No Love at 425* in new Papa Murphy’s ad

Since we haven’t had a TV in our house in nearly four years I don’t see many commercials. Yet, today I learned about the latest Papa Murphy’s ad from my SAHD brothers at the National At Home Dad Network who posted this on their Facebook page today.

Extremely disappointed in Papa Murphy’s for their new “Re-Bold Your Man” ad campaign, which so drastically misses what modern fatherhood is all about, and falls back on such ridiculous concepts of masculinity. Terrible on so many levels.

Playing with your kids and delighting in them doesn’t take away your manhood, it only strengthens it. And what partner wants their kids’ dad LESS engaged with them, and pines for a father more interested in sports than in fully engaging in play? It just makes no sense.

See the ad here, and let us know what you think: http://www.ispot.tv/ad/AL8x/papa-murphys-pizza-re-bold-your-man

DeBolded

I’ve watched the short commercial a few times and my first reaction was that it was cute to see the dad playing with his girls like that. If you’re a dad with daughters, chances are pretty good that at some point you’re going to find yourself getting the full-fairy treatment, much to the delight of your girls. I find the initial portrayal of the dad to be pretty positive, actually. Yet, according to the voice-over this dad is being “de-bolded”. I’m pretty sure that’s Papa Murphy’s euphemistic expression for something more graphic than I’m willing to put in my blog. The basic message to dads and moms is that such an actively engaged and loving father is not to be desired or upheld as the goal. Oh, no no no. You’re not a man if you’re actually enjoying spending time doing something that your daughters want to do. Nope. Instead, this dad needs to be saved from himself. His masculinity needs to be re-bolded by a bold Papa Murphy’s pizza and, of course, football. Seriously, Papa Murphy’s? I think you need a time-out to ponder the larger implications of this seemingly benign commercial.

Please don’t think for a minute that I’m offended by this. This is the type of ridiculousness that we face daily as men who choose care for our children as our full time career. Don’t call me Mr. Mom or Babysitter! I learned a long time ago that getting offended or butt-hurt by the ignorance of others does very little to actually create the positive changes which I desire to see. So, instead of getting angry, let me try to explain this in a way that even my five year old daughter could understand. It is my hope and prayer that my son, if he becomes a dad, and my five daughters, if they become moms, will each take delight in being a parent as much as I do in being their dad. I hope that they will not give in to the pressures of our society to assume certain gender roles. I hope that they will choose the career that is best for their individual situations.

Big Cheese Dad sporting a tutu

Big Cheese Dad sporting a tutu

Fifteen years ago, my wife and I decided that it would be best for me to be the primary caregiver as a SAHD while she pursued her advanced degree and established her career. While other men blazed the SAHD trail many years before me, I know that making such an unusual choice was one of the most BOLD things I have ever done. There is no shame in being an actively involved, loving and nurturing father. I love my job more and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I believe that the world needs more dads who are willing to play dress-up with their girls than those who are obsessed with the performance of their sports team. Modern fatherhood and masculinity are not bound by the stereotypes of old. We (ALL dads, not just SAHDs) are more engaged than ever in the lives of our children. Gone are the days of the bumbling and inept dad. We are boldly going where few dads have gone before!

Another beef that I have with this commercial is how it portrays the mom and daughters. First, the mom is in the kitchen. About the only thing missing was an apron. The 1950s are calling…they want their stereotype back! Second, this mom should be supporting and encouraging her husband for showing their daughters that he’s comfortable enough with his own masculinity to play dress-up and get his nails done. He shouldn’t have to be re-bolded because he’s actively engaged with his own children. Are you suggesting that my wife will be happier with me and think I’m more of a manly-man if I ignore my kids and choose instead to focus on sports and food? Clearly, I’ve been doing it all wrong! Third, why couldn’t the daughters be playing catch with their dad and mom, or helping to change the oil, or riding bikes, or anything but the stereotypical “girl” activity of playing dress-up? Please. These gender stereotypes are so lame. I want my children to be free to express themselves without the constraints of our messed up societal expectations for their gender roles. This goes for my girls as well as my boy. Finally, if you’re bent on portraying this stereotypical commercial, at least do it right. No mom is going to re-bold serve greasy pizza to “her man” on the sofa without a plate or napkin..and a BEER. And that white carpet is going to get ruined if the girls are painting his toes without a towel under his feet. I’m so disappointed with you, Papa Murphy’s; I know that you can do better.

