I have discovered a wonderful organization that promotes strengthening the family. This is an organization that has been promoting fatherhood and motherhood for the past 16 years. With humble beginnings, the Native American Fatherhood and Family Association (NAFFA) based in Mesa, Arizona is in a world I didn’t know much about.
Albert Pooley, a Navajo/Hopi Native American saw the writing on the wall within his own community. Violence, domestic abuse, alcohol, drugs affected so many families within the tribes and on reservations. Fathers and even some mothers were not taking on the responsibility of a family. He knew he had to do something to help his people.
Understanding what he had learned from his own family on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, and using his experience as a Marriage & Family Therapist, he developed a wonderful curriculum to teach fathers and mothers the importance of their family and how to stay committed to each other. The program teaches vital information designed to lead parents back to deep-rooted family values, recognizing the family as a rewarding commitment.
What is so inspiring is that this curriculum uses the culture of the Native Americans in 12 session classes to help these parents really catch the vision of strong, happy families. It’s been successful in reconnecting parents with their children in over 200 tribes all over the United States and some places in Canada. It’s even been effective in jails, prisons, treatment centers, probation and parole agencies and many court systems throughout the United States and Canada with sessions taught in prisons with a very low return rate.
Mr. Pooley believes that “When our families are destroyed, our culture will die. When we preserve our families, we preserve our culture.”
The culture of the Native American fascinates me and as I think of the history of what has happened to these people, I feel a great strengthening of a nation. Others might not understand the full effects of this program but those parents who were taught sure do.
Native American people believe in the sanctity of many things (ie. mountains, burial grounds, animals, etc), but NAFFA teaches that the most sacred thing on this Earth is our role as a Father and our role as a Mother and to have a safe and happy family. Our foundation curriculum Fatherhood Is Sacred™/Motherhood Is Sacred™ (FIS/MIS) teaches the importance of strengthening our families and the importance of inviting the Creator (prayer) into our homes and to bless our families.
Mr. Pooley comments: “For over 40 years I have visited and worked with more than 300 native tribes throughout North America. One common belief, which permeates through all of these tribes is their true belief in a Creator. This is perhaps the greatest legacy our ancestors bring to present and future generations.”
With all people around the world, our history contributes greatly to who we are today. To know our heritage is to know ourselves. As we learn about the history from our own families and what was important to them, we can then appreciate and value our own sense of identity and purpose.
Mr. Pooley teaches the Native Americans that “we must be a forward thinking, forward looking and forward moving people. We cannot live in or dwell on the past. Rather, when we truly understand the past, it should inspire and motivate us to work towards a richer, better future.” This should be the message for all of us.
When we are committed to the care and welfare of our children, they grow to be responsible, caring citizens. With the culture of the Native Americans promoting kindness, safety, fairness, appreciation, joy, and laughter, Mr. Pooley teaches the principles to help relationships between spouses, parents, and children to strengthen families.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.