Kids Cookin’ With Chef Daddy


chefdaddylinkedTEAM DAD partnered with the Hamblen County Health Department to provide a unique cooking event for dads and their children.  Participants prepared a delicious, healthy meal and then got to enjoy it together.  Everyone also got a lesson on healthy menu choices.

 The food was provided by Food City and the event was hosted by Central Services.

On the menu were Perfect Pita Pizzas and Yummy Yogurt Parfaits.  Here are the recipes:

rezparfairpicIMG_4942cd 5

The Perfect Pita Pizzas only cost $1.85 per serving and the parfaits only $1.04!

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Pizza –  300 calories, 3 grams of fat, 17 grams of protein, 45 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of dietary fiber

Parfait – 150 calories

So not only was the meal delicious, it was healthy and inexpensive too!


Wisdom From the “Inside”

Tdad said itEAM DAD often shows the guys who take our classes videos as teaching tools.  Several are PSAs created for that show dads doing unusual activities like this:  Cheerleader Dad Video

After showing one such video recently to a class of dads in the Sevier County Jail, one of the dads had this to say:

No matter how silly it makes you look, to put a smile on your child’s face is priceless!

Well said!  And proof that wise dads can be found everywhere.

What are you willing to do to put a smile on your child’s face?


Kids & Money

For countless families, the thought of finances and budgeting can be daunting. Many people would just prefer to not even know how their money is spent for fear of realizing that they might be worse off than they even assumed. More so than that, the thought of teaching their kids to understand budgeting only builds on that stress!

piggybankkidEstablishing a household budget and learning to manage money is much more likely to reduce your stress than to increase it. The unknown is the most intimidating factor of all.  It is both liberating and encouraging to know that you are in control of your money and you are the one that determines how it is spent.

Teaching your children how to manage money is not only beneficial for them, but also helps to alleviate stress in your own life. Helping children to understand finances sets them up for both present and future success, while also steering them towards financial independence.

Dennis Miller, the Senior Editor of Miller’s Money Forever, outlines five strategic practices to help Fathers teach their children financial wisdom:

Set Expectations Early “When baby boomers were growing up, they were expected to go to college and then move out on their own. Mom and dad made that crystal clear by about fifth grade and helped their kids prepare.”

Make Independence the Goal  “Parents need to make independence the more attractive choice.”

Teach Good Financial Habits Early “It’s never too early to start showing children how to earn their own way. At what point do you stop handing out no-strings attached allowances and assign chores to make them earn that money?”

Saving is a Must “When your children earn money from chores or little jobs and when they receive money as gifts, help them put a certain percentage in savings.”

Be a Financial Mentor “She wasn’t calling to ask for money, she was asking for advice. I thought later about what a disservice I would have done to her marriage if I had helped financially.”

To read the entire post by Dennis Miller, click here: 5 Financial Keys to Fatherhood, Not Friendship




Easy Ways To See More A’s

dadreadingDad, you want your child to enjoy and be successful in school, right?

Of course you do.  Every parent wants to raise happy, successful kids.  There’s a lot of information and resources out there trying to tell you how to do just that.  Much of it seems really complicated.  But it doesn’t have to be.

In a recent blog post, National Fatherhood Initiative President Chris Brown suggests “there are five easy ways dads can get involved (in their children’s education) that really matter:”

  1. Read daily to a young child. Children who learn to read well at an early age are more likely to succeed in school.
  2. As your child ages, encourage him to ask critical questions. Asking lots of questions and challenging the status quo becomes more valuable to children as they move into higher levels of education.
  3. Set clear expectations and then take a back seat. Talk to her regularly about your expectations, and guide and support her as she finds her own path to success.
  4. Help your child get into classes with good teachers. More than choosing the right courses, what matters most is who teaches those courses.
  5. Encourage your child to do homework in groups and with friends who succeed in subjects your child struggles in (or in which your child just needs a little help every now and then.

Brown notes that while most of these suggestions are activities that can be done at home, being involved in school activities is still a great idea:

A landmark study by the U.S. Department of Education found that children in two-parent families and of non-resident fathers who were highly involved in their children’s education were  more likely to get mostly A’s and enjoy school. They were also less likely to repeat a grade than children with fathers who had low or no involvement. Even when dads don’t live with their children, it’s clear that their involvement matters to academic achievement.

To read the entire post and find links to other father-friendly advice check out: 5 Ways To Get Involved In Your Child’s Education

A Letter from the Heart (Of A County Jail)

hamblen jail letter blurredTEAM DAD has been offering its Fathering Connection classes in local county jails for almost two years now. We call the effort: Never Leave A Dad Behind. Most participants have responded favorably. Every week finds real men taking responsibility for their actions, and expressing a desire to become the dads their kids deserve.

The latest jail to partner with TEAM DAD is in Hamblen County.  Four men completed the inaugural class.  Not only did they get something from the experience, they penned a letter of thanks to the Jail Administration suggesting the Fathering Connection could benefit other inmates:

We the inmates of the Hamblen County Workhouse who participated in the TEAM DAD program greatly appreciate the opportunity. 

We have learned a lot about budgeting our finances, communication with our children’s mother, and avoiding domestic violence situations. 

Because of this program, we now have greater hope and the tools we need to break the cycle of  being incarcerated and to be better fathers to our children.

We think this program will benefit the fathers in the rest of the jail population.

Again Thank You for the opportunity to participate in this program.

IMG_3676Those are strong words from four men who have made a decision that can positively impact their families for generations to come.  Men who have chosen not to make excuses but to make a difference. Men who want to build a legacy. It is an honor and a privilege to have such men on our team.

TEAM DAD’s Fathering Connection classes use material developed by the National Fatherhood Initiative in a discussion-based format that addresses issues common to all men.  The sessions are offered to inmates in jail in Monroe, Cocke, Grainger and Hamblen counties.  TEAM DAD is not just for men behind bars. The same classes are also available at no cost outside the jail to men in those same counties(as well as in Jefferson and Sevier). To find out how to join the TEAM and become the dad you have always wanted to be call 423-318-6914.

Good Gifts From Dad

christmas present dadIt’s that time of year again.  And if you’re like many dads you are trying to find the perfect gifts for your kids while still being able to pay your bills.  No easy task.

But some of the most important gifts given to kids can’t be purchased at the mall or online.  Ron Edmonson has put together a list of such gifts that will last much longer than the holiday season.   His list of “The Best Gifts A Dad Can Give” include:

  • The confidence to say, “No thank you. That’s not for me.” Dads can give a child the ability to stand for what’s right, rather than following the crowd. A “gifted” child has that gut emotion of not only knowing the right thing but actually have the courage to do it.
  • The gumption to follow through on commitments. Dads have the ability to gift their child a “follow-through-mentality”. They do this by following through on their own commitments – to their child, their mother, and everyone else in their life.
  • The courage to face fears. Dads give their children courage as they model facing risk and experiencing adventure – even when afraid.
  • The affirmation to pursue great dreams. Everyone needs someone in their corner who can affirm “You’ve got this! You can make it! Go for it!” Dads are uniquely positioned to be this gift in a child’s life.

So this year, as you search for that perfect gift, remember that the best gifts a father can give often don’t come wrapped in a box but have more to do with building their character.   No batteries required!

To read Edmonson’s complete list click here: Best Gifts A Dad Can Give

Help With “The Talk”

fathersonDad, do you know who has the biggest influence on your son or daughter when it comes to sex?

You and their mother do.

With that in mind, what message are you sending them about your values when it comes to a subject most of us find difficult to discuss?

October is National “Let’s Talk Month.” It is a month set aside to encourage parents to talk to their kids about sex and relationships.  The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy suggest Ten Tips for Parents To Help Their Children Avoid Teen Pregnancy:

  1. Be clear about your own sexual values and attitudes. Communicating with your children about sex, love, and relationships is often more successful when you are clear in your own mind about these issues
  2. Talk with your children early and often about sex, and be specific. Young people have lots of questions about sex, love, and relationships. And they often say that the source they’d most like to go for answers is their parents. Start the conversation, and make sure that it is honest, open, and respectful.
  3. Supervise and monitor your children and adolescents.  Establish rules, curfews, and standards of expected behavior, preferably through an open process of family discussion and respectful communication.
  4. Know your children’s friends and their families. Friends have a strong influence on each other, so help your children and teenagers become friends with kids whose families share your values.
  5. Discourage early, frequent, and steady dating. Group activities among young people are fine and often fun, but allowing teens to begin one-on-one dating much before age 16 can lead to trouble.
  6. Take a strong stand against your daughter dating a boy significantly older than she is. And don’t allow your son to develop an intense relationship with a girl much younger than he is. Older guys can seem glamorous to a young girl. But the risk of matters getting out of hand increases when the guy is much older than the girl.
  7. Help your teenagers to have options for the future that are more attractive than early pregnancy and parenthood. The chances that your son or daughter will delay having sex, pregnancy, and parenthood are significantly increased if their future appears bright. This means helping them set meaningful goals for the future, talking to them about what it takes to make future plans come true, and helping them reach their goals.
  8. Let your kids know that you value education highly. Encourage your child to take school seriously and set high expectations about their school performance. School failure is often an early sign of trouble. Be very attentive to your child’s progress in school and intervene early if things aren’t going well.
  9. Know what your kids are watching, reading, and listening to. Television, radio, movies, music videos, magazines, and the Internet are chock full of material sending the wrong messages – Sex rarely has meaning, unplanned pregnancy seldom happens, and no one who is having sex ever seems to be married or even especially committed to anyone. Is this consistent with your expectations and values? If not, it is important to talk with your children about what the media portray and what you think about it.
  10. Helping your children avoid teen pregnancy works best as part of a strong, close relationship with them, that is built from an early age. Strive for a relationship that is warm in tone, firm in discipline, and rich in communication and one that emphasizes mutual trust and respect.

