how to support a mother’s health.
Equipping Organizations to Reach Dads – Office of Adolescent Health within Office of the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health developed an e-learning module that provides an overview of important insights and data on the unique and irreplaceable role that fathers (including teen fathers) play in the well-being of their children. It equips organizations to effectively support fathers, consistently and for the long-term, and reduce the ill effects of father absence in communities and have more families spending quality time together.
Modernizing the Child Support Program – As the President laid out in State of the Union and his budget, we will continue to reform our child support program to work better for families and fathers, including by getting more men working and engaged with their children. This includes rigorous research to evaluation promising strategies to improve fathers’ employment prospects and an interagency initiative to assist military and veteran parents manage their child support responsibilities as they come home.
Supporting Fatherhood and Marriage Programs - Programs within the Administration for Children and Families continue to connect dads to jobs, training, and other resources. They also aim to strengthen the bonds between couples with children, reduce domestic violence, and help provide children strong role models of adulthood. Through these programs, more fathers and families are connecting creating more opportunities for quality time and an evaluation of these strategies is helping further understanding of how best to improve parent, couple and parent-child relationships.
Continuing the Fatherhood Buzz - The Administration for Families and Children works in partnership with the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse to support Fatherhood Buzz, an initiative to promote responsible fatherhood and provide community resources through barbershops across the country. These barbers and clients are focusing on how they can encourage fathers to engage with their families and make more time quality time with their children.
Launching New PSA Campaigns - The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse also recently unveiled new public service announcements, featuring the characters from the movie Despicable Me 2 and focusing on the theme “Take Time to be a Dad Today.”
Investing in Fatherhood Research – In addition to investing in research to learn more about fatherhood involvement and promising strategies for employment and engagement, HHS is establishing a Responsible Fatherhood Research Network that will disseminate information about good fatherhood parenting practices by supporting the development and evaluation of evidence- or theory-based interventions to increase positive father involvement in the lives of their children.
Ben O’Dell is Associate Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.