Is it odd how quickly we can develop deep and meaningful relationships from people we’ve only met online? I don’t think so. I’ve had friends meet their spouses online, their entire courtship done in 140 characters or less. So it’s not surprising for me to admit that I have met some truly remarkable men, whom I call friends, just from sharing banter online.
The Dad Bloggers Facebook group was was started in 2012 by Oren Miller. He saw that all these moms were connecting, but dads were just sort of drifting. So he put up a group. And slowly it grew. Now, more than 800 men belong this dad blogging fraternity.Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans this winter it was to meet, in person, these men whom I already knew so well. It was like a high school reunion. Hugs were shared. Stories were retold. People were met for the first time. One of those people was Oren.
I specifically attended his panel on creating community because I wanted to shake the hand of the man who had gathered all these men in a group online and had allowed us to form these deep friendships. I wanted to say thanks.
Oren, humbly, says he started the group because nobody else had. He’s not the type of person to get out in front of things, but after waiting for someone else to fill the niche for a few months he finally said, “Okay, I’ll try.”
“I want it to be a place where we share our hopes for the future not just as bloggers, but also as fathers,” he said in an interview. “I want it to be a sort of leveler for all bloggers. There won’t be a top 50 blogs or whatever. It will be dad bloggers sharing each other’s posts and reading each other. Some of us have more readers, but really it’s just different styles. I want the group to move away from the cliques and niches and just be about writing and blogging.”
The group is that and so much more. There are are dick jokes, political debates, and support. Exactly the sort of things friends would talk about. These are my people.
Now, Oren has cancer. A stitch in his side over the Memorial Day weekend turned in to a diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer that has no spread to his brain. The prognosis is not good.
When he wrote about his diagnosis, Oren shared a revelation he had 4 years ago. “I’m having the time of my life, and I didn’t even know it. That was a good day, since once you make that decision, man… You’re in Heaven every single second of your life.” It was a don’t sweat the small stuff moment that perfectly describes the attitude he has brought to our group.
So the Dad Blogger community that Oren created has gathered together to give back. In less than 12 hours, $5000 was raised to send Oren and his family on a wonderful trip – at the pot keeps growing.
These are the kind of people Oren brought together, and for this I wanted to say thanks to Oren and wish him a Happy Father’s Day.
POST BY OREN YOU SHOULD READ
On a trip to visit his wife in Seattle, he took his kids on a tour of all the great places. They visited playgrounds, and beaches, and the iconic Space Needle. If you’ve been to the Pacific Northwest, you know it’s a rainforest. It’s cloudy, grey, and rains a lot. On this day, the top of the needle was shrouded in cloud. You could go to the top, but you wouldn’t see much. Oren went anyway.
“I had two options: I could tell the kids that we were unlucky, and that next time we were going to be in Seattle, we were going to go up later in the day, when the clouds disappear and we could actually see something.” he wrote. “Instead, I bought a bag of M&Ms in the cafe, got us all a table, and said, “Isn’t this great? When we go back to Baltimore, we’ll be able to tell everyone we ate M&Ms INSIDE A CLOUD!”