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Q: A Council of Dads is a very original response to receiving a cancer diagnosis. What brought you to this idea of leaving a legacy of voices for your daughters?
A: My daughters had just turned three when I first learned I was sick. I instantly imagined all the moments from their lives I would miss: The ballet recitals I wouldn't see, the boyfriends I wouldn't scowl at, the aisles I wouldn't walk down. Mostly I worried that my girls would miss my voice. Three days later I awoke with a thought, "Here's a way to help my daughters know their father. Reach out to the men who helped make me who I am, and ask them to convey a different message to my girls: How to travel, how to live, how to dream."
Q: How did the Dads react when you invited them to join your Council?
A: The conversations were some of the most meaningful I’ve ever had. It made me realize how rare it is to sit down with your friends and tell them what they really mean to you. I think every one of them cried. Even more remarkable was how seriously they took their roles. Overnight they became a meaningful presence in the girls' lives--a new figure that was different from family, deeper than a friend.
Q: What does your wife think of the Council? Did she help build it?
A: The whole experience brought us closer and deepened Linda's relationship with the men. One reason is that if the Council ever needed to convene for its original purpose Linda would be the one who would have to orchestrate it. But more than that, having a Council created a new kind of community in our lives and gave her a window into how men relate to their friends. The experience was so powerful she's now created her own Council of Moms.
Q: Can anyone create a Council? What advice would you give someone who wants to create their own Council of Dads or Council of Moms?
A: I’ve been amazed by how this idea has spread so quickly. It seems nearly every parent has thought at one time or another about not seeing their kids grow up. I've been especially touched that divorced parents, single moms, military families--so many different people have asked for tips. Some people who lost a parent when they were younger are making Councils retroactively. I decided to set up a website, councilofdads.com, which has a tool kit and a mini-social network where you can communicate with your Council privately.
Q: How are you feeling these days? And what role does the Council play in your life now?
A: Nearly two years after I was diagnosed, I am now cancer-free, though like any survivor I get scanned every few months. (I keep an ongoing cancer diary at brucefeiler.com.) But no matter what happens, our Council will continue. It's the most uplifting community we've ever created; it helps us through adversity; and it reminds us every day to celebrate the friendships we are blessed to have.
The Feiler Family
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This book a mix of being a pure memoir and trying to impart wisdom on ways we should approach life and what we teach our children. Read morePublished 1 month ago by WA User
This is a really great book. It is inspiring and leaves the read with a good feeling about life and certainly there is hope.Published 12 months ago by Virginia Zank
I really liked the messages and wisdom provided by men chosen to be the "council". Their personal stories were interesting as well. Read morePublished 13 months ago by L Levey
I found this account of a cancer-stricken dad's efforts to provide paternal protection for his children interesting. Read morePublished 13 months ago by bOOKWORM
I had a hard time putting this book down. It was easy to see why the author chose these men to be on his council of dads.Published 13 months ago by L. Gregory
What an amazing idea for anyone who is facing terminal illness and wanting to leave a legacy for their child(ren)! I highly recommend this book.Published 14 months ago by grrrrrutah
I like Bruce Feiler and his varied writing. I appreciated his more personal writring style in this book and his unique response to his dilema.Published 18 months ago by John Freer
Much enjoyed Mr. Feiler's book. Glad to know he's cancer free and doesn't have to rely on the Council to substitute as dad for his girls. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Frances Q. Rasmussen
This book is especially wonderful for those dads that have an oldest daughter or an only daughter. Very insightfull to his figthing the disease with the support of this DADS to... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Rick