Have you heard the good news? We are currently witnessing the rise of a healthier culture of masculinity and some dads are leading this change by personifying modern fatherhood.
Fathers are increasingly embracing their caregiving roles, taking advantage of their paid family leave, and sharing their joy of being dads. According to Zero to Three, 90% of dads say being a parent is their greatest joy and 85% say being a father is the best job in the world. However this change of perception did not happen overnight. It took the commitment of brave visionaries that stepped outside the preconceived notion of masculinity and fatherhood to embrace themselves.
Today, I want to highlight 15 inspiring dads who exemplify modern fatherhood. I have the privilege of knowing a few of them personally; I have crossed paths with some of them notably when I attended the Dad 2.0 Summit for the first time. One thing for certain is that I feel SO MUCH respect and gratitude for all of them. Despite the diversity of this group, they all have one thing in common: fatherhood is at the core of their mission. Some of them might be entrepreneurs, but they are full-time dads committed to growth. They all embody this idea that old visions of fathers as distant and dominating benefit no one. Making lists of inspiring men is always hard for me. While you may think that 15 fathers is a large list, I am happy to report that I am grateful to know many more purpose-driven dads that deserve all the light they can get: it will give me the opportunity to do a second round.
Here are 15 inspiring dads who exemplify modern fatherhood
1. Glen Henry
I am just going to go ahead and say it: if I had to have a dad crush it would be Glen. Husband, dad of 3 beautiful children (and 1 on the way at the time of this post) that he calls the “Chocolate babies”, Glen aka. Beleaf documents his journey of fatherhood through video form. I love the authenticity of the stories, the beautiful storytelling of each video: each content he produces is master. Make no mistake Glen is a unique creative force, with a great sense of style, swag and flow: yes this is the cherry on top of the cake: the man can rap and it does it so well. There’s nothing else to say than Bravo sir. Nothing but love and admiration for him.
Bio: Glen Henry also known as Beleaf is a father figure who documents his life with his growing family of 5. He has made a name for himself with his critically acclaimed youtube channel Beleaf in Fatherhood. His goal is to equip fathers, give home to mothers, and inspire children.
2. Josh Levs
If there is one dad that champions healthy masculinity and fatherhood, it is Josh Levs. Josh advocacy work for fathers and paternity leave was first brought to my attention by my dear wife Diana: she usually has a particularly good eye of outstanding activists, and Josh is undoubtedly one of them. His personal journey is worth a movie and his opening remarks at the United Nations have made history. I have been fortunate to shake Josh’s hand at the Dad 2.0 Summit. He is a true leader and visionary.
Bio: Josh Levs is an entrepreneur, former CNN and NPR journalist, and the leading global expert on modern fathers in the workplace. He is the author of the award-winning book All In: How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families, and Businesses–And How We Can Fix It Together. The United Nations named him a Global Champion of Gender Equality. (Watch his opening remarks at the U.N.) The Financial Times named him one of the world’s top 10 male feminists. A New York Times front-page story declared him “a pioneer.” He has testified in Congress, won a debate on feminism at Oxford, and is a leading business consultant and keynote speaker.
3. Jason Wilson
Jason Wilson is one of the strongest voices in the healthy masculinity movement. I fell in love with his vision while stumbling upon a viral video featuring him and one of his martial art students. During a test, as Jason Wilson guided his student breaking through emotional barriers, he candidly explained to him that crying was a natural thing to do for men. Ever since, I followed Jason closely on social media and featured his organization, the Cave of Adullam as one of the key organizations promoting healthy masculinity.
Bio: Founder and CEO of Yunion (pronounced union), Jason Wilson has over 14 years of experience in training and developing young black men. Under his leadership, Yunion has effectively reached more than 10,000 youth and young adults in Metro Detroit. An expert in Emotional Stability Training®, Wilson also created the Cave of Adullam Transformational Training Academy (CATTA). Through his passion and leadership, CATTA has garnered numerous acknowledgments and awards for their work teaching boys how to introspectively confront and conquer their negative emotions with composure.
