Ed Tandy McGlasson knows the importance of a father.
McGlasson, a former lineman in the National Football League who played for the Rams, Jets and Giants before becoming a full-time pastor, will never forget the day his stepfather pronounced him a man.
When McGlasson was 14 years old, he went with his mother to see off his stepfather, who was leaving to command a submarine. As the submarine started to leave the dock, his stepfather realized he had driven the family's car to the dock and still had the keys.
So he shouted over the crowd, "'Son, today you are a man,' and threw the keys to me," McGlasson said. "I caught them, and it changed my life that day."
McGlasson's new book, "The Difference a Father Makes," was written to encourage fathers to unleash the potential in their children. It focuses on why it is important to bless children and how to bless children.
The book is for everyone: for fathers to learn how best to support their children, for single mothers who are trying to be both parents, and for all people who may never have had a father or a father's blessing. The book is rooted in the Christian faith and relates that God is the ultimate father.
The book is small enough to fit in a back pocket and takes about an hour and a half to read.
McGlasson will be giving a seminar about the principles in his new book this weekend.
"I wrote this book as a father," he said. "When you have five kids, you either learn how to be a father or you have a serious nightmare when you get older."
In today's culture, he said there is no goal line showing what it means for boys or girls to become men or women. Children need support, almost permission, to become an adult, he said.
McGlasson frequently sees the effects on children who never had a father's blessing.
He remembers one 72-year-old man who was in tears after hearing McGlasson's message.
"He looked at me and said, crying, 'I've waited for over 70 years for my father to tell me one time that he loved me,'" McGlasson said. The man had made millions of dollars, bought everything he could imagine, but still wanted one thing -- a father's love.
McGlasson's "playbook" for fathers includes six principles: fill your children with positive affirmations, bless your children publicly, develop traditions that highlight shared values and commitments, spend time with your children, build structure around your children, and celebrate over your children.
His seminar about "The Difference a Father Makes" will be Friday and Saturday at the Steamboat Christian Center. Admission is free. The Friday night and Saturday morning sessions are for fathers only, while the Saturday afternoon session is a family barbecue for everyone.
The seminar is sponsored by The Band of Brothers. To sign up or for more information, call 870-3244.