This Father's Day, we meet Thiago Queiroz, a dad who has been absolutely on fire for supporting other fathers in his native Brazil since his oldest of 4 children was born a decade ago.
Many dads have been able to "meet" Thiago through his role in the American documentary, Dads. Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, this film illustrates contemporary fatherhood through interviews with celebrities and everyday men what being a father means to them. Premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in Canada, where it was named second runner-up for the People's Choice Award for Documentaries, Dads released in 2020 on Apple TV+.
Thiago is passionate about supporting fathers. We congratulate him on this work through his portrait on Dads.
Q: To begin, how did you find Nurturings?
THIAGO: When my first son was born, I was feeling a bit lost, trying to understand how I could raise my child. My own parenting references were not of the nurturing kind, and the only thing I felt was that I wanted to do it differently with my child.
Also, for being a father in Brazil, I didn't have any references of fathers who were actually involved in raising their kids, because our society only expects moms to really take care of their kids while the dads are seen as unable to take care of their baby. That didn't make any sense for me at that time, and still doesn't, so I started researching different views on child-rearing.
Gladly I found Nurturings, one of the best things that happened to me, because I started to understand how we can build strong emotional bonds with our children. More importantly, I understood how I, as a father, could do so many things with my baby.
Q: What are your thoughts about Dads as a film?
THIAGO: We need to have more examples and role models for diverse and loving fatherhood. Fatherhood is not a simple thing and being able to show the world how different men can care and love their children is not only important but urgent.
Those similar experiences are exactly what connect us. Having a mainstream documentary on fatherhood is a huge thing, especially when this documentary takes the subject very seriously, not portraying fathers as buffoons or mothers' helpers.
Q: What is it like to challenge the status quo of fatherhood in Brazil?
THIAGO: It's very challenging, because people around me, especially men, don't understand why I should be taking care of my kids so closely and lovingly if there's already a mother doing this.
We live in a society that has a strong "macho" culture, so it's difficult to find peers who understand the importance of creating strong and safe bonds between fathers and children.
Q: What tips can you offer men to rise to this challenge of choosing to be nurturing fathers?
THIAGO: My tip is, look out for other men like you. We might not be many yet, but we really need to get together and start talking about toxic masculinity, for instance, and how it affects the way we parent our children.
Being a nurturing dad is the best gift you can give to your child but also to yourself, your wife, and society. Let's find our peers and overcome these challenges, inviting other men to reflect on this, too.