Being a Military Dad and an Advocate for my Son
Being a father is a tough job. As a father in the military, there are numerous opportunities and times where being a father can be overwhelming. It can sometimes feel like the role of father is completely forgotten, which can lead to even more stress.
Probably the thing that causes me the most stress as a father is figuring out where, when, and how I can get the services that my son requires and then how to maintain those services. My son, Joshua, was born with Congenital Cytomegalovirus (cCMV). As a result of this pre-birth infection, Joshua has many challenges. He is legally deaf and legally blind, and he suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Being a military dad means I need to be responsible for these elements in addition to the pressures of a military career, including extended deployments in an environment that has few available resources.
For me personally, finding a way and moving forward means advocating for Joshua and all special needs children and families in the military. As is the nature of the military, we transfer every 2-4 years. But I am privileged to say that the bonds that I have established with these other Dads do not know distance. I am still in phone contact with some of them. I am humbled by being selected as the 2011 Military Fatherhood Award winner, sponsored by the National Fatherhood Initiative, and being selected as a Champion of Change.
I will use the platform offered and champion the changes that need to be made. It is my desire to advocate for more attention to be placed on the father and fatherhood resources for military fathers, including resources to help fathers re-enter the family unit after an extended deployment.
LS1 Christopher Cady is in the U.S. Navy and is the recipient of the 2011 Military Fatherhood Award from the National Fatherhood Initiative.
So this is fun.
Like millions of dads across our country, President Obama has said that being a father is the "most important job he has." From coaching basketball to helping with homework, the President cherishes the time he gets to spend with his two girls, even when life gets busy.
On June 15th at a screening of the movie Cars 2 for military fathers and families, President Obama is kicking off something called the year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families as part of his Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. It's an effort with partners from around the nation to create simple opportunities for dads and kids to connect. Whether it’s a free game of bowling, a Major League Baseball or WNBA game, a visit to the zoo or aquarium, or discounts for dads and kids through partners like Groupon and LivingSocial, we're excited to help create small moments that can have a big impact. You can sign up for updates and find more in the coming days on www.fatherhood.gov.
Military fathers and families listen as President Barack Obama stops by a screening of the movie "Cars 2" in the South Court Auditorium of the White House, June 15, 2011. The President talked about the year of "Strong Fathers, Strong Families" as part of his Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama wrote about growing up without his own dad in his life – and millions of kids in America experience the same. According to the U.S. Census, almost one out of every three children in our country grow up without their father. And when dads are not around to support, families and children can be impacted as a result.
For years, the President has worked with dads from around the country to do something about fatherlessness, from supporting local fatherhood programs to encouraging personal responsibility. We're thrilled to advance this work through the year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families. Remember to sign the President’s fatherhood pledge and stay updated at www.fatherhood.gov.
Michael Strautmanis is Counselor in the Office of Public Engagement and a proud father of three.