45 episodes

Paternal is a show for anyone who's ever been a father or wondered about dad. Created and hosted by Nick Firchau, a longtime journalist and podcast producer, Paternal offers candid and in-depth conversations with great men who are quietly forging new paths. Listen as our diverse and thoughtful guests – a world-renowned soccer star in San Diego, an Oglala Sioux elder in South Dakota, a New York Knicks barber in Queens, a pioneering rock DJ in Seattle and many more - discuss the models of manhood that were passed down to them, and how they're redefining those models as they become fathers themselves.

Visit www.paternalpodcast.com for more information on the show.

If you have a comment, question or suggestion for the show, email nick@paternalpodcast.com.

Paternal Paternal

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 71 Ratings

Paternal is a show for anyone who's ever been a father or wondered about dad. Created and hosted by Nick Firchau, a longtime journalist and podcast producer, Paternal offers candid and in-depth conversations with great men who are quietly forging new paths. Listen as our diverse and thoughtful guests – a world-renowned soccer star in San Diego, an Oglala Sioux elder in South Dakota, a New York Knicks barber in Queens, a pioneering rock DJ in Seattle and many more - discuss the models of manhood that were passed down to them, and how they're redefining those models as they become fathers themselves.

Visit www.paternalpodcast.com for more information on the show.

If you have a comment, question or suggestion for the show, email nick@paternalpodcast.com.

    #45 Jesse Thistle: Tracing Our Fathers’ Footsteps

    #45 Jesse Thistle: Tracing Our Fathers’ Footsteps

    Jesse Thistle is an assistant professor at York University in Toronto and an award-winning memoirist who wrote the top-selling Canadian book in 2020, but his success didn’t come easily. Prior to penning his celebrated emotional memoir From the Ashes, Thistle spent years struggling with issues of addiction and homelessness, a lifestyle he sees to some degree as the result of the absence of a father figure in his life. His own father was an addict and a thief who disappeared nearly 40 years ago, and no one has seen or heard from him since.
    But how much of his father’s troubles can be traced back to the generations of men who came before him? On this episode of Paternal, Thistle wrestles with the myths he’s been told about his father, discusses how his own indigenous heritage contributed to years spent living on the streets of Canada, and breaks down the manifestations of intergenerational trauma, including addiction, abuse, homelessness, and crime.
    Learn more about Paternal and sign up for our newsletter at www.paternalpodcast.com. You can also email host Nick Firchau at nick@paternalpodcast.com with any comments or suggestions for men he should profile on the show. Make sure you subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts or wherever you’re listening, then keep an eye on your feed for new episodes.

    • 35 min
    #44 Jelani Memory: How To Have Tough Conversations With Your Kids

    #44 Jelani Memory: How To Have Tough Conversations With Your Kids

    When it comes to being a father, Jelani Memory lives by a fairly simple motto: Kids are ready to have difficult conversations. He and his wife have put that idea into practice with their six kids and he’s also made it the anchor of A Kids Company About, a media company he co-founded in 2019 that focuses on developing books, podcasts and online courses rooted in helping parents better communicate with their kids about tough topics like racism, shame, gender, addiction and more. A Kids Company About drew international attention - and praise from Oprah Winfrey - as concerned parents flocked to the company’s line of books following the murder of George Floyd, a clear sign that Memory’s philosophy was resonating across the globe. On this episode of Paternal, Memory discusses how he and his wife spoke to their kids about Floyd’s murder, offers some of his strategies for connecting with kids over tough topics, and traces the roots of the company back to his own father, a prominent jazz musician and educator who left the family when Memory was just four years old.
    Learn more about Paternal and sign up for our newsletter at www.paternalpodcast.com. You can also email host Nick Firchau at nick@paternalpodcast.com with any comments or suggestions for men he should profile on the show. Make sure you subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts or wherever you’re listening, then keep an eye on your feed for new episodes.

    • 36 min
    #43 Jordan Shapiro: The 21st Century Father Figure

    #43 Jordan Shapiro: The 21st Century Father Figure

    It doesn’t really matter if you’ve seen a single episode of the 1950s sitcom Father Knows Best to understand the template for what a TV dad is supposed to be like. He works hard all day and inevitably serves as the family’s main source of some combination of three things: tough love, gentle fatherly insight or bumbling but endearing ineptitude.
    Jordan Shapiro is out to help break the mold. A father of four, senior fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at the Sesame Workshop, and former New York City restaurateur, Shapiro is the author of the 2021 release Father Figure: How To Be A Feminist Dad.
    On this episode of Paternal he weighs in on the psychology of fatherhood and why some dads today are struggling to reconcile the kind of father they want to be - open-minded, responsive, inclusive, and (gasp) feminist - with the template of what a dad is supposed to be, often rooted in examples set by their own fathers or by those TV dads we still see on our screens today.
    Learn more about Paternal and sign up for our newsletter at www.paternalpodcast.com. You can also email host Nick Firchau at nick@paternalpodcast.com with any comments or suggestions for men he should profile on the show. Make sure you subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts or wherever you’re listening, then keep an eye on your feed for new episodes.

    • 37 min
    #42 Joshua Mohr: Father, Son, Addict, Survivor

    #42 Joshua Mohr: Father, Son, Addict, Survivor

    Novelist and memoirist Joshua Mohr has managed to be a number of different men in his life. He’s been a writer, college professor, husband, father, son, addict and survivor, and he’s committed himself over the past few years to ensuring that his daughter understands exactly how all those men can fit into one lifetime. That effort culminated in the 2021 memoir Model Citizen, which looks back on Josh’s decades of drug and alcohol abuse in the bars and streets of San Francisco and subsequent health scares, all posited as proof to his young daughter that while he’s far from perfect, at least he’s honest. On this episode of Paternal, Josh examines how discord in the home as a young child led to years of addiction, as well as the narrative he created to explain the mindset of his father, who left his family when Josh was in grade school. He also discusses how a series of frightening strokes before the age of 40 set him on a path to being more forthcoming about his life in “Model Citizen,” and why it’s crucial to recognize and celebrate human complexities, especially among our parents.
    Learn more about Paternal and sign up for our newsletter at www.paternalpodcast.com. You can also email host Nick Firchau at nick@paternalpodcast.com with any comments or suggestions for men he should profile on the show. Make sure you subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts or wherever you’re listening, then keep an eye on your feed for new episodes.

    • 36 min
    #41 Chris Jones: When Life Becomes A Smoking Crater

    #41 Chris Jones: When Life Becomes A Smoking Crater

    Journalist and screenwriter Chris Jones spent 14 years as a contributing editor and writer-at-large for the men’s magazine Esquire, writing everything from celebrity profiles on George Clooney and Penelope Cruz to in-depth features on astronauts, soldiers and wild animal zookeepers. He twice won the National Magazine Award in Feature Writing for his work at the magazine, in large part because of his commitment to looking back on past events and dissecting how they happened. And what went wrong.
    On this episode of Paternal, Jones looks back on two major events in his life, and how they shaped his stance on what it means to be a man today. The anxiety from work, fatherhood, and marriage led him to nearly commit suicide twice more than a decade ago - he wrote about the experiences for Esquire in a candid essay in 2011 - and then his first marriage fell apart years later, leaving him to sort out fatherhood and what the second half of his life looks like now. “If your life becomes a smoking crater,” Jones says, “it’s little fixes everyday. You can’t fix it all at once.”
    If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts please visit suicidelifeline.org to access a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
    Learn more about Paternal and sign up for our newsletter at www.paternalpodcast.com. You can also email host Nick Firchau at nick@paternalpodcast.com with any comments or suggestions for men he should profile on the show. Make sure you subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts or wherever you’re listening, then keep an eye on your feed for new episodes.

    • 33 min
    #40 Dr. Michael Addis: The Isolation Of Modern Men

    #40 Dr. Michael Addis: The Isolation Of Modern Men

    The worst of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be over in the United States. More than half the U.S. population has received at one least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and new daily cases of the disease are at their lowest point since the early days of the pandemic in April 2020. But that doesn’t mean that the stress and anxiety building over the past 16 months is gone, especially for men still struggling to articulate or even identify how they’re feeling when it comes to careers, relationships, or the stress they’re feeling after COVID. Dr. Michael Addis is an award-winning research psychologist and a professor in the Department of Psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. He specializes in the links between social learning and social construction of masculinity, as well as the ways men experience, express and respond to the problems in their lives.
    On this episode of Paternal, Dr. Addis examines why most men are still reluctant to seek help dealing with the problems in their lives, and how men learn as young children to avoid showing vulnerability or pain to their peers. He also discusses the value of lasting male friendships and the challenges men face in making them, the psychological effects of parenting, and much more.
    Learn more about Dr. Addis’s 2011 release Invisible Men here.
    Learn more about Paternal and sign up for our newsletter at www.paternalpodcast.com. You can also email host Nick Firchau at nick@paternalpodcast.com with any comments or suggestions for men he should profile on the show. Make sure you subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts or wherever you’re listening, then keep an eye on your feed for new episodes.

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
71 Ratings

71 Ratings

jasmine.moir ,

About so much more than fatherhood

It’s so rare to hear men speak openly about what’s made them who they are and thoughtfully about who they want to become. The episodes are always touching and thought-provoking and beautifully produced.

Marc.d.71 ,

Outstanding

As a father and a son, and someone who is very passionate about those relationships, the topics here always inspire thought, even if not all situations resonate as much personally. And the infusion of broader themes around “modern manhood” make this a holistic package every guy should listen to (and probably their partners as well). Nick is also a tier 1 host with stellar production that rivals any podcast out there.

H_._P ,

Great Podcast

Really glad I found this podcast. As a new dad trying to figure things out, this is a really helpful resource. Also just very enjoyable. Highly recommend!

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