I’m not OK. I just can’t tell you.

Yesterday I shared how asking “Are you OK?” can break the cycle of “I’m fine.”

A few of you told me that you tried this with the Dads in your life (Good job!) but still got a version of the answer “I’m fine.”

From having worked with men and boys for over two decades, I want to explain what might be happening:

There is a lot of pressure on people socialized as men to keep moving and not slow down. Life feels like the running of the bulls. Any vulnerability feels like weakness.

He/They are saying “I’m fine” to reassure you that they can still function as a “good cog” in the machine.

Good cogs pretend that the world is doing just great. We are better off if we don’t dwell on our feelings. Keep your head down, punch the clock, and keep buying stuff.

Even if we put on the mask of a good cog, I believe that we are all prone to “malfunction” in the current system and being labelled broken cogs.

I believe that we are looking for collaborators who can confirm that we are human beings.

Even while we have to play the game, we also seek out the other broken cogs. Those are the people with whom you are meant to do something, create something, find something, break something.

The world brings us into relationship to ask, “What are we supposed to do together?”

In our hustle culture that gives priority to running around to complete the tasks that keep bread on the table, it takes a heroic effort to stop and actually meet someone in the eye.

That conversation begins with “Are you OK?”

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I invite straight, queer, cis-gender, and trans Dads; white Dads, and Dads of color to come together in a safe place that I call Be The Best Dad Ever, a six-week, online program, limited to six people per session.

We owe it to our partners and children to be “broken cogs” sometimes. We begin our sessions by checking in with each other so we can make sure we know what is going on in each others’ lives.

I have a lot of content planned for each session, too. But the being-human-together part is what makes this program special. Dads play a huge role in the future of our world. Why don’t we ever give them space to be Dads together?

Registration for our October-November session is open now.