Risks Are Vital. Except When They’re Too Risky.

Doug FrenchFatherhood on Friday

Every dad needs to teach his kids how to calculate risk, especially now that we know paving your child’s way through a risk-free life makes an adult who can’t manage danger. Whenever you can, get your kid onto a pair of skis. Encourage them to navigate ropes or climb trees. And show them that it’s OK to take a leap off the high dive and equally OK to make sure there’s water in the pool.

When Tom Brady jumped off a cliff with his six-year-old daughter, we had his back. We’re big fans of unsupervised exploration, something we’ll push for aggressively when the pandemic finally recedes and avenues are reopened. And there’s no better summation of how a dad can facilitate risk management than The Detached Dad’s Manifesto, penned right after the first Dad 2.0 Summit in 2012.

We’re bringing this up now because risk was in the news a lot this week. Amid the passionate debates over whether children should return to in-person instruction and whether college athletes should play football, proponents of both say life is never 100% safe, and kids and young adults should get used to navigating risk and distinguishing it from real danger.

But the important distinction to us is individual risk vs. collective risk. And as epidemiologists have told us time after time, the risks borne by these students and athletes are likely to ripple outward toward teachers, administrators, coaches, and families. It’s one thing to jump out of an airplane on your own, but it’s completely another to force everyone to jump with you, knowing that 4% of the parachutes are defective.

As risk-loving as we are, we’re with the more cautious scientists on this one (see Sanjay Gupta, below). We know there’s water down there, but we’re not jumping until enough respected epidemiologists tell us it’s deep enough.


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We’ve also added tabs for the conference schedule and some FAQs to the site. So if you’re looking for some more information before you buy your ticket, have a look.

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In order to narrow the wage gap, the Australian scheme for paid leave needs to be reformed so that parents have more flexibility to share it.

An uncanny story about a dad who summoned his family together right before Tropical Storm Isaias sent a tree through his house

At an early age, a boy can and should start thinking of the kind of father he wants to be, based on the many father figures in his life.

A dad who became very sick from COVID after his son went to a party was finally released from the hospital after two months in the ICU.

On the Tonight Show, Joseph Gordon-Levitt says he saw Jimmy Fallon in “that documentary about dads that Bryce Dallas Howard made” and started crying. 

One of the great reasons to wear a mask: When you return military duty, you can dress as the pizza delivery guy and surprise your kids.

After his dad died of cancer, Little Leaguer Joe Fischer turned to baseball and his teammates for support.

A Baton Rouge dad hatched a brilliant plan that helps give kids the structure and socialization of school, gets them out of the house, and keeps them safe and separated.

Important, useful tips for keeping up a good relationship with your moody quaranteenager.


“Sunlight, and the semi-abrasive texture of the five boys’ personalities at 7 in the morning, scrub away the shadowy memory of the overnight attack.” — Caleb Harris, The Case of the Midnight Explosion

“At the end of the day, he clacked home with five bent, mangled shanks/forks. He claimed victory.” — Mark Kihn, Necessity and Dad — Both Fathers of Inventions

“As I was pregnant for zero weeks, Leah heartily agreed that a doctor should scalpel around in my balls so that she didn’t become pregnant again – by me, anyway.” — Rob Delaney, “Could I feel what they were doing? Yes”

“I decided twenty minutes wasn’t quite enough and held off for another five minutes. It was a sadistic experiment after all.” — Mark Fielding, The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment Challenge: Temptation And Executive Function

“As I see it, we have two responsibilities to teach our children. The first is how to disconnect.” — Chad Bonaker, A Parenting Blog – A Long Break


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Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash