Kansas City Father of the Year Finalist
More than 5,000 students submitted essays entitled “What My Father Means to Me” through the National Center for Fathering’s "Royals Father of the Year" contest. On Sunday, as the Royals faced the Marlins in the homestand finale, the winning authors and their fathers were out at Kauffman Stadium to catch some baseball and celebrate the honor. In addition, overall winner Mark Hoduski (pictured here with Reggie Sanders) tossed out a first pitch AND received one of Kauffman Stadium’s greatest honors as Sunday’s recipient of the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat program.
Bios for each of the winning fathers are below, courtesy of the National Center for Fathering. Congrats to Mark and all the dads…and Happy Father’s Day!
OVERALL WINNER: Mark Hoduski – Describing his relationship with his kids, Mark explains that he likes to believe he nurtures an effective father-child relationship as well as providing security, discipline and stepping in as a role model of a good husband, worker and citizen. As a young father, Mark purposefully studied the behaviors he observed when watching families who raised kind, polite and thoughtful children. “My best advice to new fathers who want to improve their fathering skills is to observe successful fathers and ask lots of questions,” Mark shares. Tess, Mark’s 10th grade daughter, characterizes him in one word: passionate. “I only hope that maybe some day some of it will rub off on me,” she adds. It appears that Tess has been observing her father.
Rodney L. Alexander – Austin, Rodney’s second grade son, portrays his dad as his teacher, his entertainer and as a good man who leads by example. Rodney believes one of the hardest things in fathering has been to help his children understand that circumstances and people are not always perfect. Developing an attitude that can overcome disappointments and rocky circumstances will help his children keep a healthy perspective on life. Rodney admits there is not anything he would not do for his kids. It’s obvious that Austin appreciates this about his dad; Austin concludes his essay about his dad by saying, “I want to be just like him.”
Kevin Bergenhofer – As a father of three, Kevin strives to be young at heart and see life though the eyes of his children. His underlying goal is to raise his family in the godliest way possible. He values his children as his legacy, and admonishes young fathers to live every moment like it could be the last they may have with them. Brady, Kevin’s eighth grade son says, “My father loves me and all my family with all his heart.” Kevin adds that he hopes to be Brady’s best friend forever.
Paul Lively – Hannah, Paul’s first grade daughter, depicts her dad in a series of behaviors which when collected and arranged form a collage that tells the story of a dad who loves, shows, teaches, dances, meets, helps, reads, listens, and plays with his children. When it comes to discipline, Paul realizes the difference between childish irresponsibility and active defiance. He encourages parents to be consistent, setting boundaries and sticking to them. He further advises parents to ask for forgiveness when necessary and admit mistakes. Hannah sums her dad up by stating, “He is the best dad I could ever have.”
Jeff Rohr – Jeff’s parenting style has been influenced by a quote he heard a long time ago: “Kids spell love T. . .I. . .M. . .E.” Whether he is providing a warm hug after a scraped knee, laughing at joke for the 10th time, or reprimanding a child for an inappropriate behavior, Jeff realizes that it is a tough balance. “Like all fathers,” Jeff writes, “I want the best for my kids and sometimes, that means saying no.” Jeff also credits his wife for modeling an attitude that he feels is key to being a good parent. “There are days where she has a list of thing she wants to complete, but if one of the kids asks her to stop and play a game or watch a movie, she drops what she’s doing and spends the time with them.” Jeff and his wife both feel that Madison, their fifth grade daughter is wise beyond her years; they are proud of her as they see her developing into a great role model for her younger brother and sister.