Choosing a Guardian

The Council of Dads

by Rania Combs


One thing that motivates many parents to make a will is the desire to designate guardians who will raise their children if the unthinkable happens. And yet many parents delay getting their wills drafted because they have difficulty selecting a person who seems ideally suited for the role.

No one guardian can replace you or teach your children all the lessons you want them to learn. But perhaps other people can help fill a void that the guardian you select may not be able to.

A Council Dads (or Moms)

Bruce Feiler was 43 year old when he was diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer. As a father of three year-old twin girls, he says he crumbled when he thought of the possibility that he would not be present for the milestones in his daughters’ lives.

And he worried about how his death would affect his daughters. “Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they lack for my approval, my discipline, my voice?” he asked.

To fill the void that the possibility of his death would bring, he enlisted the help of close friends to serve on a “Council of Dads.”

These men would not serve as the children’s guardian, a role reserved for Bruce’s wife. Rather, each embodied a different characteristic that Bruce wanted them to impart on his daughters if the cancer took his life.

  1. Ben Edwards, who’s known Bruce since kindergarten, would teach the girls about where their dad came from, and would help them enjoy their childhood.
  2. Jeff Shumlin, his camp counselor, would embody Bruce’s adventurous spirit and teach them to exlore their world.
  3. Max Steir, Bruce’s college roommate, would help the girls be true to themselves, and to live to its fullest.
  4. David Black, his business partner, would teach the girls that their dreams could be achieved with hard work and determination.
  5. Ben Sherwood, Bruce’s closest confidant, would challenge the girls to always ask questions.
  6. Joshua Ramo, Bruce’s poet friend would remind the girls to take time to reflect on their lives.

Who Could Serve on Your Council?

Do you have close friends or family members who could fill a void that the guardian you select may not be able to? Who are they? Perhaps you should consider forming your own council of dads or moms to help your selected guardian share the lessons you want your children to learn.

Thankfully, Bruce is now cancer-free and able to watch his girls grow. He has written a book called “The Council of Dads.” You can also find out more about the Council of Dads on his website by following the link.

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

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    July 12, 2010 at 10:46am

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