Chris loves his three children, and wants to be a good father. His perception of fatherhood, learned from his own father and the generations before him, was tough love, punctuated by an occasional gift, and letting mom handle the major decisions and every day challenges of raising children.
In prison, Chris changed his idea of fatherhood. “When we’re incarcerated we closely guard our feelings and beliefs, but I came to realize that what I learned as a kid was erroneous.”
Families in Crisis was instrumental in helping Chris change his mindset. Based on the positive experiences of fellow inmates, Chris signed up for the Fatherhood Program which teaches men how to effectively parent - both inside and out. From there, Chris and his family participated in several Families in Crisis programs, including Tomorrow’s Children, a counseling program for children affected by incarceration, family counseling, and a couple’s group.
“We’re not ‘lost causes’ in prison,” notes Chris. “Many of us genuinely want to change but just don’t know how. Families in Crisis doesn’t have a magic wand, but they do give us the tools to get our lives back on track.”
Chris put those tools to work. When he was released from prison his teenage son was on the verge of being expelled from school. Chris got involved immediately. He attended parent – teacher conferences, reviewed his son's homework every night, and accompanied his son to tutoring. It was no longer just mom’s responsibility. Together, mom AND dad got their son through a rough patch. A short time later, a teacher called Chris and said “you rescued your son… he is very fortunate to have you both in his life.”
Today, Chris has a different definition of fatherhood “my son didn't want gifts from me, what he really wanted was to spend time with me. It’s those little moments that build a real relationship.”