About the Book

Jack Canfield on The Great Dads Project with Keith Zafren“Most men spend very little time pondering the question, Am I doing the right things to become a great dad? This book addresses this most important question in a profound way. It’s filled with personal stories, focused on powerful principles, and is written for real people. We all know how easy it is, biologically, to become a father. What we often don’t realize is that it takes work, dedication, and learned skills to become a dad, especially a great dad.”

From the foreword by Jack Canfield
Co-Creator, #1 New York Times best selling series
Chicken Soup for the Soul®
Author, The Success Principles
Tony Dungy on The Great Dads ProcjectOur nationwide fathering crisis must be addressed before another generation of children pays the price. Tony Dungy, former NFL Super bowl-winning head coach says, “We have a whole generation of men who don’t understand how much they mean to their kids.” The Great Dads Project, plans to change that.

In How to Be a Great Dad, you will learn:

  • Why dads matter way more than you may think.
  • The lifelong impact fathers have on their children.
  • Three simple and strategic skills to great dad success that all dads can master.
  • Why bad or absent dads can land kids in prison.
  • How to become the father you wish you’d had.
  • Why “father nurture” is as important as “mother nurture.”
  • Why saying “I’m proud of you” makes all the difference.
  • Why “I’ll love you no matter what” means so much to your kids.
  • Why a hug is not “just a hug” when it comes from Dad.
  • How to build your kids’ self-esteem.
  • How to give what you may not have received.
  • An achievable process to overcome hurts or limitations from your past.
  • The 15-day Great Dad Challenge that transforms fathers into dads.

Bill Meyer on The Great Dads ProjectHow to Be a Great Dad is superbly written and a gift for a generation of fathers and fathers-to-be. Keith delivers deep insights from his experience of raising three boys and from years of ministering to thousands of men, including incarcerated men with deep wounds from their experiences with their fathers.  It’s been a long time since I was a child and saw the world like a child sees it.  Keith’s examples show valuable insight into what children long for and why there are certain of their needs that only we as fathers can meet.  He brings together years of research to identify the most important gifts we can give our kids, and provides valuable, practical tools to help put each into practice. If you’re a father, How to Be a Great Dad will help teach you and inspire you to be the best dad you can be. I’m sure I’ll refer back to it often.

