We’ve talked to over 80 Dads in the Dad to Dad podcast, presented by the Special Fathers Network, and in this episode we present a “greatest hits” version of the podcast. You’ll hear many fathers chiming in on why they joined the Special Fathers Network and why being a father of a kid with special needs is so important to them.
Dad to Dad 84- Special Moments of the Dad to Dad Podcast
Special Dad: I tell people that one of the blessings of having a son with autism, I’m the only dad. I know who’s 25 year old will give him a full body hug.
Tom Couch: That’s just one of the more than 80 dads we’ve talked with on the dad to dad podcast presented by the Special Fathers Network. And today we’re going to be hearing clips from many of these interviews over the past few months where dads talk about their kids with special needs and what a true blessing they are.
Here’s your host, David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: Hi, and thanks for listening to the dad to dad podcast, fathers, mentoring fathers have filled them with special needs presented by the Special Fathers Network.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation.
It’s a great way for dads to support dads, to find out more, go to 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help. Or we’d like to offer help. We’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com, groups and search dad to dad.
Tom Couch: So now let’s listen to the dads, as they tell us about being a special father and what it means to them.
David Hirsch: So I’m sort of curious know why is it that you’ve agreed to be a mentor father as part of the Special Fathers Network?
Special Dad: You know, when you and I first met David and you were talking about the organization, you know, something really resonated with me, which is, I’m not sure I can provide the best advice. I’m certainly not the best father in the world, but I look back on my life and all of the mentors that I’ve had.
The people that have helped me get to where I am today because I couldn’t do it alone. I still remember and think of it, stay in touch with fondly and you know, to have that opportunity two in a small way, maybe give back a little bit. You know, it’s something that I’m really excited to do. And so, you know, in a small way, if I can touch up, you know, the life of a special needs individual through a parent, I think that that could be really helpful.
David Hirsch: You’ve agreed to be a mentor father as part of the Special Fathers Network. Well, that’s simple, but I think I’ve got something to give. And why is that? Well, life has taught me that and enabled me to gain my circumstances, allow me to give how my God has allowed me to give. And, um, that’s why we here on earth, essentially.
Special Dad: My belief is to, to allow them to be loved. So I think if any of us have an opportunity to work out what to help eat in that way to give. And that’s what it’s about. So it would be my pleasure to be part of your mission.
I feel that, uh, we all need a mentor of some sort in our life, especially for having, uh, children with special needs, even as a veteran with a disability with PTSD and having a service start. We still need that mentor and not aspect as a veteran too, but also as regular men that have children with disabilities. I think you need to have that mentorship of helping each other, um, and that brotherhood of dealing with it together.
I had some wisdom that people have shared from time to time that I kind of created a David Letterman top 10 list. So if you don’t mind, I might share it. Now. It might be helpful for some of our listeners today. Absolutely. So top Tim thoughts for the parent of a special need child, doesn’t matter if it’s down syndrome or to whatever. Number four. I never thought this one would be true, but it’s true. One day you will feel sorry for those who do not have a child like yours. You know, I think people who don’t have a special needs child they’re, they’re missing. Something. And that would be like 18 podcasts to explain what they’re missing. We won’t go there, but their lives are not as rich. And I’ll just, I’ll just leave it at that.
And that night, you know, again, in the category of surreal experiences, getting the presidential motorcade on Capitol Hill and being whisked up to the president’s box and they in the house of representatives, you know, at that podium to talk about Meghan, And to see, you know, all the leaders of our country, Supreme court justices, military leaders, every member of the house in the Senate, the vice president Stan twice. And to give your daughter a standing ovation, an incredible young woman is with us this evening. Who should serve as an inspiration to us all today is rare disease day.
President Donald Trump: And joining us in the gallery is a rare disease survivor. Megan Crowley
Megan was diagnosed with Pompei disease, a rare. Serious Ellis when she was 15 months old, she was I’d expected to live past five on receiving this news. Megan’s dad, John fought with everything. He had to save the life of his precious child. He founded a company to look for a cure and help develop the drug that saved Megan’s life.
Today, she is 20 years old and a sophomore at Notre Dame.
Special Dad: You gotta live the moments of, for example, uh, when an I would tie Scott shoes, he doesn’t tie his shoes. He’ll rub my back. Or I’ll take him for a walk. He’ll reach his hand out for me. And while I hold my hand, these are very special moments. Uh, our society is so driven for excellence and my son loves this and that.
