This is What 21st Century Fatherhood Looks Like

Juan C. Gonzalez takes a photo of himself and his son flying through the air every single year. See more at Lime Fly Photography.

Tender, surprising, and brimming with love: these are images of real* fatherhood.


We asked Good Men Project readers what Real Fatherhood meant to them, and how it looked in their day-to-day lives. Here are some of the amazing photos, stories and tweets you shared with us during our #RealFatherhood campaign.


Dave is very at ease with the fact that he has twins.


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Gabe and Pierce – even their toes match.


Mark Greene and son. More fun at MegaSAHD

Yes, sir, I do believe in the power of Post-Its.


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Marcus Williams and twin daughters

Are you both listening?


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Charlie Capen and son Finn. More fun from Charlie at How To Be A Dad.

One of us has put on his happy face.


Chris and Sammie

There’s no party like a tea party…

…except maybe a princess dress-up party.

“Is my tiara on straight?”


Alberto and Quentin

There’s gotta be a better system for this.


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Single image (not photoshopped!) courtesy of Lime Fly Photography

They didn’t know about my broom!


Ryan and Marc

 For Ryan, being a good dad is about being a part of what his kids love.


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John, Hailey and Heather with friends

When John said he wanted to be chased by a mob of females, this wasn’t exactly what he had in mind…

No, this is way better.


Also read: “Stitches? Nah” – Matt Peregoy’s dad teaches a lesson in self-sufficiency.


See more: The Happy Aspie/Flickr

Bek Caruso’s husband, Jeff, and their son, Alex. Bek and Alex both live with autism, and Bek and Jeff also live with ADHD.


Matt and Alex. See more at Randy Schroeder photography 

1-2-3 Jump!


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Baker Wright coaching his son in his first round of T-ball.


Christopher and Derek

 Some of the best moments in fatherhood are the quietest ones.


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Photo by Maria Allebring



Also read: “Fatherhood and the Black Community” – Tim Brown hopes that someday he, too, is up to the challenge of his daughter’s braids.

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Lamont holds baby Mya in the NICU.  His wife Amie explains the type of father Lamont has been to their  children:

“I’m married to a guy who used to sing Elton John’s “Your Song”, and read the classic version of Peter Pan to our dying daughter. He made a great Tink… Here he is holding Mya about 2 months before she died. He was going on probably less than 3 hours of sleep over 2 or 3 days, which actually was pretty common because he worked and then spent every waking hour in the NICU.

Read more here


Ivan and Izz

 Baby in blue at the center of the universe.


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Dr. Adam Sheck and his daughter winning first prize in a pie eating contest at a father-daughter picnic.


Antonio, Gina and Stella

Silly Daddy!


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Jon D. writes: “She made me understand the absolute power of real unconditional love.  I can not think of anything she could ever do that will make me not love her.”


Also read: “A Moment” – From the moment his son was born, the kind of father Steve Marsh wanted to be began to change.


Nathan, dad of Owen and Aria. “They are my world.”

The perfect smell of a sleeping baby’s head.


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Josh and the girls. Photo by Erin Gant

Daddy Tickle Monster


Lamont with Javen, Max and Ty. See more photos by Amie Lee

Peeing lesson


Matt and Alex, by Mathias Johnson Photo

And into the future, Daddy forever more.


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*”real” in this case = “real-life”, as in, not actors or media-created images.

Read all of the #RealFatherhood stories

About the Editors

We're all in this together.


  1. My dad died 13 years ago today. Thanks for the pics. They made my day. Dads, cherish the time you have. They grow up way too soon.

  2. I’m with silly dad. Let me know if you do a round two. Plenty of daftness in our house!

  3. Sanyukta Banerjie says:

    I’m a regular reader and I have read so many wonderful articles on goodmenproject in the past but this by far is the best!!! I JUST LOVE IT! :’)

  4. I absolutely loved this collection of photos and the way they depict fatherhood.

  5. Kismetdream says:

    I applaud you guys for this. Being a daddy’s girl, this just reminds me of those times when I was younger. May your tribe increase 🙂

  6. Awesome Awesome Awesome pics and comments…I looove the Ivan and Izac pic…it’s so beautiful to see dads so involved and so there…oh, this is Awesome…sorry to y’all who never had these beautiful moments, Von Newman, Charles and Ashleigh…I wish you love in your lives…my dad was a great man, passed when I was 11, but I’ll never forget the piggyback rides and the goodnight kisses..nothing really can replace a dad’s love

  7. This post brings to the fore a multitude I emotions for me, a surviour of domestic abuse – with my father being the perpetrator… It’s beautiful to see that, for most, their fathers are forever changed and provide unconditional love – its also nice to see those realising their actions and vowing to change them for the sake of their child/children. It’s also overwhelmingly sad, that I know not of this love… Never underestimate its importance.

