The Dad Letters: Best of 2014

We want to thank all of you who made our mission (to explain life, love and the absurd to our children, one letter at a time) worthwhile by reading, commenting and sharing your own adventures in parenting with us.

2014 was quite a year. Our five dads added to their families, braved tragedies, moved homes, switched jobs, played gigs, traveled, started businesses, and just lived life. Hopefully some of the lessons we learned along the way were captured in these letters to our children, and that you were able to gain something from them as well. We’re excited to see what 2015 has in store, and thankful for those of you checking in with us along the way.

Without further ado- here are the letters you liked/shared most this year, as well as a few of our favorites.

The top 10 most-read letters of 2014 (Besides “Your Pit Bull,” and “10 Things You Should Know About Your Teacher,” which have already virally clogged enough of your news feeds)

10. I Don’t Think We Should Coexist

9. A Jack Named Magnus and His Sister Mia

8. You Can’t Just “Let it Go”

7. My Most Important Meeting of The Day

6. I’m Scared Too

5. The Let Down

4. To My Son #YesAllWomen

3. The 10 Things (I Used To) Hate About Parenting

2. The Tragedy at Reynolds High School

1. Revenge

Here are the Dads of The Dad Letters favorites of 2014

Daniel Zehring:

As Tall as a 4-Foot-Something Mexican Grandma Can Stand– “Steve’s grandma is a boss. As he tells us all about her, it’s a challenge not to be caught up in his admiration.”

My Most Important Meeting of The Day– “Few letters impact my everyday the way this one has. Ryan matches the aspiration towards greatness that Fatherhood fosters with the reality of being there for your kids day in and day out.”

10 Things You Should Know About Your Teacher– “Ralph is not only a remarkable teacher in his own right, but a great voice for teachers in this letter. Being one myself, I couldn’t help but cheer along as he laid out the truth behind the curtain of the classroom.”

Owen and Haatchi– “This letter is full of equal measures inspiration and tension. It is a phenomenal story coupled with Christian’s challenging reflection stirred up by a tough topic.”

The Package Deal: A Letter From a Proud Stepfather– “Here we have a beautiful picture of how family works. Not every family is the same and this letter displays how Fatherhood is powerful no matter what package it comes in.”

Christian Lindvall:

Revenge– “As a comedy nerd, this pick comes with a bit of jealousy behind it. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever read and is delivered in an ingenious way (via Twittter). The letter was a great reminder that the bar my fellow Dads are creating, can seem unreasonably high.”

To My Son #YesAllWomen– “This is a perfect letter and my favorite letter out of any that we posted in 2014. It’s not only extremely thoughtful but also a little bit painful to read. And, it has one of my favorite lines: ‘Sex is not a weapon, so do not let it be.'”

I Love Your Mom More Than I Love You– “I was so taken aback by this notion on my first read. How could you love anyone MORE than you love your kids? But then, I re-read it and it challenged me to consider a more holistic view of parenting. Plus, it has a great football analogy.”

Mystery– “Such a pretty, cerebral reminder to be unafraid to let life confound you. Ryan nails this conceit”

A Collector of Fathers– “A little heartbreaking and a lot inspiring, this letter from Nikki Deleon, who despite not having her father in her life, refused to let that jade her perspective of what fatherhood means.”

Ralph Amsden:

Upon Further Reflection– “Kids change everything. Even how we interpret art. Christian gets it.”

I Hope You Have 1,000 Broken Hearts– “Click the link, call your kids over, and read this one out loud to them.”

An Opinion– “I’m a fan of all Ryan does, but this short little note outlines a struggle of mine- not knowing the worth of a held opinion. This letter is blunt, funny, and thought provoking.”

The Desperate Search– “I really hate losing shit. I got angry just re-reading this letter. DAMNIT STEVE WHY DO YOU HAVE TO WRITE ABOUT THE STUFF THAT MAKES ME ANGRY?”

What Should We Build?– “The last half-paragraph of this letter gives me goosebumps. It changed the way I appreciate the moments I spend playing with my kids.”

Steve Valdez:

To My Son #YesAllWomen– “a stunning letter by Daniel. His honest assessment of the perception of sex these days and how he sees things differently is something I hope I can teach my kids as well as he wrote it.”

On Ferguson and Dinosaurs– “honestly changed my day. I was frustrated, brooding, and disappointed in so many ways… and then I read this letter. So much perspective in such a simple message.”

Prince Charming – Princess Part 2– “almost word for word exactly what I want my daughters to learn. You don’t need a man, but it’s okay to want one. Also, the wedding vow at the end is spot on.”

Oddballs All Around You– “really hit me as a Portlandian. Oddballs of all types have collected in Portland, and Christian’s letter is a reminder that each of them have a story that goes far beyond their perceived oddities.”

Ryan Eland:

I Just Wanted to Let You Know That I Saw a Toad– “This is my favorite letter by Ralph. He eloquently captures the simple joy of watching your children come to life upon a new discovery.”

To My Son #Yesallwomen– “simply incredible. Every once in a while, a letter takes on the right subject, with the right tone, at the right time. This is such a letter. Everybody needs to read this one.”

Baby #2? At Least For Now, No Thanks– “Christian’s honesty in this letter is stunning. He takes his inner musings about having another child and lays them on the table – to the benefit of all. I highly recommend this read.”

I’m Scared Too– “an incredible post about fear. Justin Anderson takes on the notion that fear is something to be shoved aside, when in reality, everybody experiences it and it is often very valid.”

One comment

  1. It’s going to take me a few days to get time to read them all, but as a dad I thank you for compiling these. 🙂
    It is a great idea…The Dad Letters. The more we learn from each how to help our kids the better it is for them. Following for more. Thanks

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