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Article updated: 6/20/2011 4:31 AM

Devin Hester talks about fatherhood at Willow Creek

By Steve Zalusky

During Chicago Bears broadcasts, Devin Hester has been described as "ridiculous" for his amazing feats on the football field.

On Sunday, during DadFest, the Willow Creek Community Church's annual celebration of fathers, Hester proved he is equally "ridiculous" off the field.

Before the congregation, Hester, dressed casually, sat in a comfortable chair and discussed his main passion -- fatherhood -- with Darren Whitehead, Willow Creek's teaching pastor and the father of three little girls.

It was part of a celebration that included music by Christian blues musician Glenn Kaiser, whose soulful songs led one enthusiastic congregation member to shout, "You rock!"

"(DadFest) is to celebrate fathers, to give them a chance to connect with their family and give them something fun to do," said Susan DeLay, spokeswoman for the church.

Hester scored huge points with his audience.

He said faith has played a huge role in his life, and faith and family go hand in hand for him. In a recent Chicago Parent magazine article, accompanied by photographs showing his son holding a football, Hester talked about being a good dad to his 1-year-old son, "little Devin," also known as "D.J."

"So, training is a piece of cake compared to having a kid, right?" Whitehead asked.

Hester agreed, saying parenting is a 24/7 job.

Whitehead tossed some tough questions at Hester, such as, "Who changes the diapers in your family?"

Hester answered, "I change him when he does No. 1, but when he does No. 2 ..." his words interrupted by laughter from the crowd.

"I'm really glad that you can get away with that," Whitehead replied.

Hester said growing up in a two-parent household helped in his own development.

He urged dads to spend that most precious commodity -- time -- with their children.

"Time is more important than the having the best toy at Toys R Us or a new bicycle," he said, adding, "My brother and I were the only two kids with a father that stayed with their mama."

Hester also spoke about how he wants his son to think of him.

"I want D.J. to tell his friends in middle school and elementary and high school that I have the best dad ever. Not the superstar on the football field, but off the field I have the best dad in the whole wide world," he said.

Hester intends to spend his post-football career encouraging dads to stay involved, and intends to create a foundation devoted to the cause.

"I don't know how much to stress how important it is to be in your kid's life. Time is the most important thing you can give a kid," he said. "I just get a kick out of coming home and seeing how excited my kid is to see me walk in the door."

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