But when you have a son with special needs, you know, having a son rubbed your back, it’s wonderful. Yeah. I’ll give you one quick story about our son, Mike, who over the last couple of years have seen both Irene, his grandmother and my grandfather passed away. And at the end of their life, be at their homes and hospice. And to watch Mike. Go up and be interacting with them at the end of life and not be afraid of death, not be scared of death to have a big smile on his face while he’s doing it, imagining what that meant to our grandparents and seeing him not be afraid and willing to hold hands and stay close to them. And I have seen that most schools with a little bit of an open mind and a little bit of flexibility and compassion and a willingness to do things differently. Can accomplish a lot. You don’t always need a, a full time aid or a new wing bill. Talk to you. Yeah. The school to serve a kid with special needs, who can do a lot just with that. It open-minded a little bit of flexibility and capacity.
Adoption is a wonderful Avenue of love and fulfillment fulfillment for a father fulfillment for a mother for summit, for the child who is granted safety and love. In a little bakery in Lawrenceville, Georgia and forties are put to work sweeping floors, washing windows and stamping boxes for John Blake and Ann Marie life has never been screened.
I like working here. I’m having fun. That’s because they work at a bakery called special kneads and treats where the majority of employees have a learning. The mission evolved from the concept of free cakes for kids that can’t afford them through food cooperatives. Do you mean. Faxed foster care, things like that to the training and education and employment opportunities of special needs adults. And that has become probably our main focal. Mission because people are drawn to that. If it wasn’t for Laurie being here to help me learn how to do everything, I would be lost. We’ve been nine brother and sister since day one. She’s shown me how to make updates, how to make the price thing. She’s given me the reins to be able to fly. Today we have 29 special needs that work every week, but I have 190 on a waiting list.
There’s going to be unimaginable challenges in raising a child with differences, whether it’s autistic, cerebral palsy down syndrome. It doesn’t matter if a child is different than we have to go about it differently. The only true way to do it. And I know it’s almost impossible to do. You have to attempt to try and put yourself in their shoes.
I think that dads have such a crucial role to play. An NHI is life. No matter what I know your usual clientele for your podcast would be the parents of children with autism and other needs. I was one of these kits, so I’ve been there. So I want to pay in the Special Fathers Network because at a majority of these fathers, do you have children with special needs? I was once the child, my autism doesn’t disappear at 18. That’s still here, still using it. Continue to do so for as long as possible.
Having a child with a disability is not a negative. There is just so much wonder to be seen if you can, if you just, my 29 years with a child with special needs has made me a better person. It’s taught me patience. It’s taught me understanding empathy. It’s taught me to think outside the box.
Julia in 16 years, truly. I mean this sincerely, I think Julia has touched more people than anybody. I know. I don’t know how religious other people are, but I look at Julia and I see the face of God. I see somebody who is pure with absolutely no ulterior motives whatsoever. Except maybe the occasional cookie, uh, but somebody who takes such great delight in a breeze or a cookie or splashing in the water or hearing one of her favorite songs, it’s almost a grounding. If you will, to really appreciate those things that so many of us just walk past.
That’s our Michael, in a nutshell, he’s seven now. And the functions like he’s about a year old. He has a hard time swallowing, but he’s just a, he’s the happiest fellow that you would ever meet and, uh, has enriched our lives in ways that I, I don’t think I could cram into an hour. It’s been a real blessing.
She changed not only our life, but she changed our family’s lives. And it was something that affected everyone. She had an impact that changed their lives. Not only then, but forever. And I have testimonies of friends and family that have come to faith in Christ because of Joslin.
David Hirsch: Wow.
Special Dad: But man, he, he spots me and he just almost jumps out of his chair and he can’t say my name or his age. It doesn’t have to. And his mom gives me the, Oh, it’s so good. To see you and you know, the little Pat on the cheek and he just loves to see you. And if that, if that doesn’t feed your soul, you were in a wrong plan.
Tom Couch: Thanks for listening to this montage of special dads talking about their special kids. Listen, next time when David Hirsch talks to another special father on the dad to dad podcast presented by the Special Fathers Network, the special fathers network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation.
It’s a great way for. Bothers to support fathers go to 21stcenturydads.org. That’s 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com, groups and search dad to dad.
Tom Couch: If you enjoyed this podcast, please be sure to like us on Facebook. And subscribe on iTunes or wherever you listen. The dad to dad podcast. This is produced by Couch Audio for the Special Fathers Network. Thanks for listening.