One of Mark Hatcher’s favorite Conscious Fathering moments didn’t happen in class. It happened in a grocery store. “I was just shopping,” says Mark. “And this guy yelled to me from the end of the aisle. He was with his wife and baby. He pulled them over to me, saying ‘this is the guy… this is guy who taught the dad class, you have to meet him!’ It was amazing.”
Many former students follow up to tell Mark how glad they are they took the class. “That never gets old,” he says.
Mark is passionate about Conscious Fathering class. He started out as a student, preparing for the birth of his now 4-year old daughter, Maris. The class’s content and potential resonated deeply with him, so he reached out to Parent Trust to learn more. Today, he’s an instructor, helping others prepare for and define their own fatherhood journeys. “I’m here in service to the community and to the organization,” he says.
Mark estimates he’s taught the class to more than 300 student in four years. Considering he’s a father of three and a Strategic Account Manager for Amazon, that’s no small accomplishment.
Mark invests his time as a Conscious Fathering instructor because he wants men to be comfortable caring for their children from day one.
Many new dads come into class with no experience with infants or newborns. Bonding with a baby starts with birth, but Mark notes that the first few days can be some of the hardest for fathers – leaving them feeling left out and isolated.
“Most guys,” he says, “may have held a baby for 10 minutes before they have one. They are scared. I tell them it’s ok. I was afraid too.”
Conscious Fathering is a very hands-on class that walks students through the realities of parenting. Using baby dolls, men practice essential skills – holding, feeding, changing, and soothing. What do you do when you feel sleep deprived, frustrated, and confused? How do you create a plan to be the dad you want to be? Conscious Fathering class helps answer these questions.
Mark’s Conscious Fathering mantra is “Presence over perfection.”
He says it is one of the most important things he wants his students to walk away with. “It means, one doesn’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be present.”
Mark wants his students to know they are not walking this path alone. He maintains a texting group for all his former students, and encourages them to reach out and help each other, to ask questions and just to share. To simply have fun being fathers.
“It’s about being present, building confidence and real skills. Conscious Fathering makes a difference for my students and for their kids,” says Mark. “And that what this is all about.”