In honor of Father’s Day coming up this month, I chatted with Tim Tiger, amazing father to five equally amazing children, who also happens to be co-founder and CFO of Durga Tree International. I was eager to hear his story from a male abolitionist point of view. I work with so many women volunteers who instinctively gravitate toward this cause because of their “mama bear” nature. I wanted to hear his “papa bear” story and his thoughts on the abolitionist movement to eradicate modern human slavery.
Me: As a father, why did you become involved in this movement?
Tim: As a father (after my divorce), I became acutely aware of what my children think of me. Before I did something, I would think, “If my kids found out, would I be proud (of what I had done)?” You have to have a quality of life you believe in and it trickles down into the way they (children) live their lives and protect their family. I became involved because we (Beth and I) had a feeling that there was a huge unfairness in what was going on at the shelter in India. When we looked into it a bit deeper, we had to get more involved. The more we found out, the more our eyes were opened, the more I realized we had to become completely involved (in the abolition movement).
Me: What is the man’s role as an abolitionist?
Tim: Men should be more involved directly. Men feel that they can say, “Here’s my check.” They don’t feel being involved is important. The man who went to Guatemala with us saw the difference between being involved and writing a check. We need their checks, but also need their actions, too. There are more women involved because it’s more of a nurturing organization. Since men are a large part of the problem, they need to be a large part of the solution.
Me: What can men and women do to help?
Tim: Everybody, men and women, men especially, need to realize their purchasing power and knowledge, paying a little bit more (for well made, fair trade items) is a better deal than buying super cheap. As a man moving forward in life, being conscious on where things come from is very important. Having children, we realize moving forward, it (human trafficking) can affect them more than they realize, that their children could become involved in it.
Me: Why are you excited about Durga Tree’s Bloom program?
Tim: I’m really excited about this new program and giving people coming out of this horrible cycle an opportunity to be part of a program that will help them have a better life down the road. As a male abolitionist, it’s exciting to give the kids in Guatemala a chance to have their own opportunities. It was very intriguing to see someone have that (opportunity) and exciting to see it come full circle and how quickly she could better her life style. As a business owner, giving people a shot to be part of the business and have profit sharing and ability to grow with the company is satisfying. A lot of people should have that opportunity!
Me: Do you have any words of advice for people?
Tim: Stop being so damn selfish!
That’s some great “papa bear” advice! When we come out of our shells a bit and give a little of ourselves to others, whether it be fighting against trafficking, volunteering at school or even paying for the order for the person behind us at the drive-thru, we are gifted right back through the gratitude and love received. And as a father and abolitionist, Tim knows that first hand. Whether you are a “papa bear” or a “mama bear,” you can make a huge difference in the lives of others just by giving the gift of yourself.