Abe Borzykowski, right, with his two sons, Bryan (left) and David, and Abe's newest grandchild, pose for a photo in Winnipeg, Feb. 14, 2020. (Photo: Lainie Filkow)

Topics: Ethical Living | Relationships

What I’d tell myself as a new dad

Five fathers give advice to their younger selves

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Becoming a parent requires a leap of faith and a lot of learning on the job. Read on for hard-won parenting advice these dads would have offered their younger-parent selves.

Kids are very observant — they notice more than you realize. As a parent you want to make sure what your kids see is the most positive thing that you can demonstrate. So do things with your whole heart, and look for things that you’re passionate about and shoot for those goals.

Abe Borzykowski, age 66

Consultant

Winnipeg


John Hoffman, far right, stands with sons (from left to right) Aaron, Jesse, and Riley at Aaron’s wedding in September 2018. (Photo: Kristen Mommertz)

If you tune into your kid’s stress, it’ll help you be a little more sympathetic and little less angry and frustrated… You want your kid to pick up that you’re on their side; not that you’re just going to give them everything that they want, but you’re trying to help them.

John Hoffman, age 66

Writer

Peterborough, Ont.


Anthony DeGazon, left, with Rachel DeGazon and children Isaiah, Elliah and Josiah, pose for a Christmas card photo in 2017. (Photo: Anthony DeGazon)

The world tells you that you have to have the biggest house, but our boys growing up together in the same room, in a neighbourhood where everybody had their own floor, was something neat. We didn’t finish our basement and I’m glad, because it forced everybody to be together on the main floor in the kitchen or the room where the TV was. We were pretty intentional about those kinds of things. Being intentional and trying to make the right decision, that’s all you’re accountable for.

Anthony DeGazon, age 53

Music school co-owner

Mississauga, Ont.


John Sloan, Jillian Poole, Melissa Martins, Ryan Poole, Hudson Poole, Bill Poole and Dawne Poole take a photo during Christmas 2018. (Photo courtesy Bill Poole)

We used to go to my friend’s cottage over the Christmas break. And I remember, once at the cottage when my son, Ryan, was small, he tugged at my sweatpants and said, I like you better in your sweatpants than I do your business clothes. So, I would tell a young father to build traditions into his family life, because that’s what your kids will remember.

Bill Poole, age 74

Financial advisory firm partner

Rockwood, Ont.


It took getting divorced and being thrown into the deep end of parenting to actually become a parent in the way that you should be. I was very hands-on with my kids before, but now, I try to focus on quality activities, like getting to know them on a more personal level, rather than grand gestures.

David Kinlough, age 44

Sales director

Oakville, Ont.

 

These interviews have been condensed and edited. 

More on Broadview: A call to prayer brought me closer to my father


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Alex Mlynek is a Toronto-based writer and editor. She’s written for such publications as Today’s Parent, Best Health and Quill & Quire.

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