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13 Mar 2020

On Becoming a Dad

Toddler . Written by Parent Village

My dad wasn’t around much when I grew up, but as a young child I would lean in to the wind on the stormy west coast and feel the strong winds hold me. At these times I felt joyful and alive, trusting in the eternal strength of the wind.

On long summer days my mother would lie for hours on the warm black sands of Maori Bay while the sand dunes took care of her son. I was a brave explorer, jumping from the highest and steepest protrusions of sand, searching for the boundary between fear and ability. My mother learned to trust in my judgement, and the black sand caught me every time.

As a teenager with everything to prove I would paddle out in the most violent storms and fight my way through the waves, screaming and laughing. At these times the ocean held my anger without judgement, but never backed down. Sometimes I would make it past the breakers, and feel immensely proud. Other times I would be washed around the headland, and walk home tired after the fight. Always, I left everything in the ocean.

Then as a young man I turned to the ocean for guidance, the only force I could touch strong enough for me to fully trust. Wisdom was offered in the textured reflections of the ocean surface if I was still enough to listen.

When I found out I was about to become a dad myself the storm raged inside and I ran straight to the beach. On that day, the ocean was calm.  

My dad wasn’t around much when I grew up, but I know how to be a dad.


Author: Rowan Aish, co-founder of Parent Village, Mental Health and Family Support Worker, Surfer.