Dad 2.0 Summit 2014: Redefining Fatherhood One Great Dad at a Time

Dad 2.0 Summit New OrleansSome dads, some times, need to take a moment.

That admission, which kicked off the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans yesterday, spoke volumes about the group’s mission. The event’s co-founder, Doug French, said it at the start of the three-day event following a video showing great dad highlights. Emotional stuff, no doubt. These dads weren’t going to pull a John Wayne and clamp down on their emotions. Eyes got moist. Throats were cleared.

Some men need a moment sometimes to regain their composure, and they don’t care who sees it.

It’s about the evolution of both manhood and fatherhood, a recognition that the cultural stereotypes around dads are often either wrong or misguided. And these dads are showing the world why.

Daddylibrium was honored to help kick off the event by reading one of my favorite posts from 2013–Raising a Noncomformist in a Bullying World. Later that day both dads and moms shared how much they enjoyed hearing about Elijah’s eclectic wardrobe. One parent said her child is partial to bow ties. That made me smile.

Would I have gotten such emotional feedback a decade ago?

Mission: Possible

Dad 2.0 is all about acknowledging how complex the modern father can be, something highlighted by clips from the series “Parenthood.” The Summit welcomed the drama’s show runner, Jason Katims, to be the first keynote speaker. Katims broke down the creative process behind the show. His art often imitates his own life.

The veteran TV writer’s mission is clear: Show all the challenges and blemishes of being a dad while reinforcing the importance of fatherhood.

You could say the same about the Summit.

“So now what,” was the question left lingering from the conference kick-off. A recent exchange in my local Target store told me there’s still work to be done.

A woman approached me after recognizing my two year old son. Turns out she and I both have children in the same preschool, and she often sees me toting my two boys back and forth to class. My wife works an early morning shift, leaving me to handle drop-off duties.

“You know, you’re a really good Dad,” she said, and I beamed at the compliment. What parent wouldn’t? Later, a less flattering thought crept into my mind. Would she have said the same about my wife, who is certainly no less gifted in shuttling our sons to and from school grounds?

It’s why the Dad 2.0 Summit matters. Cultural changes don’t happen overnight, and my fellow fathers are pushing people to see at last what fathers are really all about.

Do you see progress in how man are depicted in the media and our culture at large? If so, list some of the positive examples below!

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