Our 378th Dad in the Limelight is Mikkel Finsen. I want to thank Mikel for being a part of the Dads in the Limelight 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 Mikkel Finsen (Danish for Michael) and I’m a 41 year young Danish born and breed, who immigrated to the US in 2011, after having spent 14 years on the beautiful Emerald Isle (Ireland).
- Like so many awesome Dads in the Limelight, I attempt to play several roles; father, husband, colleague and friend. I work as an IT Director, and as a result I love technology, games and gadgets.
- In my spare time I enjoy experimenting on the BBQ, play Lego with the kids, write on my blog site (www.judgebrix.com) and spend time with my family.
2) Tell me about your family
- I met my wonderful wife in Ireland, where we started our family and 16 years later we have three amazing kids; Emily 9, Christian 8 and Jasmine 3.
- Our son was born with Down Syndrome and he has really been an angel sent to us; his laughter and love is non-stop.
- I lost my father some years ago to cancer, which was very difficult given I was living abroad when it happened. My mum and sister still live in Denmark, but we stay in touch using the Internet, and we get the odd visitors as well.
- The kids, my wife and I love to exploring the areas we live in and spend many hours driving around both in Ireland and the US, seeing all these new amazing sights and events. We’ve visited a few Caribbean locations with the kids, meeting new cultures and experiencing amazing challenges such as zip line with the kids across the Costa Rican rain forest.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
- Firstly, despite what many people might suggest, there are no book or manual for being a good father … or being a parent. Yes, you can get a few books, but they are generic and rarely apply to your experiences; and I had to learn as we went along.
- Each of our kids was born differently healthy and strong, but these were extremely emotional and stressful. And, it’s not easy to see your child getting surgery at a very young age, but these moments have made me a much stronger person and father.
- My oldest daughter had surgery when she was only ten months old and that really tested my fatherly boundaries. Your child was in so much pain afterwards, but there’s nothing I could do, other than comforting her. It also made me realize that kids are very resilient and strong, battling through illness and pain.
- The three kids are amazing together and play very well. They look out for each other, but the youngest is the biggest handful. She wants to keep up with her siblings and will do anything possible to get attention.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
- Kids are like sponges and will suck up all the bad behaviors you display, so consider this before you take action. It’s extremely important that you are their role model. Many times they do not necessarily understand the consequences of their actions, but we need to guide them and encourage them to keep trying.
- If you do need to give out to them for misbehaving or breaking stuff, then don’t drag it out. Point out to them the mistake they made and then move on. Lingering and punishing for longer durations is not ideal
- AND, there is no manual, so you have to do what works for you and your family. All kids are different, so what works for one parent might not work for you.
- I normally remember the things my dad did well when raising me, and try to improve on his techniques. He was firm with me, but allowed me plenty of room to try out my skills. He supported me with everything I did.
- My wife and I also have one-on-one kids events, where I take e.g. my son to a soccer game. This gives us an opportunity to bond further with our kids, as it can often be challenging to give each kid attention – especially when we have three kids.
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.
- Work-Life balance is essential to a good home. Income is less important as long as you have a loving home, happy kids and building moments together. Although I’m an IT Director, I still attempt to leave work at the office and not bring home conference calls or negative moments. It’s vital for me that the kids have my 100% attention when they need it, and when they don’t need it, and this also gives me an amazing relationship with my wife.
- I try to participate in the after school activities, supporting the kids with their adventures, and showing my kids that it’s cool to be cheering when getting a participation medal.
- In recent year, my wife and I are making an effort to get some time alone and have started to use baby sitters, allowing us to go out for dinner or a movie … or both. It nice to plan these evenings and gives us something to look forward to, which is just for us.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
- As I mentioned earlier, my father is probably my biggest parenting inspiration, but I also listen to what colleagues and friends experience, to see if I can enhance my kids’ upbringing even further. If I see a father who does something great with his kids, then I will see if I can incorporate that too – it’s all about making your kids feel loved.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
- It’s not always easy being a father, balancing work and house chores, but seeing your kids smile and be on the receiving end of big hugs from the kids are the moments when you realize that you are doing the right thing.
- Getting pictures from school art classes for Father’s Day is fantastic, but the ones that are spontaneous are magical.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
- Seeing my kids grow up, being happy and sparkle in their eyes when they do something they are proud of. Those are the magical moments. I also recently brought my son to his first soccer game and he was so happy all the time, squeezing my hand and smiling.
If you have any questions for Mikkel, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!