The Grateful Dad®

After years of studying, teaching, and speaking about men and masculinities, it was natural that, after becoming a father in 1998, my men’s work would focus specifically on the important role that dads have in the lives of their children.  The Grateful Dad® is what I call this long time passion project, and I have had many satisfying opportunities to share my thoughts, skills, and concepts about parenting with passion, joy and gratitude from coast to coast.

For three years I served as Project Consultant on The Colorado Fatherhood Connection, an affiliate of the Colorado Foundation for Families and Children, providing statewide stewardship as a clearinghouse for best practices around involved fatherhood.  I represented CFFC on the Be A Fan of Your Kid public information campaign, in partnership with the Denver Nuggets and Children’s Hospital.  I also provided script consultation on InJoy Video’s production of the two-part DVD series titled The Dad Difference.

My fatherwork has taken me far and wide – from a keynote and award presentation to the Governor of Maine, to a day-long training in Honolulu attended by representatives from several Hawaiian islands – and I have provided training and tools to enhance the practice of early childhood and other educators, community- and faith-based organizations, child support enforcement and other social- and human services professionals, at the local, county, state and national levels, as well as direct service to fathers.


Some of my most popular programs include:

A Workshop That Makes The Business Case for Gratitude & Shows How to Have a Grateful Day

Gratitude can change a bad day and make it better, and take a good day and make it great. For anyone who seeks to make the most of each day, an ‘attitude of gratitude’ can make all the difference. Join Doug Gertner, The Grateful Dad®, to learn why and how to ‘have a grateful day.’ This session provides hands-on experience to appreciate and document all that there is to be grateful for on a daily basis, with tools, techniques and exercises to plug-in and pump up gratitude on-purpose and in practice. You’ll use The Grateful Dad’s Journal of Gratitude, and other resources to begin to celebrate all that’s going right, and start to multiply and manifest more of the good stuff everyday. Doug’s stories and experience make a powerful business and personal case for recognizing and harnessing the power of gratitude, and he’ll provide research results, individual and group activities to show exactly how a ‘year of living gratefully’ transformed his life and how it’ll help you too!

During this interactive keynote or workshop, participants will:

  • Learn the 5 Greatest Possible Rewards of Daily Gratitude
  • Hear How ‘My Year of Living Gratefully’ Changed Everything
  • Review Gratitude Research from the field of Positive Psychology
  • Review, brainstorm, plan programs for a more grateful workplace
  • Reflect on the Many Ways Everyone Is Grateful Every Day
  • Practice Daily Gratitude Journaling


DATA:  In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events. – Emmons & McCullough (2003)

PRESS: Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They're also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections. - Melinda Beck, Wall Street Journal, 2010

Appreciating and Working with Colorado Fathers: Meeting the Challenges of Supporting Fathers, Mothers, Children, and Families

(A full-day training for human services professionals) The goal of this workshop is to provide information and tools to assist caseworkers and others who wish to strengthen their capacity to understand and serve fathers and families.  During this workshop participants will…

…Explore their personal knowledge of, and experience with fathers
…Discover/understand the importance of fathers in children’s lives
…Learn about existing fatherhood programs and interventions
…Review aspects of a ‘father-friendly’ environment
…Create an action plan to address the needs of fathers they serve


Field of Dads: Creating a Father-Friendly Environment

(One to three hour training for educators and human services professionals) Wondering where all the dads are?  This interactive workshop begins by introducing the history of fatherhood, and the recent emergence of father’s movements.  Participants will be asked to explore their own expectations and “hot-buttons” around fatherhood using a highly interactive reflection activity, and will explore ways to create a more father-friendly environment wherever dads are welcome.  Target Audience: Programs, agencies and individuals seeking to involve fathers.


The Grateful Dad®’s Guide to a Modern Fatherhood Odyssey: Debunking the Myths of Historical Father Figures

(A keynote type address by “The Grateful Dad®” in full, funky regalia) Filled with facts and fun, this interactive address brings to a general audience the message that fathers matter, through a light-hearted look at the history and importance of fatherhood in America.   Complete with music, costumes, and audience participation, you’ll laugh and learn why we all need to work to keep fathers involved in the lives of their children.  Doug Gertner, a.k.a. The Grateful Dad®, brings a laid-back, rock and roll wisdom to the topic of dads and dudes, including his top tips, quick quips, skills, ideas, exercises, and activities to reflect on our own dads and bring father-friendliness to every situation.


Power Tools for Parenting: A Program for Dads

(One to three hour program for fathers.) If you are a father and have been curious about the history of fatherhood in America, or wondered how the legacy of your own dad impacts your parenting behavior, there’s a workshop that’s designed just for you. This fathers-only session is open to dads, grandfathers, male caregivers, and fathers-to-be.  The workshop will explore developmental issues, facts and ideas for getting and staying involved with your kids.  Join Doug Gertner, a.k.a. The Grateful Dad®, for a session that uses powerful tools to permit dads to reflect, learn, laugh, and leave with an individual fathering action plan.


The Daddy Balance: Making the Time to Do it All

(One to three hour program for fathers.) A session for fathers who are looking for ways to balance work and family, lacking the energy for daddy duty after a day on the job, and seeking ways to support their partner and have fun with their kids.  The Daddy Balance is an opportunity to spend time with other dads who share these challenges, and begin to develop a strategy for getting the most out of life, family and work.  Using father-tested methods, this life-planning workshop is designed to assists dads in reflecting on what’s most important to them, and help dads take action toward having it.


FOCUS ON FATHERS: A Strategic Process for Working with Fathers by Assessing Father-Friendliness

(A diagnostic and change process that can be introduced in 1-2 hours and completed over a 6-16 week period) Goal:  To assist agencies and educators in being active and involved in creating a father-friendly environment that will attract fathers and retain them in programs and services. Process:  Doug Gertner and Emu Consulting will convene a representative group from an agency or school to assess the father-friendliness of the site.  An ongoing, facilitated process will employ creative problem solving techniques to identify, prioritize and address needed changes to create a more father-friendly environment.

The Paradox of Fatherhood Work: Exploring the Challenges of Dads Who Work With Dads

Fatherhood work encompasses a wide range of programs and services aimed at supporting and assisting fathers to be actively and responsibly involved in the lives of their children.  Professionals who serve in fatherhood have unique knowledge, skills, experience and expertise about the role of fathers, their needs, and the many challenges faced by dads today.  As more programs exist, and more men enter into work with fathers, more and more of these professionals are themselves fathers, thus creating a paradox with several unique challenges for these dads working with dads.  Using results from a survey of fathers who do fatherhood work, this session explores the paradox of fatherhood work.