Bill Meyer
CFO, Financial Consultant


Endorsements for How to Be a Great Dad

Keith’s book is a game changer for me. Working through this book is not for the faint of heart. I struggled more than I’ve ever struggled in my life, forgiving my father – and it has truly changed my life. I love tools, and Keith has given me the tools to give to my children what they need from me. This is another game changer. I knew a few of the concepts intuitively, but Keith delivers, over delivers! If every man was to read this book it would change our world. Buy it, read it, do the work. Men and women will benefit from this. There are not may concepts new under the sun; I predict this will rock your world. Invest your time. You will bless the day you did.
Samuel Johnson
Father of four
Often I have occasion to collectively ask dads this question: “Think back to when you were growing up. How many of you had a dad who would draw you in close periodically, look you straight in the eye and say, Son, I love you?” I have never had a group response of even 10 percent. Almost always, it is one or two slow moving arms being raised. What I have also learned is that we naturally tend to pass on the type of fathering that we experienced as a child simply because it’s all we know. We may say, “I’ll never be like him,” but without some sort of inward change we tend to pass on our own experience. Keith Zafren’s book, “How to be a Great Dad,” is for the 90+ percent of us who have entered adult life with an inward unsettledness in relation to our own dads. Keith makes it clear that in order to move ahead we must first look back to address what he calls “unfinished business.” The book is a well-written masterful guide that can lead you out of fathering frustration and into an entirely new adventure of what it means to be a dad. It is a great how-to-guide filled with practical steps. However, Keith’s transparency along with his story telling ability will capture your interest and inspire you to take action. This book is a pass-it-on kind of book. It will make so much sense you will want to place a copy into the hands of other dads you know.
Mike Hadderoff
Founder, Christ in the Rockies
===This review is from: How to Be a Great Dad (Kindle Edition)
A wonderful book for new fathers who are unsure how to navigate fatherhood and a great refresher for dads who want real life practical solutions on how they can be the best dad to their kids. The stories and examples in the book are heartfelt and in simple easy-to-understand language the author (Keith Zafren) teaches readers about not only his journey as a father but how they too can make a journey that at times is both wondrous, fulfilling and sometimes challenging. The author offers readers a 15 day Great Dads Challenge that is worth considering– 15 days could literally be the impetus to changing the course of your life and that of your kids. If you read only one book on being a father…this should be the one!
Randee Feldman
Get Noticed PR
As a friend of Keith’s, I would like readers to know that his stories are genuine and not embellished or enhanced to make them more compelling. All of his advice is stuff that he puts into practice with his own children. I think the thing that makes Keith’s wisdom so compelling is that he graciously admits when he has made mistakes in his fathering. This makes it clear that each of us, full of our own faults, can succeed at this very difficult task of raising children.I especially appreciate that Keith is not just offering another admonition to be a better person. Rather he offers concrete, simple (not simplistic) actions that each man can take to establish powerful habits in his own life that will allow him to overcome his own past hurts and truly feed the souls of his children.
Jon Lachelt
HP Consultant
Keith Zafren is an inspiring guide on this adventure into the heart of fathering. Read this book. It will make you a better dad, and it may even help you forgive your own father for the mistakes he inevitably made.
Neil Chethik
Executive Director, The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning
Author of FatherLoss and VoiceMale
If you want a trustworthy, trail-worn guide into wise, effective, and fulfilling fathering, then look no further. In addition to surveying fatherhood literature and research, Keith Zafren candidly shares his wound of being abandoned by his father, the growth he experienced being mentored by great dads, the inspiration he discovered coaching the sons of absentee fathers in prison, and the healing he has found loving and affirming his own children. As to a great trail guide, you’ll come back to him again and again for wisdom and encouragement.
Graham Scharf
Author of The Apprenticeship of Being Human: Why Early Childhood Parenting Matters to Everyone
I am not even the primary audience for this book, and yet, I was moved to tears numerous times; it gave me a new perspective on my own wounds—having lost my biological father five weeks before I was born; and it showed me how I can be a better mother to my two adult stepchildren. The content is relevant and timely, and Keith provides an answer to a problem that has the potential to profoundly impact the world by modeling and teaching how to transform non-love into love. What could be better than that?
Jennifer Read Hawthorne
International speaker, award-winning and bestselling author and editor
WOW!!! “Healing a Father Wound” was by far the most impactful and emotional section of any book I have ever read. I can’t even describe how deeply this teaching affected me. The feeling of “choked up” stayed throughout reading the section, and keeps coming back even now. I realized clearly how my own father wound has affected my entire life, and still does to this day. It also made me realize how the healing process is a daily reward to me and my boys, and so worth the effort. My heart was smiling while my eyes filled with tears. Thank you from my full heart for writing this book!
Patrick McMillan
Founder, Teaching Happiness.com
Author, An Exercise in Happiness for Kids
Being in the presence of Keith’s writing is like being perched over an intimate cup of tea with a perceptive and wise friend. With intuitive mastery, Keith attends to his topic with authenticity and alacrity. Though I’m not a father, I do have one. I’m not a son, but I mother three of them. Finally, there is a book—a guide of sorts—illustrating what thoughtful fathering actually looks like with real-life, raw, human examples of his own and others. This work is as practical as it is deeply soulful. Through his own compelling self-observation and personal disclosure, it is obvious that Keith has steeped in and skillfully examined his own human and humbling experience of both parenting and being parented. This enabled me to trust him and allowed me to trust myself in taking his life-lessons to heart. In particular, Keith’s masterful, gentle section on healing a father wound and grief allowed me to begin to navigate an aching part of my own life. What a nourishing read for me as I make sense of how I was fathered, what my boys are seeking in their dad, and how I can come alongside my husband in co-parenting our children with a new comprehension and compassion.
Susan Olesek International Enneagram Facilitator and Coach
Founder, The Enneagram Prison Project
Unfortunately, I’ve made some foolish choices and served a six-year term in prison. Just this past week, I was granted the blessing of sweet freedom. Although I was heartbroken and utterly devastated over not being able to be the dad I needed to be and for causing pain in my children’s precious lives, my prison sentence ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. Keith Zafren taught me to become a much better father from behind prison walls. I learned how I have been affected by not having a father and how to ensure that I do not inflict the same deep wounds upon my children. This book will help many men become the dads we all want to be, teach us how to lovingly affirm our children, and heal from whatever wounds we may have experienced from inadequate fathering when we were young.
Bobby Colombo
 Formerly Incarcerated Father
Member Class IX of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program
I had already been mentored by Keith Zafren for several years when I founded the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) in Texas. Keith was the single most influential person in my life who shaped me into the leader and spiritual person I am today. He served as a founding member of our governing board and coached me through many of our challenging start-up issues. Starting in our second class, I knew we needed a strong male/father role model for our men. It would have been easier to have someone local fill this role, but I was committed to providing our participants with world-class teachers and mentors, so we invested in flying Keith from Kentucky, eventually on a monthly basis, to teach on fatherhood and spirituality. He became a Character Formation Coach and deeply impacted our men’s lives as they learned to become honorable men and great dads. Keith’s influence and involvement with PEP was definitely one of the best aspects of the entire program. I witnessed our participants’ transformation firsthand. Keith remains a great friend and advisor to me. I’m honored he’s serving on the National Advisory Board for Defy Ventures, my second nonprofit in the prison rehabilitation sector. I couldn’t be more excited about what he’s creating with The Great Dads Project. Keith is a tremendously gifted teacher. He may be the most devoted father I’ve ever met. The Great Dads Project is filling a tremendous unmet need. I believe the key to restoring the most broken communities in America is to equip men to be great fathers. Keith is perfectly equipped through his life and professional experiences to lead this movement.
Catherine Rohr
Former founder and CEO, The Prison Entrepreneurship Program
Current founder and CEO, Defy Ventures
Reading Keith’s book was truly a transformative experience. Told through compelling and artistically crafted narrative, How to Be a Great Dad offers a deeply soulful awakening while providing a practical guide to being the dad every father desires to be. It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey or what your relationship with your own father has been; Keith reminds you that it is never too late to heal, or to learn to transform pain into joy.
Dr. Lori Friesen
Animal-Assisted Literacy Expert and Speaker
Author, The Beginning Teacher’s Handbook for Elementary School
Creator, How Your Dog Can Help Your Child Read, Lead, and Succeed

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