In this installment of the Diversity Dad Resource Series, Jama’l talks with Kevin Renner. Kevin interviewed over 50 women worldwide for his book, “In Search of Fatherhood.” He received his social science degree from the University of California, as well as an MBA. While attending post-graduate school, he lived with over 600 women and men from around the world at an international house. He was previously in marketing for startup companies, as well as successful global companies. Kevin has an interest in cross-cultural perspectives, which has given him the opportunity to work throughout Europe, as well as Asia. Kevin had the idea to write his book when his daughters were 9 and 13 years old. He realized that although men learn a lot from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, nowhere are they taught how to raise a little girl into womanhood.
“Here’s the most important thing we have to do, and it’s the thing that we’re the least equipped in.”
He struggled himself with the issue and was told that if he wanted to learn how to be a father, especially to young girls, he’d have to go talk with women.
“Every woman, is by definition, a daughter”
Kevin originally began speaking with women that he was friends with about how their lives were shaped by their fathers. He then decided to expand to outside of his social circle, to women around the globe. He spoke with people from 19 different countries, from ages 20 to 90, from CEOs and Supreme Court judges to marginalized and homeless women.
“Their stories formed the basis of what became a real interesting adventure for me personally”.
He found cultural differences between the women, but says that at a psychological level, the similarities are substantially greater than the differences. Kevin states that despite whatever culture a daughter is born into, the human needs are universal in that daughters crave the attention and acceptance of their parents.
“If the father is not there, his absence has the most profound impact on the life of his daughter”
The lessons are learned in the stories they share, according to Kevin. This can be either by the heroic, or the horrific, nature of their fathers. The stories made Kevin aware of his interactions with his own daughters.
“Every time you do something with your daughter, it affirms in her that she is interesting and worthy of your time”.