4. Boysen Hodgson
Boysen is the embodiment of what is called “the mature masculine.” Husband, fathers of two, he is also a recognized leader in the healthy masculinity movement. His commitment to social justice goes beyond the realm of men’s work and gender equality: his dedication and leadership are truly inspirational and I am honored to be able to interact with him on social media on a regular basis. Boysen is a truly inspirational father.
Bio: Boysen Hodgson is the Communications Director for the ManKind Project USA, part of a global brotherhood of nonprofits conducting transformational initiation programs for men at every stage of life, and supporting a network of men’s groups serving over 10,000 men every week. He’s the author of “The New Macho”, a credo for the mature masculine shared over 50,000 times and published in numerous blogs, magazines and books. His mission is to transform culture by designing change and building bridges.
5. Ryan Walton
The universe does not speak English: it speaks frequency. There are some people that are just on the same wave length and that’s exactly the way I felt about Ryan. Both fathers of the same generations, with two kids of roughly the same age, going through the deconstruction of what man-box culture demanded of us: it seemed that we were both on the same journey, willing to do the work in exploring and documenting our journey between fatherhood and masculinity. I am always touched by the authenticity and vulnerability of Ryan, both on Instagram and on his blog. When I first went on his platform, two things really moved me: 1) on his “about me” section, it reads “Disclaimer: I am going to change.” which to me is a HUGE sign of maturity. 2) I was really moved by the honest documentation of his journey as a “recovering evangelical”. Give Ryan a follow: he is truly a gem.
Bio: Ryan Walton is the creator of a Daring to Dad, a space to hold conversations at the intersections of fatherhood, masculinity, and faith. Ryan lives with his wife and two children in Sacramento, CA.
6. Aaron Gouveia
I started to get acquainted with Aaron’s platform when I attended the Dad 2.0 Summit for the first time in March 2019. When he shared on stage how his Twitter rant denouncing the bullying of his 5-year-old son went viral. I was inspired. I was profoundly touched by his story because the abuse that him, his son and his family endured as a result of denouncing the toxic culture of masculinity is sadly relatable. I know how it feels like to receive death threats as a result of being an advocate of healthy masculinity. I have the utmost respect for dads who take a stand. On his Facebook page, you can read in the about section: “I’m a parent. I’m political. I’m a parent who talks politics because they are completely intertwined, and raising politically-minded kids is crucial for the well-being of our country and getting out of this ignorant mess in which we are currently mired.” Cheers to you Aaron! Maximum respect.
Bio: Aaron is husband to a woman far too beautiful to have married him, and father of two sons far too perfect to be his. After nearly a decade as a Boston-area journalist, he decided to actually get paid and became a content manager. When he’s not griping about his beloved Boston sports teams, he’s detailing life as a dad at The Daddy Files.
7. James J. Lopez
My first interaction with James was also at the Dad 2.0 Summit. There are instances when people just “click” instantly and that’s what happened with this fellow New Yorker dad. We both grew up in tough neighborhoods which inevitably shapes the way you parent your kids; especially boys. No matter how much you grow as a man, no matter your emotional maturity there’s a sense of resilience, of fighting spirit and “hustle” that you keep with you. What I love about the content of James is its the realness and its authenticity, especially his Instagram stories that are packed with amazing fatherhood tips. I love the way he celebrates and promotes fatherhood, because I can relate when he speaks to me. I love that he does not over-celebrate second place trophies: I dislike them too. I love that he teaches them his boys to defend themselves if they don’t receive help from an adult. He keeps it real, that’s what America needs. Salute to you my brother. Indeed: fatherhood is lit.
Bio: Born and raised in the South Bronx section of NYC, James describes himself as a family man (Father Of 3 Boys), an entrepreneur (Co-Founder The Phat Startup, Tech808, Presence Over Presents), a Hip Hop connoisseur (Old and New School), a mentor and adviser (I Love Helping Others #BossUp In Tech) and a lifelong Learner. He created @FatherhoodIsLit and Cool4Dads.com to help dads find things to do with their kids and help brands connect with #RealDads to tell stories that no one else can.
