When dads do it tough.

Most people do it tough at some stage or another. We in the West don’t really do suffering that well, nor are we that comfortable talking openly with each other about our difficulties and hardships. Frankly, a lot of people don’t really care enough anyway.
sad dad sad man 2

As a man you may be facing a tough patch right now. Be it in relationship issues, work problems, health problems or financial grief. Whatever you are facing, the loved ones in your life need to know how they can support you and how you can still be effective in their lives. The following piece by me will hopefully give you a little encouragement.
sad man

I felt the need to share why I have been absent for a year from blogging for my readers.

Many of you are aware that I have been a Leukaemia patient for eight years and that in itself poses a challenge as the medication can really mess with my head, body and lifestyle.

My last medication unfortunately caused my arteries to shrink and the circulation was so bad in my legs that I almost lost the ability to walk. To add insult to injury I was also diagnosed with 4 blocked arteries in my chest which is cardiovascular disease, for which I am now on heart medication. At one stage I was seeing the Cardiologist, the Vascular Surgeon, the Oncologist, my GP and a Chinese doctor for TCM treatment.

The stress and disappointment of this series of confronting health issues together with the concoction of countless drugs eventually contributed to me having a meltdown as a result of massive loss of sleep, anxiety and some depression. Additional medication and weekly Doctor visits and counselling have helped me get back on track. Countless people have been praying for me and my recovery.

I wondered if I would ever be better again. Well, I’m back and have fresh motivation and new insight to connect with you through this blog.

Writing a blog to inspire other dads took a back seat in my priority list. Sorry that I stopped providing the input into your fathering but I think you can appreciate my distraction.

My beautiful wife Karen has had to be a tower of strength for me throughout my hardship.

As a dad that wishes he was totally fit and healthy, I wanted to help my sons try and understand what I was going through. This was not always easy. Children, no matter what their age, like their dad to be strong, healthy and vibrant.

I had lost all my joy and felt completely washed up at one point.

You may have faced significant hardship yourself or you may be in a place of pain right now. As a dad your children need you to be there. They need to have some insight into your struggle. Firstly, so they can be sensitive to your needs. Secondly, so they can experience some of your vulnerability and thirdly, so they can love you and care for you. This will take various degrees of effectiveness as different children are wired differently. Some will be more caring and empathetic and some will not.

The reason I am open with you is because I want you to take courage and hope from my story and find personal application for your own life and journey as a dad.

5 Things I recommend you to do when you are facing a personal struggle.

1. Be authentic. Communicate with your family that you are going through a tough time and explain why. The level of detail is relative to the ages of your children and the level of empathy they have.

2. Be man enough to seek out professional help from a Doctor and counsellor. Don’t face this stuff on your own. You are ripping yourself off and also those around you if you don’t seek out professional help when you need it.

3. Eat healthily and exercise daily to boost your wellbeing.

4. Associate with positive people that genuinely care and can be an encouragement to you. I had two pastors regularly visiting me to help me through my battle. They modelled Christ’s love to me which I now deeply appreciate in a fresh way.

5. Pray (if you are a praying person), read helpful books to help you face your struggle,
and listen to uplifting music. Do things that you love to do even if you don’t feel like doing them.

I am now climbing out of a significant low time in my life. I am optimistic and hopeful.
These five things were key to helping me move forward.

May you be encouraged to push through your pain with help from others.

Once a dad always a dad. Remember that your children need you to be there for them in spite of what you are going through. It’s ok to go through tough times. We seem to grow deeper through the hardships but would never put our hand up to volunteer for them.

Please feel free to add your own comments to what I have shared today and share it with others if you like.
Son father and grandfather cropped-logo-for-fb.jpg

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Empty Nesting


Our youngest son has just left home. My wife and I feeling the empty nest. Its so quiet. Nice.
We have one son in the USA soon to be living and working on Hamilton island, one son living locally and our youngest is now living and working at Uluru, central Australia.

At 51, I am enjoying the prospect of being just a couple again.
As a dad its great to see your children find their way in life with a number of stops and starts along the way. Oh and did I mention bruises?

As dads we often wish our kids would make different decisions than they do. However as individuals they have to develop their own independence even if it means getting hurt along the way.

If you have ever seen a butterfly trying to break free from its cocoon it could be tempting to help them as it looks like such a struggle for them. This is the worst thing we could do for them. They need the struggle to strengthen their wings in order to fly.

How similar is that to life for our kids. We want sometimes to make their decisions for them or suggest what action they should take. They grow strong through trials just as we have had to.

Finding independence is like finding wings. Free to fly and enjoy what life has to offer.
Its a different world than even one generation ago. The world has opened up and there are so many opportunities available.

