Dads we admire.

Dads we admire.

I gotta' be honest, I'm feeling pretty emotional this Father's Day... not just because of the beautiful words of wisdom you're about to read in this journal, but because like so many others, I am missing my Dad and I don't know when I'll see him next.   
To the Dad’s that show their love loudly, that bear hug you at every chance.
To the Dad’s that show their love silently, through their actions & selfless gestures.
And to the Dad’s that are no longer with us, that are missed dearly.

Sage And ClareDad, Jem and I at the Camille shoot in Daylesford. Image cred: @armellehabib

There really is no one quite like ya’ Dad and bless their little quirks…….. wearing shorts in winter, mowing the lawn that’s got no grass (on a Saturday at 7am), blurting out sworn secrets in front of the family, watching the weather each night as if it is life or death, their brutal honesty and their terrible jokes. On a serious note though, I’m so grateful for you Dad (if you’re reading this), for all you’ve taught me, for all you do for me and for just being there. Shoutout to you also Chris, for showing our fam-bam the love + care you do everyday.
Now, over to our Father’s Day journal (tear jerker alert!) and if you know a Dad who’d love to read this today… be sure to forward it on. We caught up with a bunch of Dad’s we *reaaaally* admire and asked them about their journey so far as a parent. Their responses were all kinds of wonderful and we hope you enjoy reading them, but before you go, don’t forget to tell your Dad/father figure that you love him today. And if you’re so lucky, squeeze him really hard. Lastly, don’t forget to be there for those that find today difficult too. 

Brian - AKA Dad/ BB/ Mr. Who Took My Stapler - @twiggargerie 

Sage And ClareOne of our last moments working together at Sage x Clare before Dad jetted off to The Sunshine Coast to live :( ... we miss you everyday Dad!

Who are you a father to?

Phoebe & Jemma Bell... my twins!

What’s fatherhood taught you so far?

So much to think about………….early days with twins is being the most efficient changer of nappies, to finding another level of patience that you just have to develop, to loving the girls slowly showing their personalities, to not quite understanding how you can develop such a deep degree of love and care, to being unsure if you are being a good parent or not, but like all other parents, you soldier on and just trust your children will turn out ok, trying to decipher the ongoing advice you get from others about bringing up your children and that’s just the early years, learning not to judge other parents and realising very quickly that dummies are not a bad thing! 

And of course I was basically the 3rd twin as Annie used to say, as given any opportunity to play with the girls, I was there in spades! In the later years…………treating the girls as young adults and I said at the girls 21st, that I stopped worrying about them when they were about 12 or 13, as they seemed very sorted, never stopped caring of course. And to love them unconditionally and to be open and honest with them and they can be open and honest with you. And to try to be there for them always.

And now they have their own children and you need to leave them to experience bringing up their own kids and just being a helping hand when needed but not to interfere. You have to let them make their own mistakes and work out what works and what doesn’t. And I had the absolute privilege of working with the girls for about 5 years which was an amazing experience and the fact that we worked so very well together without any effort, was very rewarding. 

How have traditional + patriarchal versions of fatherhood impacted your own experience of fatherhood? Has this been challenging or not for you?

To be honest I had no thought of any versions of fatherhood, other than to love and care for the girls. All I know is that I can only conjure up great and many funny memories of growing up with them and watching them develop into who they are today and I am very proud that I have played a role in that. There is no book or version of parenthood that really prepares you anyway.

What’s a key lesson you learnt from your own father, or a father figure, that you’ve taken into your own journey?

My father was a typical hardworking man, his main aim was to provide food and a roof over our heads. He was a fairly tough but fair man, but I never really wanted for anything and was happy with what we had, but to be honest I didn’t know any different. Back then we didn’t have many outside influences as living in country South Australia we had no TV until I was about 12, there was obviously no internet and we had to make our own fun. My Dad though was not overly loving nor demonstrative and looking back just taught me just to get on with your lot and get things done. “Hard work will never kill you” was one of his sayings. So one thing I learnt was that I would be more loving and demonstrative when bringing up my own children and its ok to tell them “I love you” as I cannot recall my Dad ever saying that to me. I left home at about 18 and moved away from home and that may have been a good thing? For all that, Dad and I had some good times together playing crib over a few (too many) beers, going fishing and we generally got on fine. Dad died recently at 96 and while I was somewhat relieved at the time due to his deterioration, he has popped into my thoughts quite a bit.

