RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Conversations in barbershops can cover a variety of topics, including but never limited to sports and politics. But of a sticky Saturday morning, some men came together in Wake County as well as Durham for candid discussions of fatherhood, its challenges and highlights.
"What are some of the traditions that your father taught you, that you've passed on to your child?" Tony Craddock asked while at Paul's Barbershop in Raleigh.
"That's a good one," barber Paul Engram said. "Trying to pull people together. That was the role my daddy played in the family. He would always pull people together and I realized, in my group of friends, I was the one who pulled them together. So I learned my role. within my family and my friends."
"You pass that on to your son as well?," Craddock asked.
"Trying," Engram replied. "Definitely trying!"
Engram shared his approach to privacy for his 15 year old son at a time when minors going online unsupervised can lead to trouble.
"Don't you close up no doors around here. Sometimes is fine, but you're not going to do 3 or 4 hours cooped up in your room, and you think I'm not going to open up the door to see what's going' on? So I have a lot of old school traditions that my son doesn't understand yet," Engram said.
Paul's is one of several barbershops taking part in Barbershop Buzz, ahead of the 9th annual Fatherhood Conference. The keynote speaker is a familiar face, Dwayne Ballen, ABC11's former sports anchor.
"The North Carolina Fatherhood Conference will be held at the McKimmon Center at NC State University. It's a free event this year, in person. We would like all fathers, father figures to come out, participate," Craddock said.
"We're looking for all men in the community," Tony Lassiter added. "When I say all men, I mean all races are welcome, and we want to be diversified."
They expect hundreds of participants next month from across North Carolina, including honors for a Father of the Year selected from essays written by middle and high school students. Organizers said it's the 4th largest fatherhood conference in the nation.
Plans for the conference will be updated and its activities as June 18 gets closer.