It was 7.30AM Saturday morning. I stumbled out of bed, on my way to the kitchen to get my breakfast cereal, and investigated the living room. There was my son, curled up on the lounge, trying to sleep with his 2-year-old son sitting on top of him and jumping up and down while watching TV.
The scene was priceless. My son was trying to let his wife have an undisturbed sleep-in on a Saturday morning. Recovering from post-natal depression after their third child, she needs all the rest she can get, and they are living with us to aid in the recovery process.
My son, like I was, is a keen surfer, so later, while he was feeding the children breakfast, I asked him why he was not surfing. There has been a huge low sitting off the East Coast, pumping in some perfect swells. This particular morning it was offshore, and 6-9ft, which means the surf was bordering on perfect.
He mumbled something about going surfing the next morning, as he attended to the children. Both of us knew that the surf was dropping rapidly and would not be as good on the morrow, but such is a father’s life.
My son is a better father than I ever was. I still have so much to learn!
Four weeks ago, we featured an interview with Cody Qualls, the singer/songwriter behind the ‘Best Daddy’ song. Watch Part Two of the interview above. Cody, a father of four, in the first few minutes, talks about the reason behind the song:
“Well, Warwick, the song Best Daddy talks about a man’s transformation, priorities shifting from the things he thought would make him happy to the realisation of the core of his happiness, which is learning how to be the best Daddy. When you start welcoming children into the world as a father, you think you will help your kids grow up. That’s not what happens. Your children help you grow up.”
Later in the interview, I asked Cody about his song lyrics, where it says:
When I am walking through the door and coming home for the day
When I am tired and I need renewal from my family.
You would be pleading, Daddy, please don’t push it too hard
You would be reminding this man that he is worthy of love.
My comment to Cody Qualls was that every man needs to be loved by his family. That was a profound observation about the needs fathers have. Mothers have similar needs, but for some reason it is presumed that dads don’t really have such needs — we are superheroes in need of nothing. But the reverse is actually the case.
“So tell us, Cody, what is behind that line, ‘You would be reminding this man that he is worthy of love’?”, I asked.
“I have made so many mistakes as a man and as a father on the journey. I am 40 now and far from perfect. I try to wear that now as a badge. On my social media there are these wonderful family moments, captured as photos.
Yes, they are true, but when I write songs, I want to come from a place of authenticity, and one of the things I know best is how many mistakes I have made in my life. I am an expert at making mistakes and bad decisions. I am not as refined as a 40-year-old man should be. I surprise myself daily in my interactions with other human beings at how badly I handle things. I feel like a 25-year-old could have handled that better. The same goes for my failings with my interactions with my family, my children and my wife.”
“Getting back to your question about my family reminding me that I am worthy of love: my children, being 3 months, 4 years, 6 years and 8-years-old, adore me for the most part. Sometimes they get mad at me, but they are still of the age where they think I am a man in a cape to them. That’s been nourishing for me, because there is a shame you can carry as a human being, not just as a father, not just as a man. Many times, we look back and have regrets, shame or guilt. It is easier to see yourself in your darkness rather than your light. That continuum of living in your darkness does not serve anyone.
Does that mean we should brush off our mistakes? No, that’s not what I am saying! We must hold ourselves accountable on our stuff and do the work. When you always see yourself as less than you are in your fullness, that doesn’t serve anybody either.”
I find Cody Qualls’ wisdom as a 40-year-old father of four quite extraordinary. We all need encouragement as Dads, and we should take it from our family when we can. We all need, as fathers, to aspire to the light in our lives, and not dwell on or in the darkness. The words of Martin Luther King Jr. come to mind:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Watch the full interview. Cody Qualls is a very honest individual and father, not afraid to bare his soul to the world. It is the mark of a great poet, songwriter, author and father.
Truth is in short supply, especially hopeful truth, and Cody and the Qualls family are full of it. Yes, our children do help us grow up as men and fathers.
Our job is to enjoy the process rather than resist it.
Yours for Growing Dads,
PS: Only 4 more sleeps until the end of the Early Bird Discount for the Men’s Leadership Summit. Early bird pricing finishes at midnight, Thursday 23 July 2020.
The Men’s Leadership Summit will be held all day on Saturday 8 August, online via Zoom link. Check out the info here.
Watch the promo video, book here and save yourself a lot of money.