ICAN-Dads in Training

The Centre for Fathering–Dads for Life (CFF-DFL) held a ICAN training program at their premises in “The Tennery” on 20 Oct 2018 to equip dads with useful handles on fathering. It was conducted by 54 year old Parcsen Loke, a passionate and experienced Family Life Educator and Coach with CFF-DFL.

ICAN which stands for Involvement, Consistency, Awareness and Nurturance, was a program developed by Ken Canfield, author of “The 7 Secrets of Effective Fathers.”

Interestingly, the participants at this workshop had kids that were either under four or above 10. With fathering experiences ranging from two months to 30 years, most of the men signed up based on word of mouth recommendations, whilst a few discovered it browsing online for fathering tips.

Role Salience

Parcsen introduced this concept to help participants recognise the importance they placed on the various roles in their lives.

“The reality is that if being a father is not in your top three roles, you probably won’t give time to it. It’s not about time-management techniques, but about relative importance.”

Introducing himself as, “I am a full time husband and father of three children, ages 26, 24 and 13. I also work at Centre for Fathering.”, Parcsen encouraged the fathers present to try it and practice including their roles of husband and father in their self-introductions.

“It can be quite tough to deal with kids. When they start schooling, there are different pressures, like homework, and that’s when the relationship starts changing. If I can get any help to figure out these changes, that would be useful.”

– Charles, 42, dad of two boys, came seeking tips on how to be a better parent.

Share One Thing

In a shorter but no less impactful activity, participants were asked to share:

  • One thing you want to thank your father for
  • Something you experienced or learned from your father which you want to pass on to your children
  • One thing you want your father to know

Participants shared their experiences candidly. Many recounted how their fathers sacrificed and stepped in to help when times were tough. These often proved to be the most impactful and meaningful father-son shared experiences in their lives.

Through this activity, participants grew in appreciating the significant impact and influence their actions and conversations could, in turn, have on their children.

“My father told me that despite the wealth I had accumulated, he did not consider me to be successful. True success comes from having a family, not just having material possessions.”

– This changed my life priorities completely. The joy that I have from being with my family today is the result.Participant in CFF-DFL’s ICAN Training Program

Know The Man Who Is Your Father

Participants were encouraged to get to know their own fathers in greater depth, especially since they were seeking to be better fathers themselves.

By gaining new insights into their own fathers, men come to appreciate their fathers better, grow a deeper understanding for his character and actions past. The workshop facilitated this process and helped the men present develop a greater empathy for their fathers. As men reconcile and reconnect with their fathers, it is hoped that they will be able to forgive and release the hurts sustained in the past.

What Our Participants Had To Say

“I really benefitted from the sharing of personal examples by Parcsen and the other fathers during the small group discussions. I previously used to think about parenting as a delegation of work between the father and mother. In the workshop, the analogy of the beach volleyball team was helpful for me to see how both fathers and mothers can and should play a wider variety of roles in raising children together, mutually supporting each other. The other key point for me was also about reconnecting with my own father. To reconcile and reconnect with him.”

“Yes! I would recommend the workshop to others. What is covered are good life skills that are needed for every man and father. It’s through the sharing of experiences in the discussions that we learn from the mistakes of others. Or even what worked! Like their successes!”

Trinity Kumar, 34, (left to right – first in the second row), is getting married in May 2019. He is an Occupational Therapist.

“The whole ICAN framework was useful in terms of understanding the experience of fathering and learning how to enhance my relationship with my children. It gives me practical handles to think about what I should and should not be doing, and how to operationalize it in real life. It was a good five hours well spent!”

“I would strongly recommend the workshop as it’s good for fathers to get the opportunity to share and learn together. It’s valuable that we actually get to spend time thinking about how we can better improve our relationships with our children.”

Charles Chua, 42, (left to right – fourth in the back row) is a father of two. He is a Compliance Officer in the Finance sector.

CFF-DFL’s ICAN Workshop, based on studies that have identified what effective fathers do, equip fathers to be consistent, aware, and nurturing – which are core functions for effective fathering.