In keeping with our new editorial direction, this is the first installment of Words on Wednesday, where we invite dads to write about something topical, interesting, or craw-invasive. This feature has a unique position, nestled midweek between our more news-driven entries on Monday and Friday, because it’s a chance for dads to discuss how this news affects us, and our roles as writers, parents, and men.
The inspiration rests firmly with Nathan Thornburgh, chief editor and publisher of the superlative Roads and Kingdoms, co-founder of DadWagon, and author of “The Detached Dad’s Manifesto” for Time magazine. This article hit newsstands in May 2012, some two months after the first Dad 2.0 Summit wrapped, and for me, the issue neatly summarized much of modern media’s ills.
The cover story was a straightforward, well-researched piece about Dr. William Sears and the roots of attachment parenting, but its lead-in was the provocative headline “ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH?” (and the even more provocative visual of the young, skinny, unsmilingly defiant mom breastfeeding her three-year-old).
Meanwhile, Nathan wrote that even though dads can never truly empathize with the experience of childbirth, we can use our relative physical “detachment” as a vital counterbalance to keep attachment from becoming over-attachment. The call for dads to assert our parenting opinions provoked far more radical thought, but it was all lost in the incendiary needs of a heat-seeking publisher.
We don’t want to be that, and we find ourselves in the position that we don’t have to be.
Word is getting around that dads’ opinions matter. David Vienna’s CTFD piece resulted in a book deal. Chris Bernholdt’s call to banish playdates landed him on every TV show there is. And Josh Levs’s legal challenge to Time Warner (which has since announced a substantial, positive change to its paid parental leave policy) is national news. We want to help showcase all of that and more, without flashy banner ads, or slide shows, or interstitial links to related stories, or other annoying distractions. And you won’t see EVISCERATE in a headline, unless it relates to a specific instance of disembowelment.
For newer writers, it’s a chance to find a bigger audience and introduce yourself to the community. For the more established, it’s a chance to try something that might not be a good editorial fit for your blog. And for anyone, it’s a paid writing gig that lets the writer focus solely on an issue he finds important, without regard or worry that the writing will be salaciously manipulated to boost readership.
I’m excited about where dads are right now. And I can’t wait to see where the trajectory takes us.