Sunday, February 24, 2019

Dad 2.0 2019 San Antonio: Takeaways!

Well, my favorite conference just ended, and assuming I get back safely (there's a windstorm alert for the Midwest, including Chicago, and that has already stranded a few guys).  My flight is still scheduled to depart, but trying to go with flow!  You get what you get and you don't get upset applies to adults as well as children, you know.

I've been to all 8 Dad 2.0 summits, and have already bought tickets for the 9th (schedule and whereabouts unknown-- they've earned my trust enough that I will go anywhere.  If you want you too  can buy tickets for $99 at through Monday 2/25.  After that tickets will go away for a few months)

Here are some of my biggest takeaways from this year's conference.

Paid Paternity Leave. 

I took the Dove Men Care Paternity Leave Pledge this year.  Being a self-employed guy, I didn't think much about paternity leave.  When I had a kid, I just stopped doing work, and sucked it up, and my wife picked up the slack.

Not everybody can do that, and not everybody has a job that allows paternity leave, let alone paid paternity leave.  And even those that do, there's a stigma against it, so much so that many guys who are eligible don't take it for fear of damaging their career.  Seems crazy!

 Dove is working to make Paternity Leave part of the fabric of our society, and remove the stigma attached it.  (Which once again shows that Dove gets the long game of marketing much better than almost any other company.  They are doing good, knowing that they are aligning with creating a better society, with the knowledge that they will in the end be rewarded for that, even if that reward isn't immediate.  #welldoneDove.  )

They have a new program where they are giving away one million dollars to dads in a grant program for guys who may not be eligible for leave.  They started it last Tuesday, and they already have over 1200 applicants.

You too can take the pledge at

Become part of the mosaic of people making a difference in the fabric of society. (do you see what I did there?)

AARP Disrupt Aging Campaign.

Book available on Amazon.
I participated in a conversation sponsored by AARP about their new program Disrupt Aging.

They are trying to include many voices in the process to combat agism and the common tropes and stereotypes about getting older.  There were many guys and a few women at the conversation, and it was videotaped for a future video (that I might have a snippet in)

I loved having lunch with this great group of guys and participating in the conversation.  They asked us what are the biggest problems/easiest solutions to combat ageism, and I talked about staying flexible, not being rigid in my ideas and not calcifying thoughts/concepts/practices.  It's easy to get stuck in a rut and think you know how things can go, but things can go all kinds of ways, and you have to be flexible about them.

Their campaign is online here: and they have a great book by the CEO on the topic.  Can't wait to read it.

Blogger Spotlights and Dad Voices.

A number of the guys at the conference are amazing writers, and the conference spotlights them through the Blogger Spotlights, and the unjuried Dad Voices.  These guys are funny

Here are some that I loved along with links when appropriate for you to read them.

I very much enjoyed David Stanley's sonnets for his dead dad.  There's something very powerful about the sonnet form, and David writes honestly and well and in mostly iambic pentameter about his dad.  It was beautiful, honest, and strong. I especially loved the sonnet about giving his dad his very last bath. Poignant is the word.  You can read his sonnets on his blog and below I videotaped one of them.

Jason Green read a hilarious blogpost about why he should be People's sexiest man of the year. What was great about it was that he put himself up against the guys who have won, and emphasized that being a good dad is what is sexy. Do you think that George Clooney has dishpan hands? Dishpan hands are sexy. It was really great and hilarious, and his delivery was great too! You can read his post here: 

Aaron Gouviea told the story about how his tweet rage against the kids who bullied his 6 year old for wearing fingernail polish had both negative and positive consequences, including being featured on a neo-Nazi website as cuck of the year (bad) , and getting on Good Morning America and a book deal writing about Toxic Masculinity. (good) I already knew the story and I was still tearing up.

Dad Voices

At the Dad Voices program, a late night uncensored daddy slam where guys put their names in a jar, and they are read out until everybody who wants to has had a chance to read, some amazing personal posts and some incredibly funny posts were read.

One guy (didn't catch his name) told a chilling story about how his family escaped a burning airplane in a hailstorm in Mexico, with tears streaming down his (and many audience members) eyes.

A new friend (and not a dad) Sally Spencer-Thomas, who is an expert on male suicide and prevention from Denver, told the chilling story of how she first heard about her own brother's suicide. Her website is

I read a piece I wrote about how I feel guilty about not going to Yom Kippur, but I had some synagogue-ish feelings while watching NYPD Blue.  (This was my first time reading, and I was worried people wouldn't like it, but I was wrong, people liked it!  #validation)

Shannon Carpenter wrote a hilarious piece that just appeared on fatherly about his son singing (and showing off) his penis song.

And so it goes:  I can't mention everybody whose work I loved.  (I'm looking at you Cort Ruddy, Victor Aragon, Andrew Knott, and probably 25 people more) There were dozens of great dads and writers sharing stuff, and this is probably my favorite part of the conference.  Meeting those guys, feeling a camaraderie with them, and getting inspired by them is probably my favorite takeaway from Dad 2.0.-- and what will keep me coming back.

Read previous takeaways from previous Dad 2 Summits.

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