Even in 2020, dads get far too much credit. Have you ever seen a papa get “Awww”ed just for feeding his kids / changing their diapers / being at all a present part of their lives? UGH. Gender bias is alive and well in parenting, and it sucks. But when we’re not busy doing everything we can to fight the patriarchy, we have to admit we still have a big soft spot in our hearts for certain dads who just seem to get it — patriarchy-smashing and all. After all, with the stereotype of the blundering dad still lumbering on in 2019, we need all the role models we can get. And these dads do way more than just change diapers and get applause for it; they show ways that fathers can nurture and support their children and help them grow into resilient, loving adults.
The dads on the list are all different: They came to fatherhood through different paths, and approach it differently as well. Some, like Neil Patrick Harris, choose to be very open about their private lives, while others, like Ryan Gosling, keep them under wraps. Some, like Ben Affleck, have had a majorly rocky road to get here and finally achieve Good Dad Status. Some dads seem goofy, others more sincere. But all 17 dads on this list have melted our hearts over and over again when it comes to their devotion to their family. So read on and get ready to have all the feels. Is someone cutting onions in here?
A version of this story was originally published in October 2019.