8. Whit Honea
My first encounter with With was through one of the article he wrote. The title was: Why Fathers Must Talk About Their Mental Health. Having struggled with high episodes of anxiety, the content really resonated with me. Further down the same article you can read: “Fathers and sons discussing men’s mental health can help ensure that it is no longer taboo, and show that it never should have been. It is a conversation that not only redefines masculinity in a more positive light, but also can literally save lives.” After reading this article, I became a fan of the man. He is a great father, an activist, an advocate for social justice; it was an honor shaking his hand at the Dad 2.0 Summit. I don’t know him well but enough to see that Whit has a gigantic heart.
Bio: An award-winning writer, Whit Honea has written for a number of popular parenting websites, including Babble, BabyCenter, GeekDad, DadCentric, the Huffington Post, and Parentables. He is also a speaker and panelist at a number of parenting and blogging conferences, and was invited by the White House to contribute to President Obama’s official blog. Most importantly, he has also received the “Best Dad” coffee mug from his children two years running!
9. Aubert Bastiat
I first became aware of Aubert on Instagram and found his content to be particularly profound. I later when on to discover his story. I loved his writing and his authenticity: the homepage of his website will give you a great glimpse. I was not surprise to discover that he is a certified coach from the HeartMath Institute, a non-profit that holds a special place in my heart (pun intended). Last but not least, he is the co-founder of Sacred Sons, an organization that helps men heal and awaken to their true power.
Bio: Aubert Bastiat is a men’s work facilitator, HeartMath Certified coach and Co-Founder of Sacred Sons, an emerging voice in the collective movement of healthy masculinity which honors the sacred dimension of our existence as essential in our embodiment of mature masculinity. He has facilitated healing and consciousness transformation for individuals and groups using a synthesis of non-denominational core shamanic practices as disseminated by Michael Harner and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, Inner Guidance somatic processing as taught by Amara Samata, the theories and techniques of individual and group psychotherapy and medicine work.
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10. Devon Bandison
I vividly remember watching Devon’s Ted Talk about fatherhood (scroll below to watch). It was shortly after quitting my full-time corporate job to pursue my own path. During his talk, he said something that stayed with me ever since: “Fatherhood is leadership, and leadership is influence.” This very sentence was one of the very reason I created the Woke Daddy platform two years later. A friend of mine recently connected me with Devon on Facebook, and while we do not interact very much, I am a silent admirer and inspired by his leadership.
Bio: Devon “The Connector” Bandison was born and raised in NYC and shares the same energetic heartbeat, big personality and commitment to excellence as his hometown. Devon is a high performance coach and speaker who’s committed to individuals and organizations that want to maximize their potential in areas of leadership, productivity, fatherhood, and work-life satisfaction. His highly sought after seminars and workshops help organizations, individuals, and teams increase employee performance, motivation, engagement, and retention. Devon’s signature talk “The Most Important Question A Father Can Ask Himself” has gained national recognition and was a featured TED Talk at TEDx Boca Raton in March 2015.
11. Eugene Hung
I am such a sucker for activist fathers who advocate for gender equality, especially when they take a sincere interest in the experience of girls and women. I also understand the courage it takes to be a outspoken male feminist. While I never interacted with Eugene, I have observed his journey from a far, read his insightful blog posts. I have the utmost respect for this dad.
Bio: A former evangelical pastor and Dallas Seminary graduate, Eugene currently writes and speaks on a freelance basis about issues of gender, race, and parenting. A married father of two daughters, Eugene Hung is a Southern California-based advocate for social justice, especially as it relates to the rights of women and girls. He blogs at FeministAsianDad.com.