What's your fave thing to do with your child/children?

Pretty basic really as I am more than happy just being with them and their families, enjoying chats with them both anytime. We just all get on very well and it's an easy thing to be in their company anytime, any place.

Vince - Founder of Rollie Nation. 

Sage And ClareI feel so grateful to have collaborated with Vince & his incredible team at Rollie Nation (twice now). Watch our chat together from the most recent collab here. 

Who are you a father to?

Hugo Guy Lebon (8yr Boy) and Indie Hunter Lebon (6yr Girl)

What’s fatherhood taught you so far?

Fatherhood has taught me the power of perspective in life. The Chinese Proverb of 'Sai Weng Lost His Horse' says it best. Life is constantly throwing you curve balls (and this is amplified once you have kids), but it’s all about perspective, how do know if it’s good or bad? Something that is first perceived as negative can lead to an unexpected, beautiful outcome and vice versa.

How have traditional + patriarchal versions of fatherhood impacted your own experience of fatherhood? Has this been challenging or not for you?

I tend to not give too much thought to living up to a what a traditional view of “what it is to be a man” or “fatherhood” should look like. Fatherhood is a journey, not a destination; Each child and generational challenges are different and shouldn’t be approached the same way.

What’s a key lesson you learnt from your own father, or a father figure, that you’ve taken into your own journey?

I try to lead by example (I got this from my dad). I (and my family) tend to follow our hearts – we take risks, encourage creative thinking/action and happy to put in the work towards something that drives our value system; my job is to help my kids find and unlock the confidence within them to peruse the life they want.

What's your fave thing to do with your child/children?

I spend a day each month one-on-one with each child; coined “Daddy and Hugo day” or “Daddy and Indie day”. This is a highlight for us all and the excitement in anticipation before and after is as much fun as the actually day. It’s an opportunity for them to know they have me, and my sole attention – it’s amazing how much you learn about them when it’s just the two of you.

Ben Crowe - Founder of Mojo Crowe 

Sage And ClareI came across Ben Crowe after listening to his podcast interview on 'The Imperfects' & it left me in complete awe. Listening to his advice throughout this endearing chat was completely life-changing! Do yourself a favour and give it a listen here. 

Who are you a father to?

Harry Daniel (23), Sam Patrick (21) and Ned William (18). Harry and Sam were both made in Hong Kong (I lived there with Nike) and Ned was born back home in Melbourne . 

What’s fatherhood taught you so far?

Fatherhood has taught me that the stupidest thing you can ever do is teach your kids how to surf better than you, because now I never get a wave. 

Aside from that it’s also taught me there’s no greater joy nor greater commitment in life than raising kids from toddlers to teenagers into young adults and how important it is to try and teach them to love themselves unconditionally and to embrace their weird and own their story. Lastly, it’s also taught me that true happiness is quite simply, to love and be loved, and that memories are always best experienced when shared.

How have traditional + patriarchal versions of fatherhood impacted your own experience of fatherhood? Has this been challenging or not for you?

Dad was definitely an outlier in that while his generation may have viewed vulnerability as a weakness and showed little emotion, Dad embraced vulnerability in a big way and always told me he loved me and gave massive hugs and kisses. So I didn’t really feel like I had to alter my own approach to Dad’s generation, because my Dad got it so right. And while he unfortunately died when I was 16 yrs old, he set me up pretty well and my memory of his love for me is one of unconditional love, which is a pretty cool way to remember and emulate your Dad!

What’s a key lesson you learnt from your own father, or a father figure, that you’ve taken into your own journey?

My Dad was a larrikin who loved making people laugh but also helping people, especially his own family. He was incredibly interested in others, always looking out for people, but also incredibly funny and loved to celebrate life and the imperfections of life better than anyone I’ve ever known. He was also devoted to his wife and his mum, and I guess I’ve tried to copy as much of those traits as I could, but am definitely a work in progress.

What's your fave thing to do with your child/children?

