Lights, camera, action became reality last month when the TODAY Show’s Matt Lauer chose to spend a day with the NRFC team in an actual home searching for ideal hiding spots—behind a curtain, in a kitchen cabinet, and within a pile of stuffed animals. Why? As the father of three children, Lauer chose to support the issue of fatherhood involvement in an original Public Service Announcement, in collaboration with the Ad Council and Detroit-based ad agency Campbell Ewald. He conveys his energy and enthusiasm, and reminds us that being a parent can be fun. In fact, it reminded me of the many times growing up without social media−imagination was everything. How else could you find the one place in a Brooklyn one bedroom that nobody could find you? And, in our technology-driven world it sometimes helps to share some “old school” play options with dads of all ages.
We know that loving and nurturing fathers improve outcomes for children, families, and communities. Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors including drug use, truancy, and criminal activity.
At the end of the day, Lauer reminds all of us that even the busiest fathers can take a few minutes each day to interact with their children in a meaningful way. Whether its hide-and-seek, coloring, or catching a ball, it’s all about sharing time together.
That night, I went home and re-thought the best hiding spots in my house so that I have my game plan ready for the weekend! I encourage you all to do the same.
Kenneth Braswell, Director, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse.