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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

April 22, 2015
By Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Acting Executive Director, National Parents Organization

In this issue of the newsletter, we are honored to have a piece by Warren Farrell. Warren describes the efforts he has led to create a White House Council on Boys and Men. Warren is the noted author of numerous influential books, including Father and Child Reunion (here). This is one of the best exposes of the problems we are fighting in the family courts. If you have not read it, now is the time.

Warren is advocating that President Obama create such a Council to address five main issues affecting males: family court practices that cause fatherlessness, emotional health of boys, physical health of boys, education of boys, and work lives of boys and men. I am honored to be a member of Warren’s Council. To see the terrific job the Council has done in presenting the unmet needs of boys and men, see http://whitehouseboysmen.org/blog/the-proposal

In this newsletter, Warren describes how you can help bring these issues to the attention of Presidential candidates in Iowa.

“Occupy Iowa”: National Parents Organization and the Creation of a White House Council on Boys and Men

By Warren Farrell, Ph.D (www.warrenfarrell.com)

“Occupy Iowa”? Well, an updated version. Step One is next weekend. Nine of us will meet potential Republican candidates (Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Lindsey Graham) and/or their staffs at a reception for the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Iowa on April 25. Videographer Steve Brule will film our progress for social media, and ultimately a documentary. You can contact Steve Brule at [email protected] to get clips for your social media.

On the Democratic side, we are working with Jennifer Granholm to connect with top policy advisers of the Clinton campaign. (Ann O’Leary and Jake Sullivan have already been contacted by Jennifer.)

Some background. It’s 2009. My phone rings. It’s the White House. “You were recommended to be on an advisory committee to the White House Council on Women and Girls. Interested?” I followed my affirmation with a query about also creating a White House Council on Boys and Men. “OK. But no guarantees.”

Inspired, I organized a multi-partisan coalition of the country’s leading authors, practitioners and activists on the issues of boys, dads and men — from Michael Gurian and John Gray to Jennifer Granholm (now co-chair of Clinton’s Super PAC) and Ned Holstein.

Why Ned? When I was doing the research for Father and Child Reunion, I discovered that lack of father involvement was the biggest of the ten major causes of the boy crisis. And Ned Holstein was leading the country’s best effort to keep fathers in families.

The coalition spent 18 months integrating our ideas into this proposal to create a White House Council on Boys and Men. Then the politics began…

The good news. With the help of the Boy Scouts’ official endorsement, we met with enthusiasm as we climbed the White House ladder. The bad news. We got stopped just five minutes prior to entering the Oval office.

Undaunted, the coalition is now making progress on three fronts: legislative support; additional supporters (e.g., John Mackey of Whole Foods); and planning two “Occupy Iowa” events. 

One problem — with which you can help: We’re all volunteers; Steve Brule and others are incurring expenses with the hope we will raise funds to be reimbursed. I explain in this video exactly how you can help.

Step Two of “Occupy Iowa” — and I invite you to “Occupy” with us — is in July. We will create a mini-conference of about 100 (piggy-backing — no offense to pigs — with an event the candidates will be attending). We will invite candidates to do three things: listen; dialogue; speak. In that order. Here’s how:

Listen: Listen to boys who have been in crisis and been helped by special programs and schools. Listen to their parents and educators. Listen to dads who have found themselves watching their children’s lives slip by as they fight to be good dads. Listen to the Ned Holsteins who are fighting to create the families that politicians say they want.

Dialogue: Dialogue among the candidates and with the people to whom they have been listening.

Speak: Now that they’ve listened and dialogued, tell us their strategies for ending the boy crisis, for bringing dads back into families, and for creating a White House Council on Boys and Men.

If you can “Occupy Iowa” with us, let our Iowa organizer, Dick Woods, know: [email protected]. If you cannot go, let me invite you into my home via this video to explain how you can sponsor a boy and mentor his involvement.

If you live in New England, and this effort inspires you enough to organize a similar effort in New Hampshire, let me know: [email protected].

In the meantime, please take in my appreciation for what you know that others may not appreciate that you know: that no fight is more important than the fight to love. 

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