Our 271st Dad in the Limelight is Jeff Bangild. I want to thank Jeff for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.
1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
My name is Jeff. I’m a police detective in the city of Toronto. My main area of expertise is crimes against children. I have been a police officer for 16 years and thoroughly enjoy my occupation. I have come to meet some incredible people along the way. I am quite honored to be in a position where I can help children and their families.
I am an avid golfer and hockey enthusiast. Frankly, I enjoy participating in most sports.
My heritage is Scandinavian and I have been fortunate to visit “home” a number of times.
2) Tell me about your family
In 2008, I married the love of my life. She is truly an amazing woman and I am beyond humbled to be her other half. We spent our honeymoon in Bora Bora, an absolutely breath-taking retreat.
We have two wonderful children. Our daughter is about to start pre-school and she couldn’t be more excited. Our son is about to turn two years old and is almost as tall as his older sister.
Ryan is the epitome of determination. He was born with a rare neurological condition called Septo-optic dysplasia. This has left him legally blind with low muscle tone and a horrific epileptic condition known as infantile spasms. Ryan has significant global development issues. His determination prevents him from accepting any plateau for accomplishment. He learns at his own pace and we are there to encourage him and help in any way we can.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Family has been extremely important to me. We are blessed to have a very close family network. Their care and concern knows no bounds. Our families have been there for every turn in the road and I can’t possibly thank them enough.
Being a police officer, especially when my job involves protecting kids, I demand resolve and stop at nothing to make that happen. The challenge I now face is pouring every ounce of love and attention into the growth of both of my children. Medical uncertainties aside, two toddlers are a handful!
I praise my wife for her dedication and strength. She is an amazing mother and an incredible wife.
My wife was even okay with the idea of getting a rather large tattoo celebrating my kids and the vision struggles facing Ryan.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
As a father, it is extremely important to be involved in every aspect of your childrens’ lives. If it means wearing a tiara and sharing a cup of tea while watching My Little Pony, well, it’s what the good dad’s do!
Do whatever you can to make your children laugh. That giggle will resonate for the rest of your life. Always remember that hugs mean as much to you as it does for your kids. Children are naturally curious. Involve them in as much as you can throughout the day. That bond you establish is priceless.
5) Seeing that you (or your position) are in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? If you are currently not in the limelight per se, please still answer this in regards to how you balance parenthood and outside life.
My experiences between policing and parenting often run parallel. I truly believe that being a better parent, has allowed me to be a better police officer. The two can be interchangeable. I can really connect to a number of parents that I meet through my work.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
With the prevalence of social media, I have been able to connect with a number of parents who share similar interests and concerns. The support networks for parents of children with conditions that Ryan suffers from, have been very informative and have greatly increased my optimism.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
I look forward to all the milestones and inch-stones ahead of us. From every tickle-induced giggle to the homework headaches and from Ryan learning to crawl to the continued hugs and smiles. There will no doubt be troubling times. However, through the friends and families we have in our lives, we will overcome them and offer all the best for our kids that life has to offer.
If you have any questions for Jeff, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!