It was February 5, 2003, and the wife was screaming viciously. I was in danger, gauze flying, tubes and needles and nurses everywhere. It wasn't long before I realized that I was completely unprepared for the repercussions of what I had just witnessed: my wife had a baby, my baby girl was born. She was going to be my first of two more similar events, all with the screaming, gauze flying, tubes, needles, and nurses everywhere. I surely was in danger, but it wasn't from the wife or the nurses. It was the little girl, she stole my heart, and I didn’t even see it coming. All my years of formal education and I was clueless. I realized it when I had to change the first diaper and give the first bath, and it snowballed from there. I had not done my homework, and I found the formal education to be useless. I thought being a dad would be easy. By 2003 I had acquired over thirty five years of experience being a son, so I figured that I knew how it should be done. Like you, I distinctly remember in my teenage years knowing exactly what my parents were doing wrong. Heck, if anything I should be an expert! It was a couple of years later when my daughter was about two that I started quoting some of the things my mom used to repeat all the time, and I knew I was in trouble. I was not a proactive parent, I was a floundering father. I then took my responsibilities to heart. I became proactive very quickly. I figured jobs change, careers go away, but I was going to have my three children for a very long time. I needed to clearly identify what I was doing here; I needed goals. Not only did I define my goals, I created my mission and then a strategy. My goals are the same and the mission constant, but the strategy is ever changing. I decided to put these items down on paper and before I knew it, this book was created out of my goals, mission, and numerous strategy sessions. I hope you will find my efforts to be concise, easy to read, entertaining stories of proactive parenting ideas embedded with nuggets of wisdom. I hope you enjoy reading about how I am intentional in my instruction, engaged in my children’s lives, and interactive in their play, about my efforts to become a great dad, or what I call, The Red Fox Father.
David A. Penney