The Secrets of Happy Families featured and tested on ABC’s Nightline. Watch the video here.
Friday, June 17th, 2011
My Father’s Day post on Huffington Post.
As long as humans have worshiped gods, they have walked to get closer to them. In the Bible, the greatest spiritual breakthroughs occur when the heroes are on journeys: Abraham going forth to the Promised Land; the Israelites crossing the Red Sea; Israel exiled to Babylon. From the Hajj to the Stations of the Cross, the greatest pilgrimages involve walking. And many pilgrims purposefully make their gait more arduous in order to slow their pace even more. Now I understand why.
Saturday, June 19th, 2010
Daddy-bashing is suddenly cool. The cover story of the latest Atlantic proclaims “The End of Men: How Women Are Taking Control — of Everything,” while inside the magazine Pamela Paul poses the emasculating question, “Are Fathers Necessary?” Her answer, after sifting through the research: probably not. Social scientists have been unable to prove that dads contribute much, she reports. The effort and quality of parenting are what really matter, not parents’ gender.
“The bad news for Dad is that despite common perception, there’s nothing objectively essential about his contribution,” concludes Paul, the author of “Parenting, Inc.”
The bad-dad rap doesn’t stop there. A 20-year study of lesbian parents in the journal Pediatrics concludes that teenagers raised by two mothers (read: no dad) had better grades and fewer social problems than other teens. The study’s co-author, Nanette Gartrell of the University of California at Los Angeles, explained the difference by saying that lesbian mothers are more committed to child-rearing than heterosexual parents.
So what’s a beleaguered dad to do? If science can’t prove that we matter, does that mean we don’t?
Read my full articles in The Washington Post.
Monday, May 3rd, 2010
Here is Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s extraordinarily moving special about me, my cancer, and THE COUNCIL OF DADS. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll not believe what was in my leg or that I’m riding a bike again.
CNN Presents: DADS FOR MY DAUGHTERS.
The special will air in its one-hour form on Father’s Day Weekend.
Sunday, April 25th, 2010
From the New York Daily News.
Bruce Feiler’s twin daughters, Eden and Tybee, were 3 when he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in 2008. Just days afterward, the best-selling Brooklyn author came up with the idea of asking six friends to look out for his daughters should he not survive. Feiler’s moving new book, “The Council of Dads,” tells their story.
How did the Council of Dads come about?
It was a reaction to a fear about what my daughters’ lives might be like without me. The first thing I imagined was all the things I would miss … all the questions they would have. “What would Daddy think about this?” “What would Daddy say about that?”
Where did the idea spring from?
I awoke from a half sleep, and there was … this letter forming in my head to my closest friends asking them to be there to answer my daughters’ questions. I said out loud, “I will call this group of men the Council of Dads.” As soon as I said those words, it seemed like they lived in the room.
How did you choose the members?
I was trying to fill the dad space. My wife, Linda, and I agreed that we should pick people who embodied all sides of me, each phase of my life. There is a travel dad. A make-your-dreams-happen dad. A values dad. A playful dad. A thinking dad. A nature dad. Now I kind of think of it as a team of godparents updated for a modern age.
How did it affect your friendships with the men?
The first time I read the letter to a friend I’d chosen, he’s crying. I’m crying. He said yes, and I was taken aback. I hadn’t realized this was a request you could turn down. In the end, they weren’t family, they weren’t just friends anymore. We − my wife and I and the girls − just had this whole new relationship in our lives.
It also changed your life?
The Council of Dads turns out to be less about parenting and more about friendship. We all think there’s a divide between family and friends. And when you have children, you can be so busy you think you don’t have time for friends. This built a bridge between our closest friends and our closest treasures, our children.
How did the Council work?
They never came together. They would come to see me in the hospital. But what started happening is that they would always build in time to visit with the girls. These aren’t just Daddy friends anymore. They are friends of theirs. The girls have nicknames for all of them.
You’re cancer-free. What is the status of the Council of Dads?
There is something incredibly powerful about telling your closest friends what they mean to you. It’s like we’re friend-married now. It’s like “till death do us part.”
The Council is an idea that is catching on.
The word has gotten around, and others are forming their own councils. I’m seeing divorced women do councils of dads because they want the male voice in their children’s lives. Women have councils of moms. I’m involved with a special program with the military to form councils of moms and councils of dads.
What do your daughters know about the Council?
They know they have a Council of Dads. They don’t know that the shadow of mortality hangs over the thing. I want to be honest with them, but not too honest.
Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
Few things take my breath away completely, unexpectedly. This did.
A few weeks ago I participated in a ceremony to ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ. It seems that someone’s stock truly went up that day!
Today, one of the people I met that day posted this beautiful story — the first printed comments about THE COUNCIL OF DADS.
This morning on my flight to San Francisco I read “The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me,” the latest book by Bruce Feiler that comes out this April. This is the first time in my life I have read a book cover to cover in one sitting and I can unequivocally say that Bruce’s book is the single most important and heart-felt and inspiring book I have ever read.
While the descriptions of the Council members and what each wants to share with Bruce’s daughters are poignant, enlightening and thought-provoking, it’s Bruce’s own writing about what it was like to fight the cancer during his “Lost Year” while facing imminent death, all in front of two young daughters, that makes The Council of Dads such an astonishing read.
His treatment included an aggressive chemo regime and a 15-hour surgery right out of a sci fi movie in which doctors removed several bones from his leg and reconstructed it in a titanium-filled procedure only one person has ever survived.
Please be warned that this is not one man’s grasp for attention — “look at me, I survived cancer.” It’s a journey of the mind and body, family and friends, love and sadness, in which the author stays present with his emotions throughout and recounts them with vivid detail.
“As you can see,” Bruce writes, “cancer is not linear. Our lives rock unaccountably – and unpredictably – among moments of hardship, stress, joy, pride, laughter and exhaustion. There is profundity to explore, but also laundry to do.”
Bruce’s ability to mix the profound and awe-inspiring with the mundane makes his book accessible and universally actionable to help you live a more balanced and focused life.
Early in his war against cancer, Bruce writes that cancer “is a passport to intimacy. It’s an invitation – even a mandate – to enter the most vital, frightening, and sensitive human arenas.”
By chronicling in such depth and compassion and pain his own relationship with cancer, Bruce’s book serves a passport to understanding and an invitation for each of us to ask ourselves “Who is my Council of Dads?”
Thanks Bruce for a wonderful book that will help guide my life for many years to come.
To read the entire review by Michael Lazerow, click here.
Thank you, Michael. See you on the bikes!