Always an avid reader of news and feature stories, I caught an interesting bit in the Indianapolis Star a month ago called “Men Learning To Be Better Fathers”, telling about an organization called the Circle City Fatherhood Coalition. IndyStar reported that enrollment in Circle City Fatherhood’s new parenting classes for men was growing far beyond expectations. The goal, according to director Keith Smitherman, is “to teach men how to get and keep a job, manage their wages, handle the demands of dealing with children, and get full parental rights when unmarried.” In addition, there are sessions on anger management, I learned, with an eye to preventing domestic abuse, as well as teaching the risks of casual drug use (especially now that drug testing is common in the job market).

As a bankruptcy attorney in Indiana for almost twenty five years, the issues the Circle City Fatherhood organization is confronting are ones I see signs of every working day in my bankruptcy law offices. It’s a vicious cycle – people are pressured because of money problems. Very often the pressures are so great that, rather than family members leaning on one another for support, they lash out at one another in anger. When the pressures are great, alcohol and drugs can seem to offer escape, but, as you know, only make things worse. And, you know what the saddest irony of all is to me? Some people are so misinformed about bankruptcy, and have so much fear about it, that, rather than seeking professional help, they let the pressure build up to the point where their anger, fear, and frustration are too much for them. That’s when they are likely to hurt each other, or, worse yet, their children.

Since I work as a consumer bankruptcy specialist, I can truly appreciate the value of classes on managing money and on managing anger. In fact, in this bankruptcy blog I’m always trying to emphasize that the bankruptcy system was never meant to fix everybody’s problems. There are problems that people have the power to avoid or which they can fix by themselves. And, the more folks that can rise to the challenges they face without tapping the resources of the bankruptcy system, the more help will be available for those who truly cannot.