Whilst we get used to our new empty nest we will enjoy seeing our boys build their lives in this bug wide world of ours.

Would you like to add any wisdom to that from your experience? Simply write your comments and once screened by me I will share them.

PS I have a pop top caravan for sale if anyone is looking to buy one. see Facebook pages for details.

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Mainly Music promoting GDGD at conference.


I am thrilled that Mainly Music are promoting and selling the Good Dads GREAT DADS book at their conferences in New Zealand tomorrow and in Australia in June. The book will be available through their online store as well. This is a great program that is reaching many many families. I have been a volunteer with them in the past and I strongly endorse their work.
You may like to support them.


You have not heard from me for a while, partly due to the challenges I have faced with the ongoing leukaemia battle and partly as I needed to take a break from blogging.

I have been learning lots as a dad as my children work through the young adult stages of life and will share some fresh insights with you in the coming weeks.

My first reflection is that their ways are not our ways. We may have expectations, time frames and practical ways to do things. They may want to learn for themselves through their own experience and not be super prepared for each and every activity. I know my wife and I have had to back off from our enthusiastic suggestion making and advice giving. It is good to encourage their individuality even if we sometimes wish they would just take and act on all our wisdom and advice.


We believe we can offer so much and sometimes this input is welcomed or asked for and at other times it is not and can only bring down the “cone of silence” around them as they just don’t want one more person to tell them which course to look into, which book to read, which website to research and which country to go to or which relative to visit.

Once a dad always a dad. We continue to live and learn as we go.

Father and daughter in mountains

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GDGD article


Good Dads GREAT DADS is featured in a South Australian magazine this week. The magazine is available in coffee shops and public free reading stands etc as well as in Koorong Bookstores.

They have also written a positive review of the book. This sure does help to get a message of encouragement out there to dads that we need to be the generation that makes a huge leap forward in being highly engaged with our children and very effective in their upbringing.

Click here to read the article and scroll through the magazine.


Be sure to scroll through and enjoy some of the many articles I have written for your inspiration and encouragement here at Good Dads GREAT DADS.


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Great Relationships

Fresh inspiration for dads.

Welcome to the 100th post on the Good Dads GREAT DADS website. This is where fatherhood is celebrated and men are encouraged to be the greatest dads they can be for the sake of their children.



In July 2010, I sat down at my computer and put this blog site together on WordPress. I was stuck at home as a patient having a prolonged battle with Leukaemia. I had applied for a few jobs and continued to be beaten by the “other” guy.

I was unemployed, financially broke and dealing with medication and tiredness. The one thing I wanted to do was encourage other men in their relationship with their children. So I began to write. It was something I could do.

I am a dad. I have 3 grown boys. The, eldest at 24 has announced he is moving out this coming Wednesday. One son has already moved out and our youngest at 21, remains at home. I love being a dad.

I needed to learn how to be an effective dad because I wanted to give my boys the very best chance in life and for more selfish reasons, I wanted to build a close relationship with my children. One that I would hopefully get to enjoy for a lifetime.

This is something I wish I could have enjoyed with my own dad.

I desired to write of my experiences in a way that would encourage other dads (and anyone else that enjoyed what I had to say).

There are now visits to this site from over 106 countries and I am privileged to have been able to write a book on the subject which is selling in many countries as well.

I have been back in the workforce for over 2 years and am enjoying good health. (I still look forward to the day when I am clear of Leukaemia)

As I take a moment to think about having written 100 entries here, I am reminded why I continue to do it. Every dad needs encouragement to continue to be awesome in their children’s lives. The years we have our children in our care goes quickly and we need to make every day count.



I will never reach every dad with me my message, but I am very glad to have contributed into the lives of the ones I have connected with through this blog and through the book.

If you have been finding value and fresh inspiration from my blog then I am glad to have made that contribution and I will continue to do so.

Please take the time to scroll through the past blogs to see what subject grabs your attention.

My top 5 suggestions for building great relationships with your children.
1. Schedule regular one to one time with each child (eg dad and daughter date or father and son adventures)
2. Show an interest in whatever they are interested in (their various hobbies or sports).
3. Communicate your feelings to them. (Tell them why you are proud of them, how much you love them. This can be both verbal and written in a letter/card, preferably both).
4. Be a great role model for them in every area of life. You are their personal text book of how to behave, react and respond in every area of life.
5. Make it a priority to build great family memories. Family fun nights, overnight getaways, and family holidays are some great ways to create strong family memories.


Grab a copy of Good Dads GREAT DADS for a super boost in building great relationships with your children.

May you continue to strive to be a GREAT DAD!