I love nothing more than going for an early morning dawn patrol surf with my 3 boys down at Fairhaven over summer and after we surf the morning glass, go have a smashed avo & bacon breakfast with a large latte at Onda cafe and argue like crazy who got the best wave. I never win :(

Chris - AKA my hubby!

 Sage And ClareThanks goodness we managed to get this little fam trip in at Daylesford pre-lockdown... not too sure what Judie Pie was trying to do here to his sis here. 😂

Who are you a father to?

I’m very lucky to have two beautiful and healthy kids, Jude who’s nearly 5 and Heidi who’s just turned 1. 

What’s fatherhood taught you so far?

Many, many things but importantly, that life is short and we shouldn't wish the time away, thinking that things will be easier in a year or when they start school etc. Every step has its own set of challenges and rewards and its important to do your best to be present and enjoy the time, they’re never going to be any younger and we’re so lucky to have them in our lives. 

How have traditional + patriarchal versions of fatherhood impacted your own experience of fatherhood? Has this been challenging or not for you?

I grew up in a very traditional household where dad worked in the city and mum taught at primary school and also looked after the kids. When we first had Jude, I probably assumed that traditional dad role, working full time with Pheebs looking after Jude and having to drop everything to manage the juggle (whilst also trying to build Sage x Clare). It took me a few years to realise that this imbalance wasn’t going to work long term for us and as a result, as the business grew (and Pheeb's hips got worse), I progressively dropped down from working full time in the CBD to 3 days a week and now doing one day in my day job and spreading the balance across the business and family. I would now call myself a modern dad, Pheebs and I share the home economics 50/50 and also share the day to day of looking after the kids. We’re very lucky to now have a fair bit of flexibility to balance the juggle that is parenting.   

What’s a key lesson you learnt from your own father, or a father figure, that you’ve taken into your own journey?

Growing up, my dad was tough, but fair and he also worked bloody hard, day in, day out for many years to build an amazing life for our family. One of his main priorities in life is making sure that the broader family stay close and he’s always working on ways to bring us all together. His actions have instilled similar traits in me, where family is everything and Pheebs and I, like most parents, both work very hard to build the life we want for us and the kids.  

What's your fave thing to do with your child/children?

It ebbs and flows all the time as they move through different stages of development, but at the moment, it’s probably swimming lessons (when lockdown’s permit). It's a lot of fun being in the pool with Heidi and watching Jude being all independent, taking instruction from the teacher and also watching him do things that I know he’s scared of and watching him being brave. We also do a lot of bush walks, bike rides, lego and building cubbies which are always fun.

Al - Co-Founder of Al + Imo Handmade

sage and clareI met Al + Imo last year after buying a bed + desk custom-made design from them... FYI they're freakin' legends! Find out more about this husband + wife duo in our recent journal interview with them here. 

Who are you a father to?

I am a father to my beautiful 4 month old daughter Marigold “Goldie”. 

What’s fatherhood taught you so far?

So far it has taught me a lot about family and the importance of my role as support to imo in the early days. It’s cliché, but you learn a lot about patience. It’s taught me to slow down and appreciate the little things like a smile! 

How have traditional + patriarchal versions of fatherhood impacted your own experience of fatherhood? Has this been challenging or not for you?

I grew up in a family with two working parents that have really taught me about equality in the household and there was never really one main breadwinner. Mum and dad worked well as a team and still do to this day and I think Imo and myself have a similar way of working through things together. There have been many strong women dating back generations in my family and I am also lucky to have married one myself.

What’s a key lesson you learnt from your own father, or a father figure, that you’ve taken into your own journey?

Looking back I think he taught me to be passionate and hardworking and to do the things you love to do. He is a theatre set designer and has always inspired me to be creative and follow my own passions. There are so many things I’ve learnt like the previous question he and my mum taught me to respect each other and be kind.

What's your fave thing to do with your child/children?

I love to get Goldie out of her bed in the morning and see her big eyes light up, and recently she’s been starting to laugh a lot which is absolutely heart melting. Also dancing together is always a good time.

 

How lucky are we to have men like these in our lives?! To all the Father's/Father figures out there, I hope you know how loved you are - today and every other day. Okayyy gotta' go, I'm off to hug Chris and FaceTime Dad. X


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