In the end, I’m not looking for an apology from Papa Murphy’s. After all, I’m not the one that’s truly being hurt by this ill-conceived commercial. This is hurting all of our families by reinforcing outdated gender roles. I would love to work with the ad people at Papa Murphy’s to create something that truly promoted family values that didn’t lean so heavily on old gender stereotypes. Until such a replacement ad is launched, there will be no Love at 425*. Instead, it’s more like Feel the Burn at 425*.

Advertisements

Book Review and Giveaway: Dads Behaving Dadly 2

I’m pleased to announce that I was one of my blog entries was included as part of the book Dads Behaving Dadly 2: 72 more truths, tears and triumphs of modern fatherhood.

Tallest SAHD/blogger in America!

Tallest SAHD/blogger in America!

You might recall that last year I wrote about being included in the first Dadly book. Co-authors and fellow Stay At Home Dads Hogan Hilling and Al Watts enjoyed the book writing process so much that they did it again and were gracious enough to include my story among the 72 in this second book. Both of these books were written by dads about pretty much anything and everything that relates to being a father. I’ll give you fair warning, though. Have some tissues within reach because the stories these guys share can will evoke some pretty emotional responses. We all had different experiences with our own fathers, some good, some bad, but the submissions in both books will move you and motivate you to be a better dad (or mom, I guess). While this book can be read in short bursts, if you’re like me at all you’re going to have a hard time putting it down once you start. Right from the Introduction by Al Watts, the President of the National At Home Dad Network, you will be drawn in as he shares about what happened to his then 11 year old daughter on a horse trail ride at Yellowstone National Park. Then the 72 stories are divided into seven parts as follows.

  1. Our Fathers
  2. Becoming Dad
  3. Built Dad Tough
  4. Do It Yourself Dad
  5. Imperfect Hero
  6. The Good, The Dad and The Ugly
  7. Proud Dads

My submission was placed in the last section and it’s entitled Actions Speak Louder.

It’s an edited and expanded (hopefully even improved!) version of one of my blog posts from 2014 in which I shared about my oldest daughter who is talented singer and songwriter. The very condensed version is that she wrote a song, recorded it on her phone and sent it to me across the country since she moved almost 2,000 miles away after high school graduation. The song moved me to tears because it helped me to understand how my actions as a father had impacted my daughter a few years prior as well as at that moment. (I’m purposely not telling the full story here because I really want you to get the book for yourself.)

Look, do yourself, or any dad in your life, a favor and get this book. If you’re looking for a meaningful and motivational gift for Father’s Day this is a great book to get. If you didn’t get the first Dadly book then grab both of them. You can go to the DadsBehavingDadly website and buy the book(s) directly from Hogan and Al or through Amazon or Barnes & Noble. There is an e-book version available through both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The links are all on this page. If you buy directly from the Dadly website you’ll get $5 off the regular price of each individual book or even more savings if you buy both books at once.

GIVEAWAY: If you have read this far (THANKS!) then please leave a comment here on my blog page or my BigCheeseDad Facebook page to be entered to win a copy of this book. I will select one winner at random at 10 pm (Pacific time) on Father’s Day (June 21, 2015) to receive a signed copy of Dads Behaving Dadly 2.

Dad on Strike?

I was recently contacted by a representative of the Steve Harvey Show to see if I would be interested in appearing on his show.

Hi there! My name is Michelle and I work at Steve Harvey show. We are doing a segment called “Dad on Strike”. We are looking for stay at home Dads who feel that their family is taking them for granted and they want to go on strike! Do you know anyone who would be interested in coming on the show for this? Please feel free to contact me at xxx-xxx-xxxx  for more info. Thanks, Michelle

Huh? I thought Steve Harvey was a comedian and host of Family Feud. I didn’t even know that there was a Steve Harvey Show! So, I looked online and found a little more info about this topic. Below is a screen capture from his website.