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Tim Costello speaks about Fatherhood

Encouraging good dads to be GREAT DADS!

I had the privilege of working with Tim Costello as a World Vision Staff member. He really got behind me when I launched Good Dads GREAT DADS and wrote the book. he has been such an inspiration to me.

Tim Costello wrote the foreword for my new book which is available worldwide and I am excited to report selling very well. His reflection on fatherhood is rather special. I thought I would share it with you.

By Tim Costello

Australian literature is replete with stories of absent dads, from Henry Lawson’s tales of courageous women battling to raise poor kids with a missing father, to the modern-day phenomenon of workaholic absent fathers. Yet fathering is a man’s most important calling.  Seeing children grow and thrive is life’s greatest reward, and the rising of new generations is what moves humanity forward.  This is a book that addresses the task of being a father, and it is inspiring.

I find it encouraging that more and more fathers are taking a much more active role in parenting – something incredibly positive for the fathers, their partners and their children alike.  But being a parent isn’t always easy – knowing what to do doesn’t always come naturally.  And all kinds of circumstances can make the job harder, especially for those parenting alone, or who are separated from their partners.  So it really matters that fathers share their experiences and learn from each other.  Hopefully this book will make a real difference to many men struggling to make the most of the unique privilege and opportunity that fatherhood gives us.

Growing up I was fortunate to be very close to my father – who for a few years I saw every day at school as well as at home.  He was a powerful yet humble role model – a teacher by vocation, and truly a teacher by nature.  He conveyed to me so much about love and belonging, about responsibility and care, and about the joy of life.  He was always an encouraging voice, nurturing care and curiosity about the world, and affirming all of us as we faced life’s big challenges and questions.  He shared equally an enthusiasm for robust discussion about the issues of the day, and an unbridled love of sport.

Like many parents in today’s world, my experience of fatherhood has been very closely bound up with a demanding work life.  Life has brought many fascinating travels and experiences, but of all the roles one can fill in life, I remain certain that nothing can come close in terms of satisfaction and reward than being with one’s children as they grow to adulthood.

I thank Mal White for the gift he is offering with this incredibly thoughtful yet practical work. Mal has tapped into a deep well of reflection and wisdom.  I know that many will find this book a valuable help in enhancing their journey towards becoming ‘great dads’.

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A new generation of dads

Welcome to Good Dads GREAT DADS.

Dad carrying son on his shoulders.

Fatherhood is one of the greatest privileges in life. I count it one of my greatest treasures to have a relationship with my 3 adult sons. I am so glad I read and learned what I needed to do as a dad to build depth in my relationships with them when they were children. Many men, like me, want to be significant in their children’s lives. We want to be participants in their development, not just spectators. They, like me, want to learn.

I believe there is a generational shift in the way we do Fatherhood in our culture.

The first chapter in my book is titled Good to Great. Addressing the generational change, it begins,

“In the past many men have had to toughen up (harden their hearts) due to war, high mortality, hardship, and the brevity of life. They learned to hide or suppress their emotions in order to survive and cope with life. This stifled their relatability to women and children. Generations of emotionally impoverished men fumbled their way through relationships and opted for the hunter-gatherer role within the household, leaving the emotional, relational and social development and the maturing of children up to the mothers and, mostly female, classroom teachers.

Father and daughter horseback riding

The emotional and relational lack is passed on from one generation to the other until someone consciously decides to break the cycle.”

Some men are more intuitive than others, but ask any man that is a parent what his priorities are and in nearly every case, he will tell you that his children, and their well-being, are his highest priority.

Contrary to what some more extreme feminists may write or say about men, we actually do have a heart, we are tender and caring, we do value our relationships. We place great value on our children and their development.

Hundreds of thousands of books are sold each year on how to be a better dad. Subjects such as how to raise boys and girls, how to understand our children’s personality differences and their individual needs are a focus. My own experience as a writer on the subject and a constantly growing audience, also demonstrates a keen interest on how we can be more effective at being great dads for our children’s sakes. My book has now been read by over 2,000 people since being printed 5 months ago and an average of 15-20 people visit my site to read some of my blogs every day.

Our generation are making that conscious decision to be better dads. Most of us dads are wanting to have better insight and understanding of how to raise confident kids. Not every dad has made that decision of course and there are still many that need to be informed and many that need a smack over the head (putting it nicely) because of the way they treat their children and partners.

If you know a dad that is keen to be a great dad, may I suggest you buy them a relevant book and write an encouragement card for them. Be tactful and very positive. If every dad on the planet got their act together we would reshape this world from being one of brokenness and dysfunction to one that is positive, engaged, relationally intelligent and confident.

We would see less greed, aggression, violence and crime because children would know that they measure up in their father’s eyes, that they are valued and loved deeply.

