The Father Hood recently attended the first meeting of the invitation-only Paul Roos Men’s Wellness & Leadership Group for 120 men. We were privileged to be involved in the evening. This is why we’re still buzzing from the night and how we came to be there.
When Paul Roos and I were connected through a mutual friend Dan Peterson (legend Dan, thank you) when the first post went up announcing The Father Hood, I was worried. As a music journalist I’ve met too many of my heroes. So often they let you down.
But this was beyond a good experience. It was proof positive of the kind of man Paul Roos is. He liked the concept of The Father Hood. He liked the look of the brand. He liked that we were going after the negative stereotypes of fatherhood and putting forward a new, more inspirational image for men and boys to look up and forward to. He liked a lot of things, and he wanted to make something happen. So he invited us to talk about it at the first Roos Mens Leadership Dinner, in collaboration with his son Dylan, his wife Tami and Polished Man – as well as guests Wayne Schwass (a legitimate superhero speaker), the Demons’ Nathan Jones and Saints’ legend Nick Riewoldt, who I did an epic interview with way back in 2010. To be there, in this company, with The Father Hood’s Editor Luke Benedictus, was a life highlight.
- Because the concept was genuinely – and brazenly – innovative. 120 blokes in a room after work. No booze. No problem. The night started with all guests led by Tami Roos in a meditation that encouraged us to let go of our day and let go of our to-do lists. The energy in the room calmed and, combined with the waters and the clean food (steak, broccoli, beans), it seemed to ‘centre’ the room. I’ve never been to a booze-free evening event. What I noticed was that the energy, and the noise, didn’t escalate as the night went on – in fact it became even more intently focused on the speakers, whose words were honest, powerful and often very funny.
- Because the conversation about ‘what a man is’ is changing rapidly and the Roos family and friends are leading that change. The finger is often pointed at the ‘toxic masculinity’ that is incubated at footy clubs. I’d like to invite all these people to the next Roos Mens Wellness and Leadership (or The Father Hood for that matter) event. From our side, we expected a lot of resistance to the message that dads should step up and, yes, pardon the nowspeak ‘lean into’ fatherhood. We had braced ourselves for pushback on the idea that parenting didn’t put blokes in a ‘mum’s assistant’ position. And that the more guys put into raising their kids on every level, the more they’re going to get out of it. But in the same way that we’ve been 100% embraced, so it was with a night that didn’t have booze, that started with a meditation and moved onto men – without self deprecating humour – being vulnerable, and talking about the strength they’ve found in the experience.
- Lastly, because we were there. This one’s personal. When people ask me why I’m borderline intense about my team, the Sydney Swans, I say it’s because they stand for something. Something bigger than the current group. There’s a code. There’s a culture. There’s a consistency to the way the guys go about it, regardless of who’s playing. Sometimes I say it’s because of Paul Roos. Of course, the club’s transformation in the early 2000s was a result of more than just one man. It took players like Stewie Maxfield to embrace the Bloods mentality and others did their part. But all that really matters for this story is that Roosy was there when the music changed – and his particular swansong has made me a blooded member of the club for life. It was an honour and a privilege to share a stage with a true change agent. To be sharing the mission once again is even better.