“My Hands Are Small I Know”


It seems to me that anniversaries are an opportune time to evaluate progress towards the accomplishment of a goal.  Almost a year ago to the day, I was privileged to be afforded the chance to speak to what I had hoped would be a room full of dads at NEDA’s 2012 Annual Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Regrettably, however, my hope turned to disappointment and, ultimately, to disillusionment when I realized that, out of a sold-out conference of nearly 600 registrants, less than a small handful of non-NEDA affiliated dads were even in attendance.  Before I arrived home, I committed to trying to change that through the creation of what I later dubbed “The Dad Initiative” (http://tinyurl.com/mgrwn9n).  Within a week, I submitted a formal proposal to NEDA’s Board of Directors outlining my vision.  Shortly thereafter, the Board embraced the idea (http://tinyurl.com/l7mwvw7).  In the months that followed, I was humbled to partner with Carolyn Costin, Keesha Broome and others in speaking to mostly professional audiences in Houston and Boston, which, in turn, enabled me to begin spreading the word about the concept.  By summer’s end, with the support of Doug Bunnell, PhD and his colleagues, I had published a feature article on the Initiative in Perspectives, the Renfrew Foundation’s Professional Journal, which, I’m told, was distributed to nearly 40,000 professionals (and others) around the country.  And with that, the Initiative began to take shape in earnest.  In fact, I’m pleased to report that 10 of the country’s leading eating disorder experts have now warmly (indeed, enthusiastically!) accepted “invitations” to serve on the Advisory Board that will spearhead the Initiative.  In doing so, each has commented that the idea is long overdue.  And so, tomorrow, I leave for Washington, D.C. to attend NEDA’s 2013 Annual Conference with a hopeful heart.  Perhaps by this time next year, we will be celebrating an anniversary of a different kind:  The “first birthday” of “The Dad Initiative” and the effectuation of its Mission Statement: “To provide a platform designed to educate, empower and encourage dads whose daughters are afflicted with eating disorders to become more visible and active participants in the treatment and recovery process by increasing their willingness to be vulnerable, fostering open and honest lines of communication and establishing healthy and supportive boundaries predicated on unconditional love, trust and mutual respect.”


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