The Measure of a Man

We have a lot of definitions and ideas about manliness and what it means to be a “real” man, but the truth is that there is no one characteristic that defines “manliness”. Some think you need tattoos and a pickup truck to be a true man, while others prefer courage or humour as shining examples. We all look at life through a different lens and none of us are right or wrong in our feelings about it.

This past weekend, at the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans, I had the incredible fortune of meeting over 200 other fathers who are each doing their part to redefine what it means to be a dad and also proving that every man is different but also equal. This conference is a place where egos are checked at the door and real emotion is not only allowed to be shared but very much encouraged.

Up until my father passed away a few years ago, I didn’t deal with my emotions very well. Even after his passing, I had trouble showing my emotions visibly and a lot of that had to do with the perception of weakness and the threat of being labeled as someone who was less of a man for it. Those days have since passed and the Dad 2.0 Summit has been a major influence on my ability to express myself without the fear of judgement. Last year, in Houston, I read one of my stories about the anxiety I went through after my father passed away. I can remember all the emotion that was rushing through my veins as I stood up in front of the 250 attendees and poured my soul out onto the stage for everyone to see. They were incredibly supportive and that single event has helped my confidence level more than I can describe.

This year, I was privileged to be in the audience when spotlight reader and brilliant writer, Lorne Jaffe, took to the stage to read his post, “Do I Really Like What I Like?“. While watching Lorne deliver his emotional story about his struggles with mental illness, I witnessed exactly what it means to be a man. Public speaking is uncomfortable enough and when you add in the topic he was discussing, I have never been more proud or inspired by someone that I had just met hours before. I’ve watched it back a few times now and well up each and every time. Lorne, if you are reading this, every single one of those people who stood for you after your reading were mesmerized by what you did and I hope someday you will be able to take pride in that personal achievement.

I have included the video of Lorne’s presentation below. From now on, any time I feel guilty for having emotions or like I can’t do something, I will look at this video and remember that sometimes the best things in life come from stepping outside of my comfort zone.

20 replies
  1. Stacy @bklynstacy
    Stacy @bklynstacy says:

    Brilliant. Perfect. This post made me feel exactly how I felt when Lorne was reading. May we all come to understand the undeniable strength that comes from vulnerability and being just exactly who we are at any given moment. Thanks for this. I hope the whole entire world reads it.

  2. Amy @theBitchinWife
    Amy @theBitchinWife says:

    I second you and Stacy. I was amazed at the depth of Lorne’s reserves of strength and determination that enabled him to get through his emotional and utterly honest post. It was one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen and I was proud to be among the people he shared it with that day.

  3. Charlie Seymour Jr
    Charlie Seymour Jr says:

    Thanks for this post, Chris. And I was in awe of Lorne and jumped to my feet when he finished.

    And I share your thoughts about changing after your father died. Mine left us in April, 2012 only several months after my first grandchild was born. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons Beckett and I are so close.

    Dad and I had a great “handshake” relationship (I am still more huggy/kissy with Mom), but I’m sure to pass all the love and affection to my daughters and two grandchildren probably because it took until Dad was about 87 before he accepted hugs and kisses from us.

    Thanks for making me focus on that again, Chris. And, as I said to you at #Dad2Summit… thanks for the discussion you ran: really nice job!

    Charlie Seymour Jr

    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      Thanks, Charlie. It was definitely a rough time but it helped open me up to different thoughts and emotions. And, thank YOU for coming to my discussion table. I appreciated that people took a chance on it.

  4. Lance
    Lance says:

    Chris- thanks for sharing this. I’m a guy who has lived life keeping my feelings inside. It’s because those “egos are checked at the door” as you say and that the pack of 200 dad attendees all care for each other like brothers…a guy like me can feel vulnerable and not worry about the comments/backlash if i’m moved or touched and on brink of crying. Too many other things in life to worry about. Just want to be myself and fortunate to be surrounded by so many great guys like yourself so I could.

    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      Hey Lance, thanks for stopping by. I’m at a point now where I don’t worry what anyone else thinks about me and the way I feel about certain things. After all, they are MY feelings. It was great getting to sit down and actually talk with you this year. Those moments are few and far between.

  5. Georgia Read
    Georgia Read says:

    I just watched this and it brought tears to my eyes. Good for him to be able to express himself on what matters to him and the things he is trying to overcome. I just kept thinking about your father and how proud he would be of you and for that matter realizing that he would have loved to be there doing these things with you. That made me smile. Love you..Mom

  6. Sandy Macnamara @endthecrazytalk
    Sandy Macnamara @endthecrazytalk says:

    Thank you for sharing this Chris. I have so much admiration for Lorne and his courage to share such a raw and honest piece in front of everyone. One day I hope to be as brave.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Chris Read of the Canadian Dad blog writes: “The Measure of a Man.” […]

  2. NYC Dad Lorne Jaffe Wows Dad 2.0 Summit says:

    […] Chris Read of the Canadian Dad blog writes: “The Measure of a Man.” […]

  3. […] It’s an understatement to say that I was humbled and honored to be included this year, to be asked to moderate and speak on a panel, and to once again be reunited with such a fascinating group of fathers.  I think that my friend and fellow dad blogger, Chris Read from Canadian Dad, said it best in his recap entitled ‘The Measure of a Man‘… […]

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