Dads Honored Nationally – Woke Dad, in partnership with the World Association of Dads (WAD), is now accepting submissions for this year’s “Dad of the Year” (DOTY) award. Now entering its 75th year, this award recognizes dads throughout the United States for the outstanding strength, commitment and love they exhibit as dads. This year, we encourage you to tell us about a dad you believe deserves consideration by nominating him at WokeDad.com. Taking a few minutes of your time to share their story with us could propel them to worldwide recognition!
Although most DOTY submissions are from close relatives, you don’t have to personally know the individual you nominate. Joan Robins, for example, had only had a fleeting exchange with Brian Jones when she nominated him in 2013. Joan happened to be the daytime manager of the Flying-J where Brian made history. “I saw this mountain of a man storm into the station with beads of sweat running down his face,” she said. Brian marched directly to the restrooms with his 2-year-old-daughter Wendy and then reappeared only seconds later inquiring about changing stations. “Yes, we have one in the women’s restroom,” replied Joan. “I need to change my daughter’s diaper. Can I go in there?” he asked with a note of desperation in his voice. As Joan considered the absurdity of Brian’s request, Brian simply marched into the women’s restroom. Joan saw nominating Brian as a way to help draw attention to a national issue. “The lack of changing stations is a struggle for moms as well, but I’m here to share the dad’s side of the story,” Joan emphatically concluded.
When WAD began honoring dads in 1942, the “Dad of the Year” award exclusively honored working dads. These dads had not only attained success in their chosen fields of endeavor, they had carved out time to teach and guide their children, while maintaining a balance as good citizens and proud members of their community. In fact, stay-at-home dads were not even considered eligible for DOTY until 1989, and a stay-at-home dad didn’t take home the crown until 1997; even then, the decision was fiercely debated among members of the WAD Governing Board.
The criteria for “Dad of the Year” have been constantly evolving to keep up with the changes in societal norms and gender roles. For example, the prototypical dad of the 1950s worked hard, demanded respect and obedience from his children, and saw little reward in personally involving himself in their nurturance. The qualities that made Joel McHale “Dad of the Year” in 1951 would be considered neglectful, if not downright abusive, today. Joel meticulously maintained an authoritarian image with his two young boys — who never saw their dad in anything less than slacks and a button-down. Sadly, Mrs. McHale was struck and killed by a motorist while carrying groceries home from the store during the great blizzard of ’51. At the funeral, Joel reflected on his own father’s reserve and lack of tenderness and decided to hug his boys — just this once and outside the presence of others. Joel remarried 10 days later. The boys slowly warmed up to step-mom, and she lovingly raised them as her own. Later that year, Joel was honored with the DOTY award for his courage and perseverance in the face of tragedy.
Social norms and expectations changed rapidly after the counterculture revolution of the 1960s. Dan Goodman took home “Dad of the Year” in 1960, despite the fact that he never changed a single diaper. “He does everything. EVERYTHING!,” said his wife Tina. Now, just a few decades later, dads are expected to share in ALL the parental responsibilities. The competition for “Dad of the Year” has never been more fierce. A few years ago, Tiffany Grant nominated her husband and best friend, George, who abandoned a burgeoning legal career to become a stay-at-home dad. When the Grants first talked about starting a family, neither envisioned trading in their careers for domestic servitude. George was consistently rated as one of the best litigation attorneys in the country by Super Lawyers magazine. Not to be outdone, Tiffany founded an international non-profit organization that educates children born into conflict. Despite lucrative offers from the top law firms, George recognized that Tiffany was serving a higher purpose. “Free from anachronistic conventions, we simply chose to do what would bring the greatest benefit to the greatest number of children,” said George. Tiffany nominated George for “Dad of the Year” despite her own insecurities as a mother. “George’s willingness to stay home with our kids made me feel like a bad mom, but it was important for the world to know of his sacrifice.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
Q: Who is eligible to be considered as Dad of the Year?
A: Nominations must be in the name of a dad, at least 18 years of age.
Q: What if my dad used to be a lady?
A: Eligibility has traditionally been restricted to cisgender males (e.g., the sex listed on an original birth certificate). However, we’re pleased to announce that we’re now accepting nominations on behalf of transgender dads (e.g., dads who were assigned as female at birth but whose gender identity and/or expression is male).
Q: If I’m a single father, can I nominate myself?
A: No. Self-nominations will not be accepted under any circumstances.
Q: Everyone thinks their dad is the best. How can I make my dad stand out? What are you looking for?
A: A thoughtful, well-written nomination will help your nominee stand out from the thousands we receive. Think about what makes this dad special. Ask yourself: What makes my nominee unique? What specific accomplishment has he achieved that is truly remarkable? What impact has he had on his children?
Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Dad of the Year awards with us! Dads do it better!