a01e_steve_harvey_suit_separates_taupe_main__60388_zoom

Steve Harvey

Screen shot 2015-02-23 at 8.38.42 AM

Aha! That’s the hook. They’re looking for Stay At Home Dads who don’t feel appreciated who would be willing to go on strike and then talk about it on national television. My experience as a SAHD for 14 years has taught me many things, chief among them is the fact that a career as an at-home parent (dad or mom) is vastly under-appreciated by both our families and society in general. I think know that feeling needed and appreciated is a real need for all people, regardless of their chosen profession. images-3I also know that many people think that it’s enough to just do your job without anyone telling you “good job” or “thank you”. While it’s true that doing a good job is a reward in and of itself, knowing that others appreciate you for what you’re doing is important. I know that when I was teaching (my career before being a SAHD) I often heard from my students, their parents, other teachers or my supervising principal that I was doing a good job; that my students spoke very highly of me as their teacher. As a SAHD I rarely ever get that type of positive feedback about my “job performance”. In fact, the feedback that I often get from my kids is along the lines of whining or complaining. “Dad, I want you to get me this Barbie doll? PLEAAAASE?!” “Dad, why can’t I watch a movie? NOW!” “Why do we have to eat this for dinner? Can’t we just order pizza?” If you’re a parent you know what it sounds like. And you know that you never hear your kids say, “Thanks, Dad, for making me eat veggies so I don’t get backed up” or “Thanks, Dad, for loving me even when I was being a total turd.” or “I appreciate you, Dad.” Okay, maybe that last one a little bit on Father’s Day… You get the point, though.

So, yeah, getting that invite from the Steve Harvey Show to go on strike and then talk about it on national television…um, NO THANKS! What’s not to love about an offer to damage both my career and marriage in one fell swoop? To loosely quote former President George Bush, “Not gonna do it. It wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture.” The reality is that I wouldn’t go and rag on my family for not showing me enough appreciation. Could they show me more? Sure. But could I show them more appreciation as well? You bet! I’m trying to be the husband and father that my family needs me to be because it’s the right thing for my family. I don’t do it for any awards or recognition. A simple show of genuine appreciation such a kind word or hug is enough. I’m trying to teach my children how to be thankful for others and to remember to show them appreciation every day. I’m convicted and reminded that I need to be better in this area, particularly in modeling this attitude of appreciation toward my own wife and kids. Sometimes it’s easy to forget to recognize the positives when I’m in the middle of the daily grind of raising a large family. Always operating in the mindset of what needs to be done next. images-1Yet, I know that I’m certainly motivated by simple acts of gratitude and genuine appreciation. There have been a handful of times over the last few years as my children have grown up and matured that they’ve told me how thankful they are that I’m their father. Those precious conversations are the fuel for my daddying-soul. They encourage me to keep on doing my daddying to the best of my ability.

So, this SAHD is not going on strike. No job slowdown, either. I’m not looking for more drama or politics in my workplace (I tried to leave that behind when I “retired” from teaching in 2002, at age 29). If the Steve Harvey Show or any other media would like to interview some pretty awesome dads I’d be more than happy to not only be interviewed but also to hook them up with some of the hundreds of amazing dads, both SAHDs and non-SAHDs, who are doing a great job changing the face of modern fatherhood.

I would like to challenge you, my readers, to take a moment each day to tell at least one person how much you appreciate him or her. Let me know if it makes a difference to the other person…or you!

images-5

Dalai Lama

images-6

Hogan’s Heroes: ALL DADS

In October of 2013 I was fortunate enough to go to Denver for the 18th Annual Convention of the National At Home Dad Network. As a newbie I went there not knowing a single person in attendance or even what to expect from the two days there. I had an incredible time networking with about 75 other Stay At Home Dads from around the United States, learning, among other things, that I was not alone in my career. The first evening there a group of us went out for dinner at a local establishment. I happened to sit next to a guy named Hogan Hilling. I learned over the course of the next few hours about Hogan’s long career as a SAHD for his three children, who are now college aged and beyond. He’s also an author of a handful of books and a motivational speaker. We kept in touch over the ensuing year as Hogan and NAHDN President Al Watts co-authored a book entitled Dads Behaving Dadly: 67 Truths, Tears and Triumphs of Modern Fatherhood, which was published last June. It’s a collection of 67 stories submitted by dads from around the world. I was fortunate enough for one of my submissions to be accepted for the final cut. A second edition is being readied for publication this coming June. At the most recent convention last September I was able to spend more time with Hogan and my fellow SAHD brothers, including a book signing with several of the contributors who were also present.

It should be pretty obvious that Hogan is passionate about fathers and the significant role they play. As such, Hogan is trying to raise funds for a “Dads Behaving Dadly Convention” in Los Angeles (and other cities if there’s enough interest). He asked me to share the following letter from him with my blog audience. Please take a few moments to learn about his project and consider getting involved.