12. Sergio Rosario
I met Sergio at the Dad 2.0 Summit and have been following him since on social media. Being a father of two Latino kids, I understand the particularly strong stigma that surrounds the caregiving role of the father. In that regard, the existence and the message sent by the SoySuperPapá platform is crucial: having bilingual Latino dads based in the U.S. that are role models and embrace the caregiving side of parenting is very important to me: I want my son to see dads like Sergio.
Bio: Sergio Rosario is a musician, entrepreneur and educator. He is also a husband to a U.S. army officer and a father of a two-year-old daughter (at the time of this post). He is the founder and CEO of Soy Super Papá, a large internet community dedicated in empowering fathers and their role in the community and their family. The platform was created in response to the “downplayed” roles of fathers in society. Soy Super Papá provides parents with a safe space to share experiences, advices and strategies to foster a culture of equity and active fatherhood.
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13. Chris Rupsa
As I have previously written the universe does not speak English, it speaks frequency. When Chris connected with me on Instagram, I felt an immediate connection. I relate with his story, and his path as a man, as a father deconstructing what Man-box culture demanded of us. I was profoundly touched by this blog post where he candidly share his relationship with fear. You can feel his gigantic heart through his beautiful words and on his Instagram account. You can also feel the regrets (I can relate to this) and the will to change and to impact the world for the better. I have immense gratitude that life brought Chris on my path. He is a truly unique guy.
Bio: Chris Rupsa is a devoted husband and father and lives with his wife Abby and three children (Sam 17, Chloe 13 and Ben 8) in the suburbs near Boulder, Colorado. Chris currently serves as Executive Director of Quality & Regulatory Compliance for a pharmaceutical company focused on non-opioid pain management. Chris started the Man Reconstructed project in 2018 with a goal and mission to share his story and help empower and coach other men to embody a more conscious model of masculinity – to help men reconnect with their feelings and emotions and find renewed strength in their honesty, vulnerability and authenticity. Chris helps men show up and be authentic and emotionally connected as husbands, partners, fathers and leaders in the workplace and community.
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14. Jason Greene
I met Jason for the first time at Dad 2.0 Summit. I walked up to him after he stepped down of the stage after reading for all attendees an hilarious post he wrote about his bid for becoming sexiest-man alive. As we started conversing, we discovered that we were neighbors and that our children attended the same school. I am lucky that I see Jason on a regular basis, and as I am getting to know him, I am discovering a sweet man, primary caregiver, pioneer dad blogger and loud advocate of social justice and gender equality. As a father of a boy, I highly recommend you to read this piece about raising boys in the #Metoo era.
Bio: From the time he was a child, Jason’s dream was to become an actor and a writer. After college, he set out to chase that dream and settled in New York City with his wife. After a few years of auditioning, Jason’s wife gave him the news that he was about to take on the biggest role imaginable — the role of a daddy. After his son was born, Jason became a stay-at-home dad and is now a proud papa of 4 children. Being a stay-at-home dad changed the way he thinks transformed his perception of himself and the world around him. His journey led him to become a blogger around the topics of fatherhood and travel. His blog touches on parenting, social justice, faith, travel, entertainment and sports.
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15. Angel Santiago
Angel’s first name fits him like a glove. I met him too at Dad 2.0 Summit and I rarely saw such a positive energy of love and connection. We felt immediately align in values and beliefs, not only about fatherhood but about life at large. Angel brings joy and positivity in every interaction he has; his heartfelt positivity and gratitude are exactly what the world needs right now. As a vlogger, he is dedicated to build a #Papitribe and to highlight the beauty of fatherhood. I have been fortunate to be one of the first guest of his show and I am humbled that he named me one of the chief of his papitribe. Give Angel some love: he will give it back to you ten-fold!
Bio: Angel is a husband, father of three and stay-at-home dad, Deejay, and Vlogger. He is the host of #Papitribe Live, an Instagram Live show where he interviews fathers that inspire him.
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Which one did I miss? Do you know inspiring dads who exemplify modern fatherhood? Share them with me on Instagram so I can follow them!
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