Father Leaders


 In the last 50 years women have changed the world.  After centuries of struggle – struggles that are not over – I agree with Tom Peters who assessed women as leaders in this way, “Women roar. Women rule.”  Women ascended to public and business power by employing many tools:  debate, dialogue, demonstrations, mentoring, strategizing, and risk-taking.  They – with the help of many male allies – liberated themselves from the confines of the house and the confines of strangling gender roles.  In an odd asymmetry their forceful revolution quietly liberated men.  Our liberation – to lead at home and be freed from our gender chains – came without our employing the tools, strategies, and the constant rich dialogue that characterized the women’s movement.

As Father’s Day approaches, I am celebrating the chance to be an everyday leader at home.  And I am eager for the dialogue, debate and mentoring that will help us to shine as much in the home-world as our wives and daughters, nieces and neighbors are doing in the public sphere.  I am profoundly grateful that women fought for their space and created ours.  Jennifer’s aspirations and career choice opened up an incredible opportunity for me; often a difficult and confusing one, but always a rich opportunity.  As men bear the weight of many of the economic cutbacks – especially in manufacturing and construction – I hope that some will walk eagerly back into their homes to be everyday leaders and create a great workplace culture there with their kids (recognizing that the economics can be crippling).  Whether we are the lead parent at home or not, our success and happiness will grow as we (learn to) talk more and better with each other.

 With Father’s Day consider giving a book or CD that will help dad (or a reflective grandpa) to see his nontraditional gifts and develop them fully.  

  • I took leadership principles and transposed them into the world of parenting; you can find my CD with ten lessons to Be the Parent Your Children Want to Follow.  
  • My friend Kevin O’Shea has written a great book called The Fatherstyle Advantage and you can follow his blogs at MichDads Blog at the Detroit News.  One of the great things about blogs is that you can engage with others there!  And since one of the challenges for the primary parent is that it’s somewhat isolating, a blog’s a nice way to find a virtual community.  
  • You can find a solid list of parent books at Amazon.  One of the best in that bunch is, Raising Cain; it’s a thoughtful guide to raising emotionally healthy boys. Also on the list, is Reviving Ophelia, a rather frightening but helfpul look at what adolescent girls go through. 

And many boys and girls don’t have fathers.  Gratefully, many have mentors.  Meijer is celebrating Fathers Day on Saturday by contributing $2 from every $25 gift card to Mentor Michigan.  Go in and load up for the kids!  It’s a really easy way to…

Lead with your best self,