Best of the 2010s: The DadLife Decade
Fatherhood on Friday: Fatherhood broke out in the twenty-teens, in terms of its visibility to other dads and its healthful effects on our families and our culture.
And fathers spending time with their children results in “a better, healthier, more educated, more stable, less criminal world.”
This was the decade when we started studying fatherhood in earnest, and each finding was more astonishing than the last. Children in fatherless homes are much more likely to live in poverty, abuse drugs and alcohol, drop out of high school, break the law, get pregnant, and commit suicide. The lamentable list goes on and on, and it has inspired author and Dad 2.015 speaker Stephen Marche to conclude that having a father in your life is a public good.
It’s important to mention that none of these studies required that fathers possess a particular set of skills. The emphasis is on presence, putting in the work, and figuring it all out one day at a time, like everyone else. And for a comprehensive catalog of fatherhood in progress, you can check out the hundreds of millions of Instagram photos tagged with #dadlife, #dadgoals, #proudpapa, and countless others.
Fatherhood grew up with the written word (see our favorite blog posts of the decade below), but now that Instagram has blown up to over a billion users (it’s three times the size of Twitter, with a younger and broader base of active users), images of fatherhood — the ups, the downs, the celebrities, the dopey memes — are more visible as ever. They’re all imparting an intangible influence over new dads, who are adopting fatherhood as a cornerstone of their masculinity.
This, we believe, is the true nature of dadfluence, another of this decade’s innovations. When guys like Gibberish Dad, Cheer Dad, and BBC Dad go viral, it’s because their content showcases fatherhood in all its weird, wonderful spontaneity. And when brands partner with fathers, they’re doing a lot more than merely marketing products to consumers. They’re marketing fatherhood to a culture that loves family stories and is only just starting to realize how important engaged dads are to creating a more empathetic, equitable society.
Delusions of grandeur? Possibly. But if you’ve decided to be the change you want to see, why not aim big?
20 FOR ‘20
In association with 2019’s finest, here are some of our favorite blog posts of the decade, some of which even predate our organization. These 20 guys are a mere microcosm of the community of dad bloggers who helped make the #DadLife Decade happen. (And for those of you who assert this decade doesn’t end until next year, we appreciate your concerns, however inconsequential they may be.)
- “Indeed, she’s the perfect role model for little boys, and a whole bunch of supposedly grown-ass men as well.” — Mike Adamick, Rey is not a Role Model for Little Girls 
- “History can be a fickle dance partner who can flirt with you, stroke your ego, and shame you in the course of the same song.” — Creed Anthony, A Legacy of Resilience 
- “As a parent, you know that there are going to be days that just pull the carpet out from under your feet, but the thing you do not know is when that day is going to happen and how you are going to react.” — Victor Aragon, I Have Never Felt So Helpless in all My Life 
- “The main thing you need to know right now — to combat the weight of expectation and endless talk of the limitless potential trapped inside each of you — is that it is okay to never be the amazing person you could have been.” — Jeff Bogle, Dear Kids, You Cannot Be Anything You Want 
- “Now she can grasp my hand with hers, her sweaty little octopus hand, and every time she does, my heart swells a little. Because she is choosing me.” — Neal Call, On Holding Hands (A Meditation On Being A Father 
- “The voices that have affected me the most aren’t the angry ones, or the historical ones, or the legal or political ones. The most affecting voices have been the ones that see their own children in Trayvon.” — Chris Fan, That’s Someone’s Child 
- “Without me there are all sorts of wonderful truths she’s yet to discover. And as magical as I’ve tried to make her childhood, I know it can’t go on like this forever.” — Jim Griffioen, Letting Go 
- “In some ways, we are even closer now, my mother and I, because death has granted her access that life would never have allowed. All thoughts lead to her, at all times, even when I am far away and do not want for company.” — Whit Honea, The Other Side of Broken 
- “I’m staking my claim and realizing it shouldn’t matter if my friend got me into something. Nothing changes the fact that the leaves of autumn are beautiful.” — Lorne Jaffe, Do I Really Like What I Like? 
- “My daughter has taught me that I’m not always quite as good a person as I like to think I am but, at the same time, I’m nowhere near as bad a person as I sometimes think I am.” — Pierre Kim, What I’ve Learned: The Parenting Edition 
- “I’m really going to miss this when they get older. All of this. The rides in the car. Listening in on the ease of their conversation. The wonder. The uninhibited joy.” — Andrew Knott, We’re Running Out Of Time 
- “Watching two guys kick and punch each other to a bloody pulp in a ring was ‘soooo boring, Dad!’ And when I say that those words broke my heart, I’m not kidding.” — Jim Lin, Nature Pwns Nurture 
- “It was only on the drive back that I realized I had been experiencing the biggest tragedy of human existence: I was having the time of my life, and I didn’t even know it.” — Oren Miller, Cancer 
- “Raise her hand in class, and don’t fear an incorrect answer. Step up and take the last minute shot or penalty kick, or swing away in the bottom of the ninth.” — Christopher Persley, 3 Life Lessons From An Imperfect Dad 
- “I’m an author, a proud dad, a keynote speaker, a brand ambassador, etc., but above all of that, I’m a Black man.” — Doyin Richards, 5 Attempts to Keep Black America in Check That Fail Miserably 
- “When our firstborn was still being carried around in a car seat, we realized gender is one of the first things strangers ask about a baby before they dare say something about the child.” — Robbie Samuels, “Oh, He’s A Girl.” Talking To Kids About Gender Experience, Identity 
- “The nurse sucked the last of his water world out of him. And then the cry, a goodbye to that wet planet.” — Ira Sukrungruang, Up and Under: On Water, Fatherhood, and the Perils of Both 
- “One of the last people I came out to was my 10-year-old daughter. Strange that the final person to hear the news was one of the people who needed to know the most.” — Seth Taylor, And Then We Had Hamburgers 
- “Dutiful controlling parent that I am, it’s actually tempting sometimes to say something: “seeing as we are all waiting together for this light to change, could you at least not shout motherfucker?” — Nathan Thornburgh, NYC Blue 
- “I’m terrified to tell them that I’ve been in prison. That I was arrested and spent nearly a year of my life as an inmate.” — Doug Zeigler, The Shame I Harbor 
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Originally published at https://dad2.com on December 27, 2019.