The team at Dads4Kids is so thankful to the three daring dads who featured in the Decorate Dad Challenge video. One of those amazing dads is Ashton Reed.
Last Thursday, Ashton and his three beautiful children agreed to be featured in the TV story about why he took the Decorate Dad Challenge so seriously. To the joy of his children, they had the opportunity to decorate Dad all over again for the WIN News TV cameraman. Watch the original 40-second feature video below to capture the intense joy of the moment.
Every dad has his story, so I decided to ask Ashton to share his story and also include his Top Three Tips for being a great Dad.
I had a great mum and dad, but sadly they split up when I was 6 years old. It rocked me to my core. I often wondered if it was something that I did that caused it, which of course is a ridiculous thought. Nonetheless, it was a real thought for me. I think it affected my two older siblings more than me as they had the job of looking after me.
They used to joke with me that our family breakup would mean more presents for us at Christmas time. Cracking these jokes was just one more way of covering up the pain that the separation caused us as children. We each would have gladly forgone all the Christmas presents in the world for our family’s reunification. Alas that was not to be.
The good news is that I used to see my Dad every second weekend and yes, he loved me. The other good news is both my mother and father, although separated, have preserved an amicable relationship over the years. This is a real credit to them.
Obviously, my levels of insecurity were raised massively by my parents’ breakup, but I am thankful for my faith and my church community that helped me weather the storm. I have friends who didn’t make it, so I am so grateful that I am still here.
I have used the pain from growing up in a broken family as my main motivator for having a great marriage now. Marriage today can be like a football contract. One partner gets a better offer, so they join a different club. The commitment level just does not exist in our deeply fractured society. My parents’ divorce was the first one in our family line. Thankfully, on my wife’s side they have no divorce. Fractured people produce fractured families — like produces like.
I am sure I have done my wife’s head in more often than not, but we both have a strong commitment to each other. We both refuse to call each other names when we have arguments. Under my breath, I might think some horrible words, but I refuse to say them. She does the same. Lest said, soonest mended, is the saying we both live by.
I am 33 years of age and I have been married for ten years. All marriages have their ups and downs. At times, we have both wanted to go our separate ways, but we are determined to give it our best shot and not give up.
I can remember working on a building site with a big Island man, who told me in an expletive-laden rant, “the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. That is bulls***! It is not greener; it is just better watered”.
I can assure you his wisdom used a lot more colourful language than that, but it really got to me. My friend was right, I have seen the results of a broken marriage and there is no way I am going to put my kids through that.
Mind you, sometimes I get complacent and start taking my beautiful wife and three children for granted. That’s why I believe in developing an ‘attitude of gratitude’.
Often, when I drive to work in the morning, I recount the many joys my family brings me and what a forgiving wife I have. I often verbalise my thankful thoughts as I drive in the car. A great man once said, “You shall have whatever you say.” Words are powerful; ‘death and life are in the power of the tongue’ is a quote from Proverbs. It is so important as a father to get your conversation right.
You ask what are my Top Three Tips for being a father?
1. Both the easiest and the hardest: Love Your Wife. Get this one right and everything else will look after itself.
2. Love is the Key! I would really love to be more patient with my kids. They know how to push my buttons. I don’t want to be another ‘angry dad’, so I just constantly remind myself to love them more and not get angry. I know it sounds funny, but that is what I do.
3. Slow Down and Enjoy the Moment. Don’t fill your life up. Find the moments and enjoy them. Sometimes when I put the kids in the bath, I am tempted to leave them there and do the dishes or something. That’s the moment I pull up a stool and sit there, in the bathroom, and play with them. Yes, I might get a bit wet from time to time, but you have to grab the moments. One day they will be grown up, and you can’t get those moments back.
We got a lotta homework this week. Ashton’s three tips are fantastic, but I will simplify it for you.
Grab the moments. Carpe Diem — Seize the Day.
“To grab the moments with your children, you first have to create them.”
Grab the Moments,
PS: Can I be so bold as to suggest that the Decorate Dad Challenge is one of the ways you can do just that.