I have been thinking about writing this book for a long time—not just for others, but for myself as well. Nobody hands you a manual on fatherhood when your kids are born. You do the best you can with what you have. Sometimes that means you stumble along the way, or struggle with things you have done or things you have not done. If you are aware and sensitive, it means you worry about some of your decisions. After all, raising children is an enormous responsibility.

I had been searching through stores looking for books on how to be a great father for some time when on one visit a bookstore clerk told me the book I was looking for didn't exist and someone should write one. So, here it is! How To Be A Great Dad is part of an amazing journey that I hope other fathers and caregivers of children will want to take with me.

I've been told that I am a natural storyteller. I love to observe the world around me and look for connection and meaning. This book is a collection of stories culled from my observations and my relationships. I've also included some "fun stuff," or relationship-building exercises and activities for dads and their children, or the whole family, however it is configured. This book is for all fathers, regardless of how old their children are. It is never too late to work on being a great dad and children are never too old to have a better father.

I recognize that some of the people I most want to reach with this book will be the ones who will never read it. These are the dads who are full of anger, or consumed with their own issues. They can't, or won't, see how their actions, or inactions negatively affect their children. This saddens me. The bar for what makes a good father is set so low that often these days just being present in your child's life is seen as sufficient. I want to change that. I want to help fathers realize their full potential and become happier and more fulfilled in that role.

Part of my desire to do this stems from my own childhood. It was rocky. My parents didn't always know how to love me the way I needed to be loved. My mother, who I now know had her own demons that haunted her, meted out lessons with a leather strap. My father acquiesced. My childhood formed me and informed me. When I became a father, I vowed to always love my children without condition, and protect them from harm. But I wasn't always equipped. So I worked on what I thought were my shortcomings. Luckily, the love of my life, my wife Dina, has been with me every step of the way. Helping others has become one of my passions in life. I really, fervently believe that being a good and loving father can help change things—can help change the world in fact. Most importantly, it can change your children's lives, and that is the most significant, lasting monument to love.

How To Be A Great Dad isn't a roadmap to fatherhood. It is just one step to self-realization. Everything you say and do in life can have an effect on your child. Becoming a better parent is simple—but not easy. It is something I work on everyday. I invite you to read this book and join the journey.