Fatherville: Hello Julian, and welcome to Fatherville. To start things off could you please tell our readers what motivated you to start the GetConnectDad website?
Get Connect Dad: Great question. About seven years ago, this idea came to me after a long custody ‘battle’ for my oldest daughter, who was 13 at the time. The concept of connecting fathers who are at different seasons in their lives in some manner kept rolling around in my head.
A few months ago, as I was heading out on a Sunday morning for a weeklong work ‘retreat’ I was struck with a repeating question in my head. “What would happen if I spend 50% of the time when I am traveling for work focused on being a better father + helping other fathers be better fathers?” On a plane ride from Omaha to New York City, I pulled out my list of 45 or so traits I had been collecting over the past few years and began writing.
Surprisingly, some awesome fathers responded immediately to my idea and volunteered to write. More and more sign up each week to write with us. It has been overwhelming.
FV: How long has the site been online?
GCD: We went “live” in April of 2016.
FV: On your website on the About Us page it says you work with a team of dads from around the world…how did you choose the dads you are working with?
GCD: The team has formed in a couple or ways. First, I have had some wonderful men (and women) reach out directly and say, what can I do to help? They are excited about the Traits Framework and it provides some guide rails for their writing. Secondly, I reach out directly to father’s who’s perspective I find interesting. I am extremely interested in conversations that challenge us to be better parents. I read A LOT each day from many father bloggers and look for interesting perspectives, particularly those from overseas.
FV: Could you briefly tell us about some of these dads?
GCD: Oh my goodness, the fathers who are writing are in so many different stages and facing different challenges. Interestingly, there is a good balance between fathers who are the primary caregivers and fathers who work outside of the home. What I love about the parents who are working with us is I really feel like I am making some great connections with all of them. You know, when you really look at what they are writing about, all of them are trying to learn to be better. How awesome is that?
FV: What are some of your favorite fatherhood sites? Tell us what fatherhood books are on your reading list.
GCD: What an awesome question. I actively follow the 150 authors who work with me on developing content. I listen to Mike Struyk’s (2CentDad) podcast religiously, Nick Devries’ (Fat Dad Slim Dad) YouTube Channel, Paul Carlson’s The Unexpected Dad, Scott Behsen’s book “Working Dad’s Survival Guide”, “The Dad Gum Blog”, Fatherville (of course), UK’s “Learning to Dad”, “Dadonymous”, Troy’s blog ”DadRise”, UK’s “Hello Fatherhood”, Han-Son Lee’s “Daddi Life”, “Random Dad’s Podcast” (love these guys), Greg’s Blog – “Dad Ponderings”, Thomas from Scotland’s – “Dad’s Rock”, Alex Fihema’s “Father of 5” and my two favorite poets, Sarah Sales sarahleastories.com and Craig Tischner @poet_unknown.
As for books I am reading, I am reading some books that are being sent to me for review and comment. I love the energy and the effort some fathers are putting into their writing. My favorite fatherhood book is still Scott Behsen’s book “Working Dad’s Survival Guide”. It is a constructive guide to finding some sense of balance in a world that will take as much time away from your family as you let. I am a work in progress in that arena; however, Scott’s book is very good and insightful.
FV: What, in your opinion, are some of the biggest challenges dads face today when it comes to raising sons and/or daughters?
GCD: Balance. You know, in the world of fatherhood writers, there seems to be certain themes. The un-involved dad, the Stay At Home Dad, and then the Dad who works out of the home + I am sure more.
What I hear daily from fathers is a desire to be able to spend more quality time with their kids. Even those who can stay at home talk about making sure the time they are spending with their kids is valuable and productive.
It is the primary reason for our coming out with our 5 Simple Things you can do with your kids to become more ConnectDAD. The list includes:
- Spend 1 extra hour each week with each of your child doing what they want to do
- Read to or have your kids read to you 1 time this week
- Take a walk outside with your family this week.
- Simply say “I love you” this week
- Hug your kids this week.
FV: 52 Traits? Where did this list of traits come from? How did you decide on these traits?
GCD: I kept notes over the past few years when I would meet awesome people. Many of the traits I can directly connect to someone I have met, worked with, worshiped with, you name it. I realize that 52 traits are A LOT and most of us can address or focus on 5-10 good ones; however, it has been a work of love for a few years.
FV: Growing up–who were your childhood heroes?
GCD: My heroes were all teachers and coaches. I was raised pretty sheltered, so most of my role models were found in school. I loved the attention they gave me as a student and fell in love with their passion for learning. To this day, I am constantly learning something new. In college, they called it active learning. I think maybe it is Adult Attention Disorder.
FV: Who are your heroes today?
GCD: Today, my heroes are the men and women who give up everything in their lives to ensure their kids have a better life. When you think of the number of moms and dads who are working 2 and 3 jobs to not only make ends meet; but also to provide a new trajectory for their kid’s futures. Those are my heroes. My father told me years ago that his only goal in life was to have ‘successful’ kids. Those types of parents are my heroes today.
FV: Julian what would you say is your biggest accomplishments to date? What are you most proud of?
GCD: I would argue, my biggest accomplishment was convincing my wife to marry me. Her involvement in my life has been incredible and I am a better man because of her. I am also very proud of how GetConnectDAD is reaching families in 90 countries every month. I am not sure what the next chapter will look like for GCD; however, I am trying to stay very focused on the mission, to connect families better over time.
FV: Please tell us about your father/grandfather/ or a significant male role model in your life.
GCD: My father and my father-in-law are the two biggest influencers in my life. My father was very focused on creating successful, healthy kids. He and mom sacrificed more than I will ever have to for all four of us kids. For that, I will always consider him a big influencer in my life. My father-in-law is one of the kindest men I have ever met. There is a quiet resolve in his spirit that I hope to grow in my life as I mature with my boys. His softness around my sons is something I admire and want to model more in the future.
FV: Tell us a little bit more about yourself. Your passions, hobbies, and goals for the future.
GCD: I am a boring father now. I love camping (with my family), traveling for pleasure (with my family), and playing the piano.
My goals are quite simple.
- I want to live my Christian faith proudly every day of my life
- I want to leave a legacy for my son’s that they can be proud of
- I want to be a better husband to my wife each day
- I want a million fathers on GetConnectDAD in the next five years who are focused on finding young fathers to mentor and spreading the word of our 5 Simple Things dads can do this week
- I want to personally reach a father a day who might not feel connectDAD and offer my friendship. That 365/Year that I can reach. Imagine what would happen if 1 Million fathers reached out to 1 per month?
FV: Julian, thank you very much for talking with us and sharing a bit more about your vision for Get Connect Dad.
To find out more information about GetConnectDad.com check out the following resources:
On the web: http://www.getconnectdad.com
or on Twitter @GetConnectDad
or on Facebook GetConnectDadTweet