For more information or to download a copy of this resource click here: 10 Tips

An Important Conversation

The images are disturbing to say the violence

A man and a woman in an elevator appear to be arguing when he punches her and she bounces off the wall and collapses unconscious on the floor.  When the door opens he drags her unresponsive body out.  The two people involved were NFL running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancé Janay Palmer.  The release of the video has led to a national discussion about domestic violence and Rice’s indefinite suspension.

Dad, chances are your kids have also seen the video.  This gives you an opportunity to talk with your daughters and your sons about domestic violence.  It might be an uncomfortable discussion but it is terribly important.  It allows you to discuss your feelings about the issue and give advice on how they can avoid being involved in violence as they grow up.

Dr. Tina Payne Bryson gives pointers on what you might want to tell your daughter:

  1. Teach her that she’s a strong, competent individual. Build your daughter’s sense of self-worth and confidence. Teach your daughter that she has a powerful “NO!” and that she doesn’t have to put up with anything that isn’t respectful and loving from anyone.
  2. Teach her how to set standards and choose a great partner. Even before she begins to date, you should talk to her about setting standards for any relationship she’s involved in. Have her watch the way someone treats others, and help her understand that this is a good indication of how she’ll be treated down the road.
  3. Teach her to watch for red flags. Including: controlling behavior, emotional abuse, a violent temper and a cycle of violence. Help your daughter understand the danger in allowing herself to be treated badly the first time, so she won’t become trapped in the cycle of violence.
  4. Teach her that she can always come to you and tell you anything. As parents, we hope our children know this truth, but we have to tell them. Make sure that there’s no doubt in her mind that if she needs help, you will always be there for her.

You can read Dr. Bryson’s entire article here:

When talking with your son about this issue consider two main points:

  • It is NEVER ever acceptable for a man or boy to hit a woman or girl. EVER.
  •  Respect is the key. Model appropriate behavior and attitudes toward women and girls and discuss them with your son. Teach him that women are of equal value to men. They should never be considered property. They are more than “body parts” and shouldn’t be reduced to sexual objects.

And just like with a daughter, it is important for your son to know that you are available to talk about violence, anger, or any other issue that is important to him.

You might seek out additional resources through your local school guidance office, health department or domestic violence shelter. Good information can also be found online. One such resource is A Call To Men, an organization that is dedicated to ending violence toward women and helping men escape what they term “The Manbox.” Their website can be found here:

So Dad, roll up your shirt sleeve and start a conversation that might be awkward but could have a huge impact on your children’s future.

Dad Said It: Chicken Petting Edition

Dads say the darndest things.

Especially when it comes to the way they feel about their children.

During a recent Fathering Connection discussion in Sevier County, one dad had this to say about how he comforts his daughter when she is upset:

chicken“I just hold her and pet her.  If she were a chicken, I reckon I’d rub the feathers plumb off her.”

Now that leaves you with an unshakable image of a dad who really loves his girl.

Dads: How would you describe the way you comfort your child?

Back To School Time Again

kids-school-busIt’s hard to believe that it time for school to start again.  But most public schools in our area will begin the new year over the next few weeks.  Like every other activity around the home, back-to-school works best when dad takes an active role.  There is much to do from buying school supplies and clothes to checking on required vaccinations to possibly preparing for a brand new school for some.

Paul Banas, Editor of, offers some suggestions on getting the school year started right:

  • Discuss what’s up this school year with your child and agree on some big objectives you can all work toward. If this is the year to learn multiplication and division, discuss this goal with your child and make sure he or she knows you’re there to support him achieve his goal.
  • Make contact during the first week with your child’s teacher, and his home room parent, if there is one. By establishing a relationship early on, you can head off problems long before they develop. Don’t bug the teacher, but do volunteer to do some classroom projects early on so you get to the know the teacher, classroom, and other students.
  • Help your child prepare for each day of school by keeping to a schedule that involves an early bedtime and more than enough time in the morning. A good tip for less stressful morning is to set out clothes and make lunches the night before. It’s painful to do, but a big relief in the morning.

Those three suggestions: setting goals for the year, establishing a relationship with the school and creating a daily routine can go a long way toward making this the best school year ever for you and your child.  Good luck.

Check out the original post here: GreatDad Back-To-School Tips