  8. Von Newman says:

    I loved my dad but he never, ever hugged me nor told me that he loved me and he never said “Well done.” These photos bought tears to my eyes.

    • Charles Almon says:

      My dad was cold as a fish too. And I was his FAVORITE.

    • The photos brought tears to my eyes too. My father was completely uninvolved in my childhood and teen years except when it came shouting or beating me. This was a very touching post.

      • My father was never a part of my life, and for the most part I think my mom did a damn good job of raising my brother and I to never think we were “missing out” on anything. I don’t regret growing up the way I did–I think the fact I am incredibly close with my mom is due in part because she raised me alone–but seeing these pictures made me tear up. When I have kids, I will try my hardest to make sure it’s with a man who will be the kind of father I can take these kinds of pictures of 🙂

  9. wellokaythen says:

    Very sweet. How am I supposed to be cynical and trollish when you put up stuff like this? That’s not fair…. : – )

  10. Rachel Greer says:

    I have a great photo I would like to share… how?

  11. Well, I don’t have a picture of it, but I got home last night at 10 pm from work, and headed in to kiss my sleeping little girl goodnight. She woke up enough to say, “Daddy, you’re home?” And I said softly, “Yes, I’m home.” She rolled into my arm and said, “We go farmer’s market tomorrow.” And I said, “Sounds like fun sweetie, now close your eyes and go to sleep.”

    I gently rolled her over, gave her the always-necessary-for-sleep teddy bear, and left with my heart melting. When my son woke up around 2:15 am I stumbled out of bed and stroked his back until he calmed and fell back to sleep.

    It’s not easy, but it’s wonderful being a daddy.

  12. How did I miss that? Great photos & tweets!

  13. Vast majority of fathers depicted are Caucasian, a few token Africans, one Hispanic.

    Dads come in all shapes, sizes and colours.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Of course, amazing Dads are everywhere (actually 3 of the dads in these photos are Hispanic or of Latin origin). There are amazing dads in wheelchairs, some are of short stature, some are heavy-set, some wear suits and carry briefcases. Some fathers are trans men. We know that, of course.

      This photo collection isn’t to imply that these are the only ways dads look. But this was a collection of photos offered by our readers and writers, and we included as much diversity as was offered. We could easily have pulled stock photos of fathers of every different possible variation, but we felt we really wanted our readership and community to be the ones who were featured. We would have loved to have had more photos of different people, but we’re very proud of what we have and grateful to those who shared their family moments with us.

    • I, too, was distressed by the homogenous look of the dads in these photos. Nearly all had short hair, a buzzcut, or even no hair at all. The whole piece reeks of bias against long-haired dads, despite the inclusion of that token hippie, Lamont. It’s about time people acknowledge that you don’t have to look like a skinhead to be a good dad, and frankly, I’d expect something calling itself The Good Men Project to know better. It’s a follicular outrage, that’s what it is.

    • I have seen this a lot from people who get very upset at any semblance of marginalization of minorities. One thing to keep in mind is that the racial demographics for the U.S. break down as follows:
      72.4% white, 12.6% black, 8.3% non-white hispanic, 4.8% asian, .9% Native American, 6% mixed. There is some cross-over because many specify being of two races. Also 16.3% of Americans are hispanic with the tally breaking down to: 8.7% of hispanics (of total Americans) being of white European descent, .4% being of black descent, and 6% being some other race.

      That means if the above pictures were specifically hand-picked with 20 fathers to resemble society there would be 14 whites, 1 clearly non-white hispanic, 1 white person who is latino, and 2 black men, and 1 asian and a 1/5th chance of including a Native American.

