Dad Talk:

Brek

Standing at the cusp of first-time parenthood, Brek sat down with us to share his excitement, concerns and goals — as well as the men whose examples he's ready to follow.

We thought it would be interesting to get your take as someone going into this whole fatherhood thing. Tell me a little bit about life growing up for you and what you saw in your dad that you might want to emulate now going forward? I mean, you're at this point where it's about to happen.

I mean, my dad, if you've met my dad, my dad is one of those people that's like — everybody loves him. They never say a bad word about him. He's always been very even-tempered. I don't know, I feel pretty much like the father figure that everybody looks for, right? I've probably seen him be mad, like, three times my entire life. And I'm pretty sure all of them were at me, you know, not my siblings. But yeah, I feel like he's just that stereotypical dad in a good way that you know, that you want to look up to.

Do you feel a degree of pressure from that, you know, like to live up to that standard?

Yes. And no, I'm just because that's what I want to be with myself. And so I feel like that it's not necessarily pressure. It's just like, a goal that I strive towards, you know, eventually getting to be to that point.

So I mean, you're fairly close to this being real, right? Would you explain your feelings about it?

I feel like at this point, I've had, what, five and a half months to kind of prepare — I don't know —I feel like I'm a pretty even-keeled person as well. And so I'm definitely excited. But I'm just looking forward to it — anxious in a good way, I think, at this point.

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What kind of dad do you think you're gonna be? 

Yeah, I think, you know, the goal is obviously to be a lot like my dad. I don't know, I feel like it's just kind of one of those "find out in the moment and see things", but that's kind of the goal, is to be more patient and be more of that. A friend, but still a parent situation, right? Where I feel like hopefully, I can develop that trust with them that they can come to me if they have issues or things like that. But at the end of the day, you're still the parent, right? And still have to raise your kids instead of just being their best friend and letting them do whatever they want. Right?

That's a hard balance, I think, you know, to know where to be approachable, like that. Tell me what you think about that — there's this kind of contrast between sheltering and preparing. Maybe reflect on what you think about that balance.

Um, I think, at the end of the day, it's gonna be a fine line, regardless, right? I don't think you're ever going to walk that line perfectly. But yeah, I feel like it's, it's just like, a setting boundaries type thing. "Hey, you know, mistakes are gonna happen, you're, you're gonna falter. And I want you to be able to come to me and have those discussions — and have those things where I can help you through those." But also, being able to, you know, discipline when it's necessary and have them understand the reason behind the discipline. I don't ever want it to be a "because I said so"-type thing, because that comes off very much "Well, now I'm not approachable," I guess. And so, yeah, I feel like it's a fine line that I don't think anybody's ever gonna walk perfectly, but we'll see.

How do you see that? Like preparation for the challenges of life while also allowing them to be a kid?

You know, for me, I feel like that just comes down to, like, allowing them to fail and to learn and grow and kind of go through their own figuring out of life, and obviously, you know, you want to be able to help them avoid a lot of those pitfalls and things like that. But, you know, being able to realize that, yes, they are going to be kids for you know, 18 years or whatever, right, but they are going to be adults the rest of their life. And so being able to, you know, teach them those responsibilities, all the while allowing them to have fun and allowing them to go out and make mistakes and eat dirt and you know, skin their knees or whatever, you know?? It's just  —that's part of being a kid and I think just allowing those things to happen.

Were there any other father figure-type men in your life, that maybe aren't your dad, that helped shape who you are, and how you want to be as a dad?

The one that probably sticks out to me the most is my grandpa. He's always been the type of person that — he's the first person you call with any problems. He's always there ,ready to help. He's just, you know, the stereotypical handyman, he can fix anything. Yeah, he's been a good role model in that aspect of things.

You're about to raise it a boy. And with what we might say, like, traditional masculinity has looked like, in the past, maybe how you were raised, or your grandpa or your dad was raised. How would you like to teach your son about what being a man is, in 2022?

I think the first thing that I'm going to be able to teach is through example, because obviously, hopefully one day, he's going to be a husband as well. And so just setting that example of how I treat my wife, because that's going to be, I think, ultimately, what he ends up doing in the future, right? For good or for bad. So just being the man of the house — to step up. Obviously, he'll be the oldest of our hopefully more children to come. And so just being able to assume those responsibilities and really be able to, I guess, live up to his potential as a man and, you know, be the type of man that hopefully I'm going to become and that he can look up to and live up to that as well. Yeah, and hopefully surpass me.

Let's fast forward 50 years, 60 years into the future, when somebody asks your son to describe you, and looking back on his dad. How would you want him to describe you?

That's a good question. Probably one of the first things that sticks out to me is "Consistent." I think, so many times, people, you know, whether that's parenting or things, like, they just don't know what to expect a lot of the time, and just be able to be that constant source that that my kids can come to — or their grandkids or things like that — you know, can come to and, and just have that consistency in somebody that they know what they're getting right there. Hopefully, you know, a loving, caring, kind — you know, hard working, somebody that's always there and willing to take the time. And I think that's one of my biggest goals is to be able to get to a point where I have the time that I can really be there for them and be present. You know, I always think of, you know, kids spell love T-I-M-E, and being able to give them "presence" instead of just "presents," like gifts, right? And so just being available, I think, is one of the biggest things that I would I would hope for being there for my kids and future grandkids.

Yeah, totally — it's a tough balance. You've got to work, you've got all this other stuff, but finding, prioritizing that time, that attention, that effort of being at their soccer games —  that's a big one. 

Obviously, going into fatherhood, I don't know what to expect. I mean, you always hear people's opinions and their experiences and those are things that you can obviously learn from, but ultimately, at the end of the day, it's going to be a learning experience and we're just gonna you know, hop on the bull and just see where it takes us. So obviously, we'll see and hopefully I do well. But the good thing is, you know, as a husband, I have a wife that I know she's going to kill it. I always tell people she's my better three-quarters, she's not even my better half, so that's the great thing of knowing that I'm not going to be on it alone. And we're going to just ride this roller coaster together.

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