The Comfort of Discomfort

Doug French2019 Dad 2.0 Summit

Each year, our conference program opens with a brief letter about a theme that inspires much of the programming. In 2019, that theme was “The Comfort of Discomfort,” in order to recognize the modern stresses that fathers face and lay out strategies to confront them. The text is reprinted here, with hyperlinks!

If you’re comfortable right now, you can go ahead and stop reading. Flip ahead to the site map, browse the breakout descriptions, or skip all the way to the Acknowledgments page at the very back. If, however, you’re not feeling as comfortable as you might like, rejoice. Because the names on that Acknowledgments page wouldn’t be there if everything was moving along swimmingly.

In fact, the Dad 2.0 Summit exists today because enough people were uncomfortable with how dads were perceived in the modern family and felt empowered to do something about it. We’ve made a lot of progress in eight years, but guess what? There’s still plenty out in the world to keep you squirming in your chair. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, describes the current state of the Internet as “anti-human.” Truth is relative and manipulatable, bots are legion, and masculinity is often described as toxic. It’s a weird and challenging time to be us.

But we’re not cowed by low points, given the growth opportunities they represent. A stock gets pummeled, you can buy low. The Bulls draft Michael Jordan in 1984 after a 27–55 record in 1983. A woman loses the Presidency, and a record number from both parties are elected to Congress.

As long as we nurture our community and its myriad platforms, we have the power to use them to set an example, for our readers and our children. We can work to reinstate social media’s covenant of trust, and to embrace feminism as a harbinger of equality. We can treat our headwinds as opportunities to take risks we wouldn’t normally take and do things we didn’t think we were capable of.

We’ll always get the good work done as long as there is more work to do.

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Photo by Cindy Tang on Unsplash