Our 284th Dad in the Limelight is author Paul Gillebaard . I want to thank Paul 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)
I am first and foremost a proud father. After that, I am a small business owner (manufacturer sales representative), high school track coach, and now an author (which I guess puts me in the “limelight” with my new book, Moon Hoax).
2) Tell me about your family
I’ve been happily married for over 20 years and am a “Dad of Divas,” having two beautiful daughters, Ashley (17) and Krystal (14).
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Being a father is one of the most rewarding positions in life and I never take the role for granted. Since there is no school to teach prospective parents on how to raise their children, we are all winging it from the get go. Though my daughters were both born with wonderful qualities, they were also given their own challenges, Ashley has ADD/ADHD, and Krystal has Type 1 diabetes. Each one of these disabilities has been a challenge to deal with.
Ashley was not diagnosed with ADD/ADHD until she was 15. Since my wife has a full time job and mine is flexible, I was often the parent helping with homework. The problem with an ADD/ADHD child is that they cannot focus, and thus they come across as being lazy and not caring. I put in long hours with Ashley sitting at the table working with her on her homework, unaware of her disability. We often had some heated battles during these study times. It was a big relief for both Ashley and I when she was diagnosed, learning she wasn’t lazy after all. Once this was discovered, it took the pressure off. I realized Ashley was a special needs child and we attacked homework in a much different manner. I have learned no matter how difficult it gets with an ADD/ADHD child, always show them love and support.
Krystal was 11 when she was diagnosed with diabetes. The toughest thing in the beginning with a diabetic child is sticking a needle in them to inject their insulin twice a day. In those early days, Krystal would often cry from the pain of the shot. Nothing breaks a parent’s heart more than inflicting pain on your child who has done nothing wrong. As a family, we have overcome those tough earlier days and now my daughter is a champion when it comes to shots and monitoring her own blood sugar levels.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
The most important thing you can give your child is time!
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.
Since I work out of my home, my business gives me the flexibility to spend time with my kids. My writing can be done anywhere (I have often written on my computer while waiting in the car for one of my daughter’s activities to finish). Fortunately Ashley is on the track team, so being one of her coaches has allowed me to be a part of her high school experience.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
My best role model was my father. There are many things I learned from him, but probably the most important was being open and talking things out with your children. My family tries to always keep an open line of communication and we never hold anything back. I understand neither I nor my kids are perfect, and we all will make mistakes as we experience life.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Every father will experience highs and lows with their children. Again, the biggest advice I can give is to spend time with your kids. By spending time and talking with them, you will get to know who they are and be a big part of their life, allowing you to be a major influence on whom they become. I am a firm believer that the type of person a child grows up to be is greatly due to the input/time put in by a parent.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
One memorable experience was when I made up stories on the spot for my kids when it was bed time. They shared a room together and I let each pick one character that would be in the story. I took turns lying next to each one as I proceeded to make up the story, having no idea where it would go. The tale always had a moral. Many times I would be falling asleep as I kept talking. I usually forgot the story by the next day, but not my kids. They would practically retell it, usually with joy on their face. In fact they still remember some of these stories today. This storytelling skill helped me write my novel, and I made sure to name a character after each one of my daughters.
Of course there have been many wonderful experiences, and I am looking forward to many more. I have enjoyed each stage of my children’s life.
If you have any questions for Paul, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!