The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Bob Hamrin

Founder, Great Dads, est. 1996 -- a ministry to train dads to be the fathers God intended them to be

Former staff economist for the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, a Presidential Commission, and a U.S. Senator

Former economic consultant to the World Bank, the Nat’l Assn of Manufacturers, and other corporations and organizations in the business, labor, environmental, media and government sectors

B.S. , St. Olaf College, MN

PhD in Economics, University of Wisconsin

Featured Book
Great Dads
(Cook Communications, 2002)

Bob Hamrin on How to Be a Great Dad

The 700 Club

CBN.comBob Hamrin was blessed with a good father. But he says it wasn’t until he was 44 years old that he was able to have his first real heart to heart with his dad. Bob says we live in a society riddled with men and women, boys and girls who have no sense of their father’s acceptance, approval or love; things every one of us needs to receive to be whole people inside and in turn to raise whole emotionally healthy people. Bob says people need to know unconditional love and not just from anybody, but from their dad.

The problem Bob describes as father absence knows no racial or socio-economic bounds. Father absence takes two forms. First off, 24 million+ children or 34 percent of kids under 18 today are missing a dad from divorce, abandonment, or death. An additional 11 million+ suffer from emotional/spiritual absence mostly brought on by lifestyles that are too busy with work and activities that keep dads and kids seperated. Bob says these 36 million children represent half of all children under age 18 in America. Emotional or spiritual father absence does deep damage in a home affecting not only the kids but the marriage.

One of the biggest problems facing teens is having a poor self image. Having an absent dad intensifies the teen’s poor sense of self. Bob says most men have had such poor role models for father figures that even when they know their teen is in trouble, they aren’t sure how to help. But he says all men have father power and exert this power either in the positive or the negative depending on their training.

Bob has three adult children. In 1979, he was challenged to be a great dad by his pastor. Bob’s pastor had small kids of his own. The pastor shared one day that his little girl had asked her daddy why he didn’t have time to spend with her. When Bob heard this tale, he saw how it grieved his pastor. He thought to himself that he wanted to be the kind of dad who would never have to hear his child say such a painful thing. So he committed himself to being with his kids and loving them openly from their early years. Along the way, he learned with and from friends and business associates about their parenting challenges. He became more and more convinced of the importance of the last verse of the Old Testament to today’s dad. Mal 4:6, “... and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.”

When Bob started formally ministering to dads through the Great Dads ministry in 1996, it meant leaving a highly successful career as an economic advisor who’d spent a great deal of time serving on Capitol Hill. In the early '80s, he was part of a presidential campaign. Success on this job would most likely mean a presidential appointment; maybe even as Chief Economic Advisor to the president. When Bob originally joined the campaign team, he’d made it clear that he would be leaving each day in time to be home for family dinners. About 18 months into the process, the challenge was issued “be part of the team.” Bob knew the message was clear- stay til 9:30 or 10pm each night like all the other team members. Bob reiterated his commitment to being home for dinner. He had to leave this job because he was certain it would have a negative impact on his family and he already knew what being a great dad could accomplish. He knew that even a presidential appointment would not compensate for the toll it would take on his children.

Great Dads ministry has grown from Bob alone to an associate team around the country made up of 62 trained and certified men located in 24 states who present seminars across the US. This year Great Dads will present 180 four-hour-live seminars. By the end of 2008, Great Dads hopes to have trained 50,000 dads a year using the seminars, online training, and video and DVD materials. Bob says the audience is nearly limitless because 99.5 percent of dads have 0 hours of training to do this significant job.

Because Bob has never encountered a man in prison who has anything positive to say about his dad, he sees tremendous value in his partnership with Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship. He says that when an imprisoned man’s heart is turned toward his children a real revolution can take place. There are 900,000 incarcerated men in America today and those men are dads to two million children. In addition, a child of an incarcerated dad is six times more likely to become incarcerated than a child whose dad has never been imprisoned. On the positive side, an incarcerated man who’s gone through Bob’s training and embraces his role as a father is far less likely to return to prison because he now has strong reasons to stay out. A kid whose dad comes out of prison and becomes a loving parent is at a reduced risk of being jailed. Finally, society is spared the pain and expense of failed men and boys as a result of these changes in fathering.
In addition to Prison Fellowship, Great Dads partners with the Army and 200 African American churches in the DC area. Through these three avenues, they are reaching literally thousands of fathers and grandfathers.

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