What does fatherhood mean to you?
Mentoring children to become successful people. Nurturing their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual development.
What is the best part of being a dad?
Celebrating the highs and working through the lows. Being a constant source of love and inspiration in their lives.
What is your proudest moment as a dad?
Oh, there are too many to name. It’s usually the little things - like how they help someone without being asked, doing the abnormal things in life and remembering their values and priorities when it’s the hardest.
What do you and your children do for fun?
We enjoy just spending any time together. Family trips are the greatest due to the many unexpected events that crop up and watching how we all respond.
What is the hardest part about being a dad?
When you love your children nothing seems to be hard. You enjoy all the ups and downs and you’re committed to the journey.
What kind of dad do you strive to be?
Balanced. It takes both love and discipline to develop the skills necessary to make it life. Be there to help guide them - but not make choices for them. Allow them to fail - motivate them to succeed. Sometimes you have to be the potter and other times the blacksmith.
Describe your funniest moment as a dad.
Again there are too many to name. In reality, our whole family can be very goofy at times. We don’t have too many inhibitions and we’ve had many laughs.
What would you hope that your kids would say about you if asked what kind of a dad they have?
A Dad who loved them, appreciated their uniqueness and was a good example as a person, father and husband. A man who knew the way, showed the way and went the way.
What is the most important piece of advice you’ve received about fatherhood?
Children are like clams, they only open up once in awhile and never exactly in the same circumstances or times.
You need to be there when they do - it’s when they need you the most.
I don’t buy the quality time vs. quantity time argument. My wife has been awesome about being there all the time! I have tried to be there as much as possible. Only by being around a bunch can you help them when they are really ready for it and need it.
I also read an article about dads leaving their daughters when they need them the most. Meaning that when girls reach puberty dad’s usually turn them over to mom. And as girls go through maturation, dad becomes distant and then the two have a tough time relating on sensitive subjects. So dad’s should talk about sex, boys and the like before that happens. Prevent the barriers from coming up. Be up front about life and openly discuss it.
Similarly be open and honest about the issues that will affect them every day. Drugs, alcohol, sex, etc- there are many issues affecting our youth every day- open communication can help them navigate rough waters.
Lastly, be a great example. What you do means more than what you say. If you don’t want your children to drink, don’t drink yourself. They will follow your lead because the apple does not fall far from the tree. Children will follow the example (or lack thereof) given by their parents - good or bad.
What would you consider to be your most inspiring moment as a dad?
Again, there are too many to name. I am also dad to 100+ kids every year. They inspire me as well. When you can get a young person to be more than they thought they could, when you get them to pour through the smoke of life to get to the clear sky, when you get them to truly appreciate the simple beauty of life, to be abnormal, that always brings warmth to the heart and tear to the face. I am blessed because there have been many of those moments.
For more on Coach Hawkins' relationship with his son Cody, check out this recent ESPN article on fathers coaching their sons.