      Additionally, if you wanted to get nitpicky many more black fathers (based on a % basis) are either estranged, dead, or in prison. Black out of wedlock birth rates are at about 70% versus 30% nationwide.

      So, in a 20 father picture of “involved fathers” instead of 2 black fathers, there could be 1 or even none. This wouldn’t be a representative sample, but it would be representative of the reality of the crushing issue of lack of father involvement (whatever the reasons) in black families.

      I think it’s important to look at all the facts before you start screaming bias.

  14. Dorine Moore says:

    Precious! I also love the ideas by Media Hound and John D for future articles. Thanks for the warmth and the hope that you all bring to my life and to the world

  15. Awesome!
    It’s all cute and lovely before kids became teens.
    I with to see similar post on dads with teens.

  16. As a father of 3 grown children (26, 28, 31) these photos warmed my heart and reminded me of the joys of being a father. Now that my kids are grown, I can look back and say that I may not have been the perfect father, but I know that I was and still am an awesome dad. Without question, my proudest accomplishment. Thanks for these awesome examples of awesome dads!

  17. Fantastic collection of images and quotes about fatherhood! Thank you for including my image of Jeff showing Alex his way around a guitar. Alex turned 9 yesterday. Those early, shared experiences and that mutual trust of new father and young son, in that moment with the guitar, still have a lasting impact in Alex’s love of music and self-expression. True to the nature of offspring, he takes what he learns from his dad, and makes it his own… (Dad still likes guitar & a wide range of music while son is a keyboard/piano guy who can play any melody by ear (!) & prefers vintage 1980’s video game theme songs.)

  18. Thanks for including me! Awesome pics, all!

  19. Loved Marcus Williams with his twin daughters!

    • Thanks, I’m partial to that one, too. 😀

      I love this collection of pictures! More than one had me thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Now I want to take a flying picture every year, too, not to mention more pictures that make me look like I’m flying on a broom.

  20. Impressive!

  21. LOVE THIS!!!!!
    Media Hound has it exactly right:
    “Men are central – there is no discussion of porn – no concern for body image – Politics does not feature – and there are even images of men with children.”
    My son is alomost 17, but seeing these imges of dads with their kids, reminds of those times when I could swing him through the air, making him laugh and scream. If I tried that now, it would be the ER and back surgery for me.
    I know it’s not for everyone, but being a dad is my best and favorite thing I do.
    Y’all be well.

  22. Absolutely terrific article. A+++

  23. Seeing all of the photos and the entire collection makes me proud to be included and happy to see fathers in such a positive light. I am also saddened however, because my own father passed before I had children and it always makes me wonder what he would have thought about me as a father and about his grandkids. Not having him around as a point of reference and for support as a father creates a void in my life, but thankfully I am comforted by GMP and stories from other fathers.
    Perhpas I will get up the nerve to submit my own piece to share.

  24. If it wasn’t for my father, I don’t know what my life would have been like. He was more like a mother to me than my mother was.

  25. What an absolutely amazing collection! This article/thread/collection is a real “keeper.”

  26. Great stuff, nearly brought a tear to my eye. Definitely missing my father! R.I.P Dad <3 Thanks for always being there for me.

  27. This is the most shocking article I have ever seen of GMP.

    Men are central – there is no discussion of porn – no concern for body image – Politics does not feature – and there are even images of men with children.

    Would it be possible to have more like this? It could set a trend! P^)

    • Or maybe a weekly recurring article in which one story of a man showing an act of heroism.

      I remember reading an article a while back about a white fireman was reunited with the black baby he had saved in the 60’s during a year of intense race riots. The story and picture of a white fireman saving a black baby was an excellent counter-point to the civil rights struggles of blacks and the blow-back they were suffering from racists.

      I also remember the new york subway hero who rescued a person who had fallen onto the tracks (who said instead of the key to the city he wanted access to his daughter as he is one of the millions of fathers w/no parental rights w/court approval after divorce).

      I would think that would be more in the spirit of tgmp’s mission. It would be a heckuva lot better than 5 stories detailing the problems w/men following the aurora shooting.

  28. Christopher Young says:

    Absolutely fantastic.

    Speaking as a man who is yet to be a father (maybe 3 years away) – these are the kinds of images I want to be seeing. Thanks all!

  29. Tom Matlack says:

    Love, love, love, LOVE this. Way to go all.


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