Hello,
I have lived with the stigma about how men don’t ask for help and the running joke about why men won’t ask for directions. Fatherhood is no laughing matter and a huge responsibility. No man should and cannot do it alone. And the best resource dads have is other dads.
As the author of Dads Behaving Dadly: 67 Truths, Tears and Triumphs of Modern Fatherhoodwww.dadsbehavingdadly.com, I am asking for help to provide an event that will give dads an opportunity to network with each other in a face-to-face setting. The Dads Behaving Dadly Convention is for All Dads. Dads with different family dynamics, income levels, religions and ethnic backgrounds ……..working, at-home, divorced, single and step dads and dads of children with special needs…….Fatherhood issues don’t discriminate.
Please visit and read the information about my Dadly Convention Campaign at http://www.gofundme.com/ktlyzw. If you like the presentation, please make a donation. No amount is too small. With the success of the LA and Orange County Dadly Conventions I plan to expand to other cities in the USA and Canada.
Bill Carroll, KFI 640 Radio Personality, who interviewed me on his show last Thursday agreed to be a guest speaker for the LA Dadly Convention. I need funds to make it happen.
Keep On Daddying,
Hogan Hilling
“Hogan, America should take lessons from you.” – Oprah Winfrey
 
Author, Speaker & Life Coach
Twitter @TheDadGuru

Dads Behaving Dadly

At the National At Home Dad Network Convention in Denver last year I met many fellow Stay At Home Dads from around the country. Two of the guys that I met, Al Watts and Hogan Hilling, shared their dream about a book they were writing together. They were soliciting submissions from dads who were willing to share stories about being dads. At that time I hadn’t really written very much since my college days. I hadn’t even started my blog yet and, to be completely honest, wasn’t sure if I had anything to offer them. Well, I started my blog a few weeks later and realized how much I enjoyed writing about my life as a SAHD of six kids. Then, shortly after the calendar flipped to 2014 I received an email from Hogan asking if I’d consider submitting something to their book project. I still didn’t know what to do as I didn’t think my writing was really worthy of consideration. After a few months of mulling his offer over I got over my own insecurities and emailed him my blog post from February, entitled Bad Dad: Seeking Forgiveness. Amazingly, I received word that they liked it enough to include an edited form of it in their book. I was going to be a published (contributing) author! Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would ever happen. Yet, they sent word that the book was going to be released in June.

Dad book cover

Dads Behaving Dadly: 67 Truths, Tears and Triumphs of Modern Fatherhood is a collection of stories from dads around the world. But they’re more than just stories. They collectively show how modern dads are dealing with every day life in a more hands-on manner than ever before. Gone are the days where dads went off to work and returned home to read the paper while having a mixed drink before dinner was ready. This isn’t your grandfather’s book. From the very first entry clear through to the last one I was moved by the honesty and raw emotions in this book. Be warned. Have a box of tissues nearby. This isn’t a collection of feel-good stories that paint an unattainable picture of the perfect father. These 67 stories run the gamut of real-life experiences: the joy of birth and the agony of miscarriage; depression; divorce and blended families; parenting wins and parenting fails. The book stands on its own as a great representation of what it means to be a father in the 21st Century. As I read this book I was amazed by the many great things my peers are doing in their families and was inspired to be a better husband and father as a result. This is not a book just about SAHDs. Many of the men who contributed to the book work outside of the house. The common thread we all share is being a dad. While I’m proud of the overall book I’m humbled and honored to be a small part of it as a contributing author. It’s truly a dream come true to see my name in print.

book page

I bought several copies when Dads Behaving Dadly was released earlier this year and have been giving them away as gifts to family and friends. If you’re looking for a gift for any dad (or dad-to-be) this would be a fantastic idea. It’s available on Amazon (click here to order) for $17.28. (Free shipping if you have Prime membership.) This past weekend the New York Times published a wonderful article about the brotherhood of the Stay At Home Dad. Their reporter/photographer was at the convention in Denver this September to interview several of the conference attendees and book contributors while we had a book signing. The photo below appeared in the NYTimes and showed me signing the book. I was in the New York Times! How cool is that?

That's my bald dome in the lower right signing the book.

That’s my bald dome in the lower left signing the book. Hogan is in the middle and Al is next to him.

With Hogan at the book signing.

With Hogan at the book signing.

I'm honored to call these guys friends. They're also SAHDs and contributing authors to the book.

I’m honored to call these guys friends. They’re also SAHDs and contributing authors to the book.

