Well, it was bound to happen at some point. It was inevitable that I sat down to hear some insights from the man who not only raised me, but continually inspires me to reach out and try to discover or do more.
Yep, this month we were lucky enough to get insights from Dear Old Dad Himself. It was an honest and eye opening conversation for me, and one I am sure will provide some thinking for you.
Let’s start sharing this month’s Dadhood Insights .
Something you didn’t expect from dadhood was…
How incredible and fun it all really is. You go from being this selfish thing to suddenly living for others. So much of your time is spent looking forward to seeing this dependent person grow and not need you.
It’s better than anything you could possible imagine.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a dad?
When I lost the chance to see and share time with my daughters due to the failure of my first marriage. I remember arriving at the house, everything was missing except a knife, a fork and a plate…I cannot remember, but I think there wasn’t even a bed for me to sleep in.
I couldn’t track her or the kids down for a whole week. At that point in time, my whole family was completely gone. It was one of the worst times of my whole life.
Since then, I have been so protective of the girls and, at times, I feel like I have missed out on a deeper relationship with them.
There was this stretch of six months when my eldest was 14 and lived with us – it was one of the best times in my life. I felt like I really got to know her for the first time in my life.
What advice would you give to dads facing challenges today?
The biggest challenge as a man and husband is managing the time you are there.
That moment when a baby first cries and you know it is real is incredible – it’s an amazing and terrifying moment you never forget. The first few years I felt pressure to go further up the ladder to earn a few more bucks to feed the family. It’s a giant trade off,the more you are away from the household (due to work), the more you financially may provide, but the less you really experience.
How do you learn how to be a dad?
By watching my father. My relationship with dad was harder to describe. I never had special moments of vulnerability, instead we spent a huge amount of time together while he was working outdoors.
What he did was good enough for me and showed me how to look after women and children – if I could build on what I had seen him do, I knew it would be good.
I’ve never read too many parenting books, it was more about speaking with like-minded people. I’ve always sought out older people with experience or people struggling over the same things as you who could act as mentors and care about what you were going through.
How are you similar or different to your dad?
There are a lot of things that are similar, but I think I do things differently in my role as a husband. I’m not the authoritarian male, I make a concerted effort in sharing decision making, helping out with the kids.
I’ve always been interested in what it means to be a good father or husband – I’ve always wanted to be married and share a journey with someone. I’m just lucky enough to have found someone wonderful who’s also taking the same journey at the same time as me!
Have you changed as a dad?
I’d like to think I’ve gotten better. I’ve learned the importance of fun – finding enjoyment in all things is key.
The thing I’ve realised is we try and push ourselves too hard at times. Things won’t be perfect and that’s alright. I’ve stuffed up by sometimes pushing my kids too hard to reach their highest levels.
As kids grow, they want to become young men and women looking ahead at the future, while we older men and women are beginning to look back at our careers or lives…while also feeling a need to provide for them (that feeling never fades away!).
The best dad would always…be there for more.
What do you think about these insights?
We’d love to hear from you, so please comment below!
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