Here’s my interview, hope you like it.
Planning for the future…
… has always been a weakness for me.
I’ve never planned for anything more than a year in advance. I believe taking care of the present is more important, my future will be largely determined by my actions now. As Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda says “The past is history, the future is a mystery and today is a gift, that is why it is called the present”
So I work hard at the important things: love, lifestyle, happiness. I love: my partner, my family, my friends. I love my lifestyle: surfing, Cornwall, beaches, sunsets, fresh air in my lungs, good food in my belly. Happiness comes from ensuring the important things in my life are well loved.
My approach to parenting is very similar. I try to ignore subliminal questions about my daughter’s future. Will she be happy, clever, surf? It’s impossible to predict so why worry. Instead I put all my energy into learning and laughing together, today. Hopefully my enthusiasm for learning, laughing and surfing, will get soaked up by my little sponge.
Balance and Peace are…
… everything for me. I love a lot of things, but you can’t do all the things you love, all the time.
Life for me is about respecting and maintaining balance, with balance comes peace. I virtually gave up surfing when my daughter was born, but I became a grumpy shadow of my former self. Fortunately, my wonderful partner appreciates balance and peace as well, and ordered me to surf again.
I realised rather than fretting about the things I wasn’t doing, I should commit and enjoy to the things I was doing. Now when I spend time with my daughter, I pay attention to her little mannerisms, get plenty of hugs, play. When I surf, I inhale the sea air, savour the sight of sun saturating the waves, I paddle hard for every ride, I meditate during lulls.
I can’t go surfing all day, spend the morning in bed with my partner, or spend every day of the school holidays with my daughter. So I try to find a balance, a special blend.
Knowing my purpose
My purpose in life is to keep the two women in my life happy and feeling loved. But that also involves making sure I’m happy.
I am a father, lover and surfer. Without these elements of my identity I am no-one. As a father I must cherish and protect, play and learn. As a lover I must care and compliment, empower and adore. As a surfer I must ride, protect and respect the ocean.
An old sage surfer once said “There is nothing, nothing, more sad than a surfer who used to surf”. I would spend more time with my daughter and partner if I didn’t surf. But it is part of who I am, and I know that both my partner and daughter prefer a surfer, rather than someone who used to surf, as a dad and partner.
I realise surfing is alien to many, but the principle applies to all fathers. Don’t let the unique positive parts of your identity fade away with parental responsibility. Recognise their value, embrace them, share them with your children.
Past, Present and Future
My parents divorced when I was 9, they both remarried. So I grew up with two fathers. Both are good men and I’ve absorbed characteristics from both of them. I don’t see my childhood as broken. I experienced significant changes in my childhood, but they made me a stronger person.
I like to think I now have a broad balance of characteristics. I enjoy sharing stories with people from all walks of life. I love the sea. I’m laid back, enjoy a laugh, relish competition, love to learn. These traits I have inherited from the past, they shape my present and will become an heirloom for my daughter’s future.
If you’d like to know more about the 4 Fathers project and the work they do visit: http://4fathersjournal.com