Since I have enjoyed this book so much I want to give you, my readers, a chance to win your own autographed (yeah, I’ll sign it!) copy of this book. Simply enter through this Rafflecopter giveaway. Contest ends at midnight on December 1, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Please share this post with anyone you know who would benefit from and be inspired by a fantastic book about modern fatherhood.

++++++++++

Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated by Hogan or Al in any way for this post. The views represented are 100% mine.

Sometimes You Need A Jellyfish

I’ve been a parent for almost twenty years and have read hundreds, if not thousands, of books to my six children over those years. My wife and I have placed a high value on reading to our children so that they can not only learn how to read but also to love to read. Our personal “library” of children’s books is large and includes classics like Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Gorilla, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, Dr. Seuss, and many others. As a Stay At Home Dad I make it a priority to bring my kids to the library so that they can choose books for themselves. It helps to give them ownership and builds excitement and anticipation for when we return home and snuggle up on the sofa to read together. We can travel to many wonderful and exciting places through the pictures and words in those books. There’s nothing quite as sweet as the feeling of your children nestled into your lap, heads resting against your chest as they contentedly connect with the book.

Despite all of these lovely sentiments and feelings surrounding reading to my children I have one major issue. Some of the books that we own or check out from the library are really poorly written and/or illustrated. I’ll admit that my formal education is not in Art or Literature or Writing. The extent of my education in those areas came from a few School of Education courses while I was in college. I guess my “qualification” to write a book review comes from a limited formal background combined with pretty extensive field (or couch) experience as a parent. Like most parents, if the book I’m reading to my kids is hard to follow or uninteresting for the kids it’s going to be even harder to read with much feeling or interest on my part. (Yeah, I’m talking to you, Barbie and Clifford books.)

What if I told you that there’s an opportunity for you to get your hands on a fantastic new book that’s not even yet published? Would you consider supporting such a venture? It just so happens that my friend and fellow SAHD, Christopher Routly, is back at it again with another book. Last year I met him at the National At Home Dad Network annual convention in Denver, Colorado and I was thrilled to win a paperback copy of one of his children’s books, The Animalphabet, which he authored and illustrated for his own two boys back in 2012. I liked his colorful and vibrant illustrations and, upon bringing the book home, my kids agreed. Well, this time around, in his yet-unpublished book, Sometimes You Need A Jellyfish, Chris has taken a simple and slightly silly sounding statement from one of his kids and created a picture book that tells the story of two brothers who are packing for a trip. One of them packs a jellyfish and the story goes from there. Chris was kind enough to send me a link to a digital copy of his book and a few things about it caught my eye. First, his illustrations are engaging, colorful and simple. The text flows nicely between the brothers while sneakily introducing new vocabulary to the unsuspecting reader. Do you know the proper term for a group of jellyfish? I didn’t. But it’s in the book. (Bloom, in case you’re wondering.) Sometimes You Need A Jellyfish is also uses humor to draw in the reader. I showed the book to both my four year old daughter and ten year old son and they both loved it. When asked why he liked it so much, my son said “I think it’s pretty cool that he wrote a story about what his son said. And I liked the part about having a jellyfish clean up your messy room. That would be fun.” My four year old mostly laughed and giggled and said that it was silly…before requesting to read it again. It’s one of those books that I would enjoy reading right along with my kids. Even multiple times in a row!

Jellyfish

What’s especially cool about Chris’s book is that it’s not even published yet. It’s pretty much ready to go to the publisher but there’s one catch. Money. (It’s always that, isn’t it?) This time around Chris wants to raise $10,000 to properly launch his book. He actually made a short video about his book and related fundraising campaign. Please take a moment to watch it. He explains it far better than me. Plus, there’s some nice music in the background of the video clip to cheer you up. Interestingly enough, after reading the book and watching the short video my son asked if he could donate to Chris’s book campaign from the money that he’s saved from allowances and doing extra chores. I’m also making a contribution. But, here’s the deal. It’s not like you’re just giving Chris your money and you get nothing for it. There are rewards for making a contribution. In essence, you’re pre-ordering the book since most of the rewards include getting a signed hard-cover copy of the book. It’s not often that one gets a chance to help “kickstart” a project like this. Please, check out Chris’s video about his book or his blog, which is Daddy Doctrines, for more information.

