Leavin’ on a Jetplane
Next week I am getting on a plane and flying from my home in Canada to San Diego, California. My partner and I are leaving our kids behind and heading out to the Dad 2.0 Summit.
I have traveled through most of the US, with the notable exception of the southwest corner. For a few years I have been contemplating attending Dad 2.0. This conference is an opportunity to connect with other dad bloggers and generally spend time talking with other dads about being a dad.
Fun in the Sun?
This year we decided it was time to go to the conference. We get to hang out at the conference, see a piece of California and if things work out, visit some family while we are there. Plus there is no snow there. We are pretty excited about going. Also we are somewhat uncomfortable and uncertain about travelling to the US in light of Donald trump’s actions and his ban on Muslims and refugees coming to the US.
There has been quite a bit of discussion amongst people that I know in real life and online about whether we should be boycotting travel to the US while Trump is the president or while the Muslim Ban is in effect. It doesn’t feel right to be travelling there when so many people cannot. Are we supporting the regime by bringing our money into the country? Wouldn’t we be better spending our money at home in Canada?
At the same time, it won’t be Trump and his white supremacist cronies/cabinet who will be hurt by a travel boycott. It will be the hospitality and tourism workers that would be hurt. They are often the ones who need the income the most.
Learning to be a better dad
We made our plans to go before Trump was elected and had purchased our plane tickets before he was inaugurated and implemented these racist and Islamophobic policies. We are already invested in this trip and aren’t really in a position to lose money in cancellation fees.
The Dad 2.017 Summit is a conference where I get to hang out with other dads and spend time talking about being dads and how to do a better job of it. We’ll be learning how to do a better job engaging other men in the conversation and generally set an example of how to be engaged dads. Those of us who blog don’t just write for our own amusement, many of us are also trying to change the world. We are trying to shift perceptions of fatherhood. We are trying to encourage men to step up and get involved in their kids’ lives. We are participating in a conversation about challenging gender stereotypes and creating space for dads.
Every Flavour Dads
The group at this conference will include dads from the US and Canada and possibly other countries too. It will include straight dads and gay dads, white dads, black dads, asian dads, hispanic dads and others too. I don’t actually know where everyone is from. I do know from my involvement in this community that we have dads of all sorts – kind of like Bertie’s Every Flavour Beans – with an equally diverse range of perspectives and opinions. Sometimes we argue and debate, but in the end we all want to be better dads and make the world a better place for our kids. Even though it is a conference for dad bloggers, some of the dads at the conference will be moms and we welcome their input too.
In the current political climate in the US and other parts of the world it is important to be able to engage in challenging conversations and keep an eye on what we have in common. It is important to support one another and love for opportunities to work together. This conference for me, represents that kind of opportunity.
Supporting one another
I will have the opportunity to meet a bunch of guys I have been reading for years and have never met. Some of them have made an impact on how I parent. One of them provided the inspiration for a small business that I run in my spare time. Some of these guys are feeling pretty uncomfortable and scared about what the future holds for them in their own country. I will take the opportunity to listen to them and offer support whenever I can. I am sure that politics and Donald Trump will be a significant side conversation that carries throughout the conference.
Yup, we are going!
While I feel uncomfortable entering the US at this time, I go knowing that it is for a good cause. I recognize that as a straight, white Canadian couple we have the privilege of being able to travel to and through the US safely. That is something that many people don’t have right now and I will keep them in mind as a lens through which I will view my experiences and the lessons I take away from this trip.
I will get to spend some dedicated time thinking and talking about fatherhood, providing support to and receiving support from other dads. I will also get to spend a week with my partner with no kids. That may be the aspect of the trip that actually helps me be a better dad in the shorter term. We both need a break from the kids and some time in a sunny and warm (snow-free) place will be good for recharging our batteries.
I will definitely be sharing some of what I learn and experience during our visit and the conference. Watch this space over the coming weeks and if you are interested I will be tweeting and sharing via Instagram throughout the conference and trip. Please feel free to follow along.