A Kick-Ass Dad Conference and Why You Should Go

Courtesy partnershipfordads.orgYou want to be a better coach? Go to a coaching clinic. You want to be a better teacher? Sign up for some P D. You’re a radiologist and want to learn a new diagnostic technique? You find a medical conference.

Since this is Dads Roundtable, and we all want to be better dads, you should attend a dad conference.

On Saturday, February 8th, I attended the Michigan Partnership for Dads 14th annual conference in Waterford, MI. In the past, the late author Jeffrey Zaslow (author of Randy Pausch’s book The Last Lecture) spoke at this conference. This year, in honor of the theme “Leaving Your Legacy as a Father,” Zaslow’s daughter Alexandra delivered a sensitive and candid keynote about the legacy her father created for her and her sisters. Following Alex’s address, we were all deeply moved by a tribute to Partnership’s founding father, the late Tom Fitzpatrick, delivered by Fitzpatrick’s adult daughter.

For the rest of the day, we focused on building our dad-skills. Attendees chose four workshops from amongst the fifteen on offer. Topics ranged from Co-parenting Without Conflict, Cultivating Honesty and Integrity, to The 411 on Talking to Your Kids About Sex. I left the Partnership for Dads.org conference energized, enlightened, and with a greater sense of shared purpose. A solid use of forty bucks, I also swapped business cards with a bunch of great people.

Herewith, the top three reasons why you should attend your local dads conference.

3) Get some skills.

Attend the workshops that will put more tools in your dad toolbox. I chose to focus on daughter issues. With no girls to raise, I need information on how to help my sons learn to parent their daughters. At the Partnership for Dad’s conference, I picked up several key ideas about coping with daughters.

Workshops will give you the opportunity to swap stories. You will hear what other dads have faced and how they handled situations that you have also faced. Our most important job in life, parenting; the only one where there are no classes, no manual, no curriculum, yet there are tests every day.

  • Get to a Dad conference. Learn some useful stuff.

2) Connect with other Dads.

Whether you are a stay-at-home-Dad or a guy trying to balance your family-work commitments, sometimes you feel like you are the only Dad out there who wants to be a regular guy, a good husband and provider, plus the best father possible. I promise you, attend a dad conference and you will be in the midst of a several hundred men, all of whom are doing a juggling act which rivals this plate spinning guy on the Ed Sullivan Show. Watch the clip? Feels familiar, doesn’t it?

  • Get to a Dad conference. Connect.

1)     Dads matter.

The fight to show the world that Dads matter is in its infancy. Your attendance at a Dad conference shows the world that Dads matter.

“No, I’m not babysitting. These are my children.”

“I do the grocery shopping, and yes, the men’s washroom needs a changing table.”

“I will not work late tonight. I need to get my son to the pediatrician for a check-up and my daughter has a gymnastics meet.”

Just as working women fought against a glass ceiling as they rose through the corporate ranks, men need to bust out of the breadbox that says “I am just a breadwinner.”  When 20 Dads complained that it wasn’t just ‘choosy Moms who chose Jif,” nothing happened. But when thousands of male voices said, “I buy the peanut butter in my family,” the tagline became Choosy Moms (and Dads) choose Jif.

  • Get to a Dad conference. Show the world- Dads matter.

A CALL to ACTION! Do not go alone.

This is your call to action, gentlemen. According to my source at Partnership for Dads, about 70% of Saturday’s attendees were returning guests. Clearly, the men involved found the conference highly valuable. But as my source said, the concern is that only 30% of the attendees were new.

  • Spread the word. Do not go alone.

Bring a single guy friend. Bring your Uncle.  Bring your kid’s Uncle. Bring your childless unmarried adult son. Bring a grandfather. Bring your grandfather. Bring your Dad. Bring a female friend-we don’t do this parenthood bit alone.

Find a Dad conference. Get to a Dad conference. Stage a Dad conference. Grow the movement.

That is all.



The Beginning
About David Stanley

Teacher & science guy, writer, musician, coach, skier and bike racer, I am interested… in everything; your story, food & spirits and music and everything in the natural world, spirit & sport. My son is 22 and still needs his Dad. I am 56 and so do I.
I blog on life and death, cancer and sports, kids and education at http://dstan58.blogspot.com/

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