I have just returned to the latter half of a Canadian winter, after the kinetic warmth of the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans.
Last year, I wrote about my angst leading up to and my exhilaration heading home from the second annual summit in Houston.
For the 2014 conference, I wasn't sure what to expect from this "opportunity to learn the tools and tactics used by influential bloggers to create high-quality content, build personal brands, and develop business idea". Even more destabilizing, I wasn't sure what to expect from myself.
I will include two videos in this post. The latter is somewhat self-promoting in nature (although both are closely related to the summit). In case I lose you before then, in case you only have four more minutes to give me, watch this first video only. It is a fantastic amalgamation of sound and images put together by XY Media, the Summit's organizing body. Nothing more acutely embodies the spirit and intention of not only this conference, but a new movement of modern dads everywhere:
A few of the great writers in attendance have already done a fine job recapping the weekend's events. If you're interested, you can read these posts by Buzz Bishop or Carter Gaddis.
My takeaways from those forty-eight hours were concise, and very personal. A special thank you to Isabel Kallman, founder of Alphamom.com for reminding me not to look ahead, behind, or to my left and right attempting to measure myself against the competition. Stick to your path, she said, and be true to your work.
Another common message I absorbed (the real challenge being not to let it leak away within the first week home) was...work. To achieve any level of success as a writer (or anything else, for that matter), I can't lose sight of the work involved in getting there.
Those were my lessons.
What is truly magical about Dad 2.0 is how it moulded itself and its messages to each attendee.
If you were to ask each father (and mother!) to talk about the Summit's strengths, they would have drastically different answers. They would surprise each other, and then most likely agree with each other. The Summit is like emotional and intellectual putty. Sculpted, made to measure, directed at nobody in particular and everyone simultaneously.
If you have children, and you have the opportunity, I recommend attending next year's meeting (No, I am not on anybody's payroll!). It can uplift you, recharge you, and I guarantee, no matter your perspective, you will find someone who agrees with you, and yet others who challenge you.
You will return home a better partner, and a better parent.
Finally, here I am on Montreal's Breakfast Television, 48 hours after returning home, discussing the Summit's lasting impressions.