Brian Dickson began staying home with his daughter as soon as she was born. He loved the opportunity to be there for her but was embarrassed to be home instead of out working. In the book, Dads Behaving DADLY: 67 Truths, Tears and Triumphs of Modern Fatherhood (Motivational Press, 2014), his wife, Annette, explains how that changed,
“When we were new parents meeting others for the first time and they asked what he did, my husband would reply “Unix Administrator” which was his last job before (staying home). After he and our daughter became regulars in the local at-home dad playgroup, Brian replied to the same question with pride, some chest-puffing, and a twinkle in his eye, that he was an at-home dad.”
As Brian, and thousands of other stay-at-home dads, have discovered, meeting other stay-at-home dads and developing camaraderie with them can be life-transforming.
In 2008, Brian passed away from leukemia. His journey to becoming a more confident stay-at-home dad by simply meeting other stay-at-home dads, inspired his wife and family to start a scholarship fund to help stay-at-home dads have a similar life-changing experience at the annual at-home dads convention.
The scholarship fund has grown significantly over the last several years. But so has the need for it. Many families with a parent who stays home struggle on the one income. While the National At-Home Dad Network always strives to keep conference costs extremely low, traveling to a conference far away is a difficult financial burden on many stay-at-home dads.
This year, we have received a record 16 nominations for the scholarship fund including two from overseas. Currently, there is only enough in the scholarship fund to award four or five of those requests. We want to do everything we can to honor all of their requests because no dad should remain isolated or feel like he has no one he can turn to if he needs something.
If you can, please consider donating at http://athomedad.org/donate/
Their stories of challenge and dedication to their families are amazing. We wanted to share a few of them to help explain why it is so important for these dads to attend the Convention this year:
Potential Scholarship Recipient #1
This dad has struggled with emotional abandonment issues due to a difficult family situation while growing up. This began to change when he became a father and then a stay-at-home dad. He has gone from feeling alone in the world to finding comfort and camaraderie by participating in an online group of guys that, “Sail The Same Ship” as he does. This helped him find his voice and inspired him to starting writing again, which is one of the things he is most passionate about, with a blog about his experiences as a stay-at-home dad.
This dad wants to attend the Convention to become an even better father and spouse and to meet some of the other dads in person that have helped him online.
Potential Scholarship Recipient #2
This dad is one of two dads nominated who does not live in the U.S. He and his family really want him to have the opportunity to hop the pond and join his fellow stay-at-home dads in Denver because his younger sister, two friends and he himself all wrote in to nominate him. This dad feels extremely isolated as he has not been able to find any other stay-at-home dads in his country and the stay-at-home moms have not been very welcoming.
His younger sister wrote, “I am stupendously proud of my brother as a stay at home dad – primarily because if you’d told me he would be doing this 10-15 years ago, I would’ve laughed and said, ‘no chance.’ Unbeknownst to me, my football loving, rock and roll brother can make awesome cakes, iron brilliantly, tidy the house whilst simultaneously entertaining a 2, 6 and 9 year old. Not only that, he also looks after other peoples children when they struggle with work commitments.”
Potential Scholarship Recipient #3
This dad felt he was being selfish by applying for a Brian Dickson Memorial Scholarship. He has been an active blogger for four years and aware of the Convention for as long, but his family’s financial situation makes it difficult for him to afford the trip.
Because he lives in a rural area, there are no other stay at home dads nearby and in all the years he’s been home, he’s never met one in person. He craves for the opportunity to meet some of the other stay-at-home dad bloggers that he has connected with online, saying in his nomination letter, “I think it would be great to be in the company of so many of the guys I have known online for all this time. These guys I’ve grown to know and respect for their writing, as well as their passion for fatherhood and involvement with promoting active fatherhood to others. These are guys who understand what it’s like to be the at-home dad… Often, I feel isolated here because guys my age with kids don’t understand what exactly I mean by being a stay-at-home-dad.”
This dad would love to gain advice he can only get from meeting other stay-at-home dads, build new relationships, learn new things about parenting and return home renewed and energized.
Potential Scholarship Recipient #4
For this dad, applying for a Brian Dickson Memorial Scholarship was not an easy decision. If it were not for a lot of encouragement and support from his wife and his mother, he would not have had the courage to send in his nomination letter. This dad feels the potential time spent with other dads is something he really needs to help him continue on in his role as a stay-at-home dad.
Potential scholarship recipient #4 lives roughly two hours away from the nearest dad’s group he has found so he has still not met a fellow stay-at-home dad where he lives. His family “struggles financially, but we are committed to having one parent stay at home with the kids because we believe that will lead them to be the healthiest and happiest they can be. It just so happens that my passion with the kids makes me the one lucky enough to get to stay home with them.”
Potential Scholarship Recipient #5
This dad became a stay-at-home dad this past February for his daughter who was born this past November. He left his accounting job of six years to make sure his daughter gets the best new life experience he is able to provide to her.
Being a one income family makes it difficult to go on a trip like this to attend the convention. But his excitement about the opportunity to attend inspired him to propose leading a panel discussion on healthy eating the Convention committee is considering for this year’s Convention.
Potential Scholarship Recipient #6
This dad became a stay-at-home dad in 2011 and recently welcomed in to this world his second child. One of the struggles the family deals with is that they are only able to afford one vehicle. Since his wife needs it to get to and from work, this dad is stuck at home without a way to take his kids out to various activities.
This dad’s wife nominated him. She explained in her nomination letter that they are moving to a new location where there is an established Dads Group. She feels that her husband joining in at the Convention will help him meet other dads of the new community who may help him get out of the house more. The additional benefit his wife sees is that he will be able to learn even more to continue to be the “Heart & Soul” of their family and to help him not feel so isolated any longer.
Potential Scholarship Recipient #7
This dad is grateful for losing his job this past April so he can be a stay-at-home dad however, the loss of income has created a financial instability making it impossible to attend the 19th Annual At-Home Dads Convention without a scholarship.
In attending the Convention, this dad sees it would be a huge step forward in his life as both a blogger and a stay-at-home dad. He knows he would meet others who are involved with their families as the primary caregiver, learn things to help him be an even better dad and share his experiences and learn from other dads experiences as well.
To help these and the rest of the other dads who have been nominated for a scholarship to attend the 19th Annual At-Home Dads Convention, please donate TODAY to the Brian Dickson Scholarship fund at http://athomedad.org/donate/ or when you register for the Convention.