SIKESTON - The daily stresses and responsibilities that come with juggling a family, career and everything in between can be overwhelming at times.
An upcoming event up might have some of the answers fathers are seeking, say those organizing the Missouri Bootheel Healthy Start's Fifth Annual Fatherhood First Male Conference.
Set for 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Sikeston Field House, the event is designed to provide information that will help men develop a healthy and positive relationship with their children and families.
A free lunch will be included, free transportation will be provided, childcare for ages 2 years and older will be available and door prizes will be awarded, leaving little room for excuses not to come, said LaToya Robinson-Tate.
It could be a day that changes the lives of those attending.
"We're targeting fathers 16 years and above," said Robinson-Tate, program manager. "Some men tend not to be very motivated and this is a motivational conference in nature. Sometimes they have low self-esteem and a lot of times when they're not married, moms are the gatekeepers and don't allow them to see their children so they feel as if their sole purpose is child support. And some men don't show any interest in seeing their children. That's what this conference is all about, to learn how to be emotionally as well as financially supportive. Be involved in their children's activities, be involved in their schooling, just be involved all the way around."
Break-out sessions throughout the day will be Stress and Anger Management, Building Attachment with Children, Understanding Bully Behavior, Substance Abuse and the Family, Discovering the Greatest Dad in You and Making the Most of Being A Father.
Others sessions will include The Priceless Parent: The Market Value of A Dad in Today's Economy, Are You Missing Our Minutes: How to Maximize on the Time You Have and Keeping It Real: Helping Young Adults Make It In a Grown-Up World.
As Robinson-Tate pointed out, it's not just for men. "We cover Scott, New Madrid Mississippi, Pemiscot and Dunklin counties in the Bootheel, but we have had calls from people in Memphis, St. Louis and Illinois. Anybody's welcome to attend, we women have certain areas we could use help in, too. What we are wanting to do is promote whole families and this is a great way to do it."
And if anyone can get people motivated to be the best they can be, Robinson-Tate said, it's Les Brown, the conference's keynote speaker. A motivational speaker, author and television personality, the former husband of Gladys Knight is known for his high energy message which tells people how to shake off mediocrity and live up to their greatness.
Last year 300 people attended the Male Conference. Afterward Robinson-Tate reported hearing numerous comments on how informative the event was.
"It's like our slogan says: It takes a village to raise a child but it takes fathers to build the village. This conference is an opportunity for men to be shown how important they are as a father," said Robinson-Tate. "It might be their one chance in a lifetime to learn how to be the father their father might not have been and to change that cycle."
For more information or for pick-up points for those needing transportation call 472-4949 or 1-888-317-4949.