I am glad to be part of this generation and I am glad that people like Steve Biddulph, Dr. James Dobson and John Eldredge, to name a few have written such empowering books for men.

Perhaps you have not yet purchased a copy of Good dads GREAT DADS. As the author, publisher and promoter, may I be excused for giving it a plug also? E-book and paper book are available everywhere that books are sold. Aiming to invest in 10,000 families with my book by end of 2015.

If you liked this blog, please help me get a message of encouragement out there. Simply copy the url (in the address bar) and tell your friends on social media about what you think about Good dads GREAT DADS and post the url there as a link for them.

Please like the Good dads GREAT DADS FB page and stay in touch with me.

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Meaningful milestones

Fresh inspiration for Dads!

ages and stagesWe celebrated our youngest son, Josiah’s, 21st birthday last night with a spit roast BBQ. A gathering of about 35 relatives and friends helped to mark the milestone occasion.

I made the traditional parent’s speech. I spoke of our pride in our son, highlighted some of his qualities as a person and shared how we look forward to seeing his life unfold, what choices he will make and what opportunities will come his way.

father_and_kid_244x183It does feel like quite a milestone for a parent when your youngest child reaches this ripe old age.

I noticed on Facebook this week many proud parents sharing photos of their children dressed in brand new school uniforms ready to begin their schooling life (In Australian the academic year begins at the end of January).

Another friend posted on Facebook that since the birth of their child 4 weeks ago, their whole life has completely changed.

dad wRaising children is a day in – day out responsibility and privilege with a series of milestones along the way.

Birth, the first sleep through, cutting those first teeth, first steps walking, the first bike ride without training wheels, the first day of school, the first day of secondary college, graduation, driver’s license, the 18th birthday and the big one, turning 21. For some families there are religious milestones along the way as well.

It’s great to celebrate each of these milestones accordingly but I think the great value in being a dad is making every day a very special one. Being sure to spend valuable time with each of your children, let them know how much you love them and treasure them.

Twenty-one years is a long time and gives us a great chance to invest in our children’s lives. It’s in the daily relationship building and our focus on our children’s personal development year in, year out that will give our children the best start in life and the confidence to take on everything life will present to them.

father-daughter-golf-courseCelebrate the milestones in your family’s life and make the most of every day you have with your children. Be careful to not let days, weeks, months and years slip by without meaningful connection with your children.

The rest of your life is a long time and there are many more milestones to celebrate with your children. Make sure you prioritise being a great dad in their lives so that they will want to be great sons and daughters in your life as the years roll on.

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Good dads GREAT DADS in the media

Article in local paper promoting my book.


read here, http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/east/croydon-south-dad-mal-white-writes-book-encouraging-other-dads-to-be-the-best-they-can-be/story-fngnvlxu-1226702918819

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New year’s dad

Fresh inspiration for dads.

A fresh start to the year. Happy New Year.
I have enjoyed a break over summer and am super excited at the year ahead and continuing to write the Good Dads GREAT DADS blogs. This blog site is now visited from people from 106 countries and the sale of Good Dads GREAT DADS, the book, around the world is a huge encouragement to. Thank you for the positive reviews and feedback. It means a lot.

Looking ahead at 2014, what are you going to do differently? What new goals have you set for yourself? Have you considered how you would like to improve, or build on the relationship you have with your children? Have you thought about what new activities you may be able to pursue with them. Are you able to get a little more involved in their school class, or, if they are older, what interests or hobbies are they passionate about and is there a new angle for you to be more supportive or more involved with these?

I spoke to a colleague today who took his 5 year old son fishing for the first time off St.Kilda beach. After 2 hours my friend could hardly pry his son away from the activity. He obviously loved the fishing experience even though they caught nothing. I suspect that having the one to one time with his dad was a big part of the enjoyment for this little fella.

My encouragement to every dad this year is to sit down with your child, or each of your children, and firstly tell them that you would like to spend a bit more time doing something together with them this year, just the two of you. Then ask them “What is something you would like to do this year just with me?

Then make this activity one of your highest priorities and be sure to follow through. Enjoy spending more one to one time with each of your children, regardless of their age, in 2014. In doing so you will build some great memories together and a closer relationship with them.

I have been invited to contribute a regular article to a magazine as the resident parenting writer and have the opportunity to contribute to a new app to help parents develop their skills and relationships with their children. These are good opportunities to offer encouragement to others which I look forward to being involved in this year.

If you like the Good dads GREAT DADS blog please feel free to promote it to your friends and colleagues.
Have a great year being a dad as well as in all your other life activities.

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Author Mal White

Author Mal White

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