LIHUE — Fatherhood and the role of fathers in a child’s life will be the focus of this year’s Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon.
“Dads are amazing and their influence and impact plays a huge part in kid’s lives,” said Jim Burns, keynote speaker for the luncheon.
On the Garden Isle, that topic is especially timely. The Kauai Fatherhood Council, which provides local men with support, guidance and resources they might need to have a successful home life, convened in October 2016.
The goal of the council is to break down male stereotypes and barriers.
So Burns, who dedicates himself to strengthening families, was a good fit for speaker at the 13th annual luncheon, which will take place Saturday at the Kilohana Luau Pavilion.
“I always worked with kids and when I got out of college, the more I would help them, the more I realized parents need help too,” he said. “The best way to help kids to help their families.”
Burns, who lives in Southern California, founded HomeWord, an organization that works to strengthen familial bonds by educating and encouraging parents to build God-honoring families.
“We came up with the phrase, ‘When you reach the family, you reach the world.’ It’s a way to reach out to families because we all have that need, it doesn’t matter if we’re Democrat or Republican, Christian or non-Christian, or where we come from in other ways of life,” he said.
HomeWord values include strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. As part of his ministry, Burns speaks to thousands of people around the world about the importance of those values.
He is also the author of several books, and has close to 2 million resources in print in 30 languages. Some of his most popular books are “Confident Parenting,” “The Purity Code,” “Creating an Intimate Marriage” and “Closer.”
While Burns has given several seminars on Kauai through Kauai Christian Fellowship, this is his first time at the prayer luncheon.
“I’m excited to get to know more people on the beautiful island and share with them the message of helping families succeed,” he said. “Plus I get to wear an aloha shirt instead of having to dress up.”
About 1,000 people are expected to attend the luncheon. As of Thursday, about 900 tickets were sold, said Dely Sasaki of Kauai Island Ministries, which organizes the event.
“It’s remarkable for an island that is as small as it is. There’s a good attendance. Every city has prayer luncheons, and I’ve spoken in bigger places but don’t have that size audience,” Burns said. “It’s unique, people come together, and I love that the Mayor’s Office is involved.”
For Burns, it’s a sin not to enjoy Kauai while on the island, so he and his wife, Cathy, are staying a week.
“We’re going to play tourists and go to both sides of the island. We like to snorkel and paddle board and of course, we have the restaurant hot spots we want to try,” he said.
They also plan to visit Shipwrecks Beach, which is where their daughter was married a few years ago.
“One of the things I love about Kauai is that there’s such a diversity of culture all in one place,” he said. “There’s a richness when it comes to family and the presence of ohana.”