Finally, don’t just take my word about this book. Check out a review from another friend named Chris, who is also a SAHD and blogger at DadNCharge, living in Philadelphia, PA. Neither one of us was compensated in any way (now or in the future) for our reviews. We’re simply passing along an opportunity to help launch a wonderful children’s book while simultaneously encouraging Christopher Routly to keep on pursing his passion for writing and illustrating children’s books.

The Brotherhood of the NAHDN Convention

1450101_10203643257261110_5096600025909431821_n

10330285_10152721158349834_5866433955179968923_n
I’m currently in Denver, Colorado, attending the 19th annual convention of the National At-Home Dad Network. This is my second convention, having attended my first one last year, also in Denver. While my experience last year was incredible in and of itself, attending this year as a returning member has taken it to another level. I looked forward to attending again this year because of the Stay At Home Dads that I met last year who became my friends at the convention. Unlike summer camp experiences I had as a kid where you’re buddies for that week but that’s it, there’s been a kinship building that extended throughout the year. There’s a private SAHD-only online group that exploded in membership over the last year that allowed us to continue to build our friendships that started in Denver in 2013. It also afforded me the opportunity to virtually meet other SAHDs and encourage them to attend the convention this year. That online group deals with some pretty heavy topics (shockingly, most are NOT sports related) that are important to dads in a safe and supportive environment. Guys have shared about marital troubles and successes, births of children and loss of parents or other loved ones, cancer diagnosis and treatments, school issues and child-rearing challenges. While that online support is nice, what really is important is making the personal, face-to-face, in-person connections. And that, in a nutshell, is what this convention is all about. This is a brotherhood of such intimacy and transparency. My only regret is not knowing about the NAHDN convention for the first 12 years of my SAHD career.

The cynic might suggest that this so-called convention is just an excuse for dads to drink beer, play golf, take in a baseball game, go out for dinner (without kids!) and drink beer. While all of those things have happened these last few days they all lead to what keeps guys coming back. The brotherhood of this group is the real thing. Last year I came to Denver not knowing a single guy here. I left with a few new friends. This year, almost every single guy greeted me with a hug. Not one of those lame “man” hugs. A real, genuine, bear hug that expresses the emotion of the bond of this group. And it’s not at all weird. At least not for us. Last night after the opening afternoon session closed and our Dove Men+Care sponsored meet and greet finished we headed out in smaller groups to local restaurants for dinner. Some guys continued on to local establishments while others returned to the hotel to get some sleep. I was in the latter group, looking to take a shower and get some extra shut-eye…or so I thought. Instead, upon entering the hotel lobby, I noticed an empty spot on the sofa among a group of guys that I hadn’t had the opportunity to catch up with in person. Our conversation lasted for over two and a half hours. And I don’t think we talked sports at all. We talked about marriages. Children. Challenges. Success. Failures. Real stuff. We listened. We shared. We supported. We cared. As we parted ways at almost 1:30 am I realized that this, THIS, was exactly why I needed to be here again. This group of guys gets me like no one else on this earth. We all face the same challenges and the fact that we can share the burdens of one another while celebrating the successes together encourages me that I’m normal. I’m not alone. And that it’s all worth it.

I woke up Saturday morning ready to write this blog post about the brotherhood while kind of listening to the keynote speaker. I got as far as the title before I realized the mistake I would be making if I ignored Barbara Colorosso’s presentation entitled “Kids Are Worth It“. She’s an author of five books and speaks around the world about parenting, teaching and social-justice issues, drawing on her own experiences as a parent, classroom teacher and university instructor. She skillfully drew us all in with her rapidly-paced (she’s an incredibly fast talker) presentation that included a lot of audience participation. We enjoyed her humor and style of delivery and her message. But it got really intense in a very good way when one of the guys, Lorne, had the courage to reveal that he suffers from clinical depression. While Lorne is an amazing blogger, he is a first time attendee and doesn’t know that many of the 106 guys in the room, yet he bared his soul for us. He made himself vulnerable because he knew the strength and support of our brotherhood. I think most of us were brought to tears not only by his courage and candor but also by the response of other guys in the room. No less than six other guys spoke up to say that they, too, face that same challenge. They told him that he’s is NOT alone. Not a single person judged him. It is these types of real moments that make this convention truly special.

While having fun is an important part of this weekend away from our families it is more an opportunity to strengthen the bond of the brotherhood of this remarkable group of guys. I’m a better husband, dad and man for knowing them. And for that I am truly grateful. Thank you, gentlemen, for allowing me the privilege of calling you brothers.