Michael Fineman, founder of The Dad Link, reveals his passion for fatherless people in Episode 056

Today I am talking with a man from Florida who has a heart for the fatherless, especially for men who grew up without a father, or whose father was aloof and distant.

Michael Fineman grew up with a father who was present in his life, but disapproved of most of the things he wanted to do. Lacking a good role model, Michael became very strict with his own children.

After losing his kids briefly during a divorce proceeding, Michael realized how much he truly enjoyed being a dad, and he worked to change himself into the father he wish he had when he was growing up.

In talking with men who were in their 50s and 60s, Michael realized how much they struggled in life without having a father to teach them and guide them. They also miss out of one of the key gifts a father bestows on his children, which is a sense of identity and belonging.

Michael has talked with men in their 70s who admit to never having heard from their fathers that they were loved, valued or appreciated. To overcome that sense of rejection, fatherless people often spend their entire lifetime seeking approval from others.

Now that Michael is in his 50s, he has developed a passion to not only help fathers become better dads, but to shepherd fatherless men to become the men they need to be. Today, he leads a community of men who want to be devoted dads.

My parents were divorced when I was 8, and I saw my father about six times a year before he died when I was 19. Michael is absolutely correct that the sting of childhood abandonment can impact men their entire lives.

Michael traces the downfall of fatherhood to the Great Depression when men could not take care of their families. So they left the farm, where they were dominant daily role models, and found work in factories and, later, offices. As a result, many fathers were away from their families most of the day.

Their role devolved into simply being the family’s breadwinner and the disciplinarian of children. How many kids grew up hearing the words, “Just wait until your father comes home?”

Because so many kids grow up without good relationships with their earthly fathers, Michael said it’s often difficult for them to imagine their heavenly father as being good and loving. If kids couldn’t trust their fathers, it’s hard for them to trust God. If kids were abused by their fathers, they often assume God has no love for them as well.

The Dad Link seeks to break that cycle by educating men about the mutually loving relationship God had with his own son, Jesus. It also works to instill Biblical principles to guide fathers in to how to best raise their own children.

Michael noted that while single mothers do their best to raise their sons, boys learn to become men only by watching other men and mimicking what they do. So, with The Dad Link, Michael creates a space for men to be men where they can share their struggles and seek advice from other grounded men.

He encourages other men over 50 to join him in mentoring boys, teens and, especially, young fathers. To connect with Michael, visit www.thedadlink.com, email him at Michael@thedadlink.com or connect with him on Facebook.

That’s all I have for this week’s show. If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit www.forwardfrom50.com.

I’ll have another inspirational interview on the next episode of the Forward From 50 podcast. Thanks for listening. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review wherever you download the episodes.