Day 108: The Council of Dads

When he was diagnosed with cancer, Bruce Feiler looked at his twin daughters and imagined the events he would miss in their lives; the first boyfriends, school days and the aisles he would never walk down. To ensure they had male role models growing up, he decided to form a group of 6 men who could be part of his daughters’ lives. The resulting journey is documented in his book, ‘The Council of Dads.’
In this talk, Feiler describes his battle with cancer and how he eventually survived. He discusses some of the men he chose as mentors for his daughters. There was Jeff, a friend who had led a trip he went on to Europe and the type of man who would stop a road trip to try cow tipping. There was his literary agent, David Black, a man who should know about making dreams come true. At the end of his book he includes a letter to his girls which is a result of all the advice he gathered from his six chosen men. It includes sage wisdom such as: ‘Everybody dies, but not everybody lives’, ‘Harvest Miracles’ and ‘Live the Questions.’
This talk is about more than the Council of Dads, or about Feiler’s survival. It’s about the way in which he and his wife grew as a result of his cancer ordeal; the dark places they entered, the compassion that grew in their family. They may have formed the Council of Dads for their girls, but it changed them. Feiler leaves us with three pieces of advice: Reach out to that person you may have lost touch with; Find a mud puddle someplace and jump in, or figure out a way to break through the wall between you and your dreams. Finally, every now and then, grab a turtle and take a long, slow walk.


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