You've probably heard Justin Coulson's voice on the airwaves before - here on Kinderling Kids Radio, but also during his career on commercial radio. He also has his own podcast, Happy Families, is an author of several parent books, and has six daughters (yes, six!). We ask him all about the delights of fatherhood.
1. What is your favourite thing about being a father?
Watching them develop. There’s the basic milestones like the first smile, the first steps, the first words, and so on. And then there’s the first day of school, the first piano lesson or sports game, and the first sleepover party. But what I really love is seeing them become moral, responsible humans. I love watching them wrestle with something that really challenges them and hearing the way they decide they’ll forge a pathway forward. After an interstate move, my 14 year-old said, “This is really challenging. I miss my friends and it’s not going so great. But I know if I have a good attitude that things will work out better than if I have a bad attitude, so I’m just going to keep giving it my best.” To me, that’s priceless.
Ahhh, and then there’s the hugs, the talks, and the unspeakably perfect trust I see in my kids’ eyes when they look at their mum or me. Hard to beat that.
2. What’s your favourite thing to do with your children?
Laugh. And hug. And be together. There’s also something magical about those still, quiet moments where I can watch them without them knowing, and see the breathtaking miracle that they are.
3. What is the thing you miss most about life pre-children?
Disposable income! With six kids – including three in their teens – they’re really chewing through the cash! And I miss being able to select the music I listen to.
4. What has been the biggest surprise for you about being a father?
A couple of things. First, I cannot believe how hard it is. Second, the peaks and valleys are indescribable. The sadnesses, sorrows, and disappointments create aches that feel like a thousand lifetimes couldn’t repair. Yet the highs are so breathtaking that when we experience them our hearts feel like they’ll explode with joy. Now and then I find that the joy bubbles out of my eyes because I can’t keep it in.
5. What does ‘me time’ look like for you?
It doesn’t happen much as you can imagine. I get up early and ride my bike for me time. But my preference is typically for ‘we time’ over ‘me time’. It makes everyone happier.
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