2019 In Review: It’s All Gonna Be OK

Doug FrenchFatherhood on Friday

2019 Review

You know what was weird about 2019? After 180 years, the meaning of “OK” changed from “I agree” to “Whatever. Go away now.” If up is down, facts are opinions, and OK is not OK, what chance do we have?

If you’re looking for an inspirational read to help process that thought, take a moment to re-read this post from Caleb Gardner, who wants to be a constructive social media citizen as an example for his kids. This was one of the first Porchlight Posts of 2019, and it might just become a classic thing to greet every new year for a lot of new years to come.

Three major themes, the first of which was The Comfort of Discomfort, or how true change happens when a critical mass of people feels disrupted enough to make it happen. That’s the story with paid leave, as enough parents who’ve been beaten down by the “flexibility stigma” are working harder than ever to get rid of it. (Look for two panels about that at Dad 2.020, as we confront both the legislative and cultural impediments to making federally mandated paid family leave a much-needed reality.)

A second theme was a fundamental conundrum we parents face: We know the world eyes our children with bad intent, but we still have to encourage them to take flying leaps, to detach our attachment parenting, to help them use adversity to their advantage, and to show them that coping with disaster “builds character,” so that one day we’ll be out of a job.

And third, the fastest way to gender equality is shared parenting, which starts even before you’ve conceived. Unpaid care is a priceless family asset, and if you take women seriously when they take care of business, you have to take men seriously when they take care of kids.

We’ve got a new brand for a new decade, there’s still a ton of work to do, and more allies emerge every day to help do it.

OK, 2020. Bring it.


Ultimately, as work/life balance becomes a more elusive need, dads will change jobs to get it. One-third of dads said they had changed jobs since becoming a father, and another third are actively looking.

The New York Giants‘s “Raising Little Giants” program focuses on the many NFL players who are young fathers trying to do the best they can for their families.

After years of difficulty choosing Christmas gifts for her dad, Emilia Clarke realized that the thing that made him giddy with joy was “the gift of us.”

After reading this piece about “helicopter” and “bulldozer” parenting, our main takeaway is that it’s never good when your parenting style is named after heavy equipment.

One of our favorite subreddits is r/daddit, for posts like this one: “I love him more than yesterday, but less than tomorrow. Everyday I experience a moment that I’ll treasure forever.”

Nearly 48% of dads in accounting requested for a change in their working hours because of work-life issues, but only 56% of those requests were approved.

At the packed All Pro Dad luncheon in Tuscumbia, Alabama, chef Darnell Ferguson urged dads to use their talents, and to give them away in service to others.

From Derek Markham at The Good Men Project: An incomplete list of ways to be a great father. How many can you add?

Food for thought for Star Wars fans: Would Anakin and Kylo be unbridled balls of hatred if their dads were around?


“Having a trans parent is not always easy for my kid, but she celebrates the difference anyway.” – Casey Brown, I’m a Transgender Parent in Trump’s America. This is What It’s Like

“Apologizing when you are wrong doesn’t make you weak or soft. It makes you human.” – Vernon D. Gibbs II, Apology Holds Power to be Greatest Gift to Our Children, Society

“Despite the many moves and lonely days of my younger years, I had always thought that my childhood was fundamentally a good one. ” – Steven Higashide, I Used This Map to Find a Happy Childhood 

“We hear about hormones a lot when we talk about birthing mothers, but new fathers experience huge internal shifts of their own.” – Aubrey Hirsch, The Weather

“You will likely come to reevaluate your relationship with your own dad, so if there’s anything that needs to be said there, be it warm and loving or tough but true, say it now.” — Steven John, How To Prepare For Fatherhood

“Parenting is full of such challenging conversations that you don’t want to have, you wish you didn’t have to have, and you didn’t know how you could ever have — but they’re conversations you ultimately find a way through.” – Mike Julianelle, Explaining Multiple Sclerosis to My Kids

“We talked for a long time. We were more alike than we were different. At our core was a fear of not being seen. On the surface was nervous authenticity.” – Amber Leventry, Why I Was Afraid Of This Man — Until I Talked To Him

“It was in that moment that I came to terms with being astoundingly wrong on both counts.” – Roberto Santiago, I Was a 20-Year-Old Republican (An Immigration Post)

“Stepfathering is a task at which I fail every single week, one way or another.” – Jeremy Adam Smith, What Being a Stepfather Taught Me About Love

“In his last days, I helped my father bathe. It was remarkably intimate.” – David Stanley, Sonnet For My Father

“Already deep in the pipeline by Apollo 11, it would join the moon mission for Apollo 15. I like to think its design was informed in part by my father’s experience retooling our station wagon.” – David A. Taylor, From the Family Station Wagon to the Apollo Lunar Rover, My Dad’s Engineering Talent Had No Limits

“I don’t want my daughter to make the same mistake in waiting so long, and I want her to grow up to appreciate all her culture has to offer as possible.” – Ingus W., The Rise of Asian Role Models (And What It Means For My Daughter)

“I am not going to defend my father’s actions, but it’s like the saying goes: everybody loves you when you’re dead.” – James Webster, The Places Your Body Is Not



Do you receive the Dad 2.0 Summit Newsletter? You should! In it we share all kinds of information and news about the Dad 2.0 Summit. Add it to your inbox! It’s the perfect way to start planning for our ninth summit, coming to Washington D.C. in 2020.

Share your fatherhood news and/or stories with us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Medium using the #FoF hashtag!

Illustration by Whit Honea