What does fatherhood mean to you?
In the context of being a dad to both of my sons who have developmental disabilities, fatherhood means acceptance. It is important, of course, for all fathers to accept their children, but it is especially important for fathers of developmentally disabled children to do so.
With my two older children, I've learned that it is important to let them pursue their own path, let them have their own independence and to sometimes do tough love if they veer too much into an area that will not work for them. The challenge as a parent is to know when to engage and when to give your kids space.
I spend time with my boys to help them achieve what they can. And, I’m working for The Arc to help create acceptance and awareness of people with developmental disabilities throughout the community. I’m here to help people like Kennedy and Aidan.
What is the best part of being a dad?
I get to see a different way of appreciating life through my children. Kennedy has a natural, innate ability to love and appreciate people. He hugs everyone! That’s something I learn from.
What is your proudest moment as a dad?
I’ve had a lot of proud moments. My boys have their own pace. Kennedy completing potty training at age 5 was a huge accomplishment. Each milestone seems more significant and I’m proud to see them try.
What do you and your children do for fun?
We read together all the time. That’s the first thing they want me to do when I get home. My boys get more fun out of that than anything else.
What is the hardest part about being a dad?
Maintaining a high energy level at home despite a tough day. I always try to make sure I respond the right way when my kids need me.
What kind of dad do you strive to be?
I strive to always accept and be proud of my kids. I want to be someone who helps create a society where they are appreciated and loved. I want to make the world easier for them. Since the moment my boys were born, I wasn’t afraid of their needs. They’ve always been a positive and I want others to understand that.
Describe your funniest moment as a dad.
A few years ago, Kennedy was dancing to everything. One day he started dancing as the garage door opened!
What would you hope that your kids would say about you if asked what kind of a dad they have?
I hope that they would say that I always accepting and proud of them.
What is the most important piece of advice you’ve received about fatherhood?
To spend as much time as possible with your children.
What would you consider to be your most inspiring moment as a dad?
It’s not just one moment. I’m inspired by all of the funny and unique things the boys do!
Lloyd currently serves as the president and CEO of Arc Thrift Stores. The Arc is the nationwide organization devoted to improving the lives of people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. The 700 employee, non-profit organization generates more than $3 million on an annual basis for people living with disabilities. To learn more, please click here.