Our 692nd Dad in the Limelight is dad, husband, police officer, retired lawyer, author, media consultant, blogger, and speaker on psychological issues, Brian Knowler of Knowler Consulting. I want to thank Brian Knowler for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Brian Knowler with all of you.
1. Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
I’m Brian Knowler and I am a dad, husband, police officer, retired lawyer, author, media consultant, blogger, and speaker on psychological issues in the first responder world through our company Knowler Consulting. In March 2016 I published a book on my experiences with post-traumatic stress called ‘On the Other Side of Broken – One Cop’s Battle With the Demons of PTSD.’ I’m also a reasonably competent video gamer, a cartoon enthusiast, and a geek for all things Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you’d like to know a little more, please head here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/brianknowler
2. Tell me about your family
I’ve been married to my law school sweetheart since 1998. In 2001 she blessed me with a son, Jack, and in 2004 she blessed me with his younger brother Brady. We live in the southwest part of Ontario, Canada. My wife is one of the toughest people I know; I put her through a very grueling stretch of years from 2005 through 2013 or so that tested our marriage. The fact that she is still with me is a testament to her strength and character. She grew up surrounded by cops in her family and she married one; I think that helped!
3. What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
For most of my boys’ lives, I was living with undiagnosed PTSD from an on-the-job incident. When they were younger I had a tendency to wall myself off from the family and quite often acted like an absent father. The challenge came in starting to rebuild the relationship with my boys after I was diagnosed in 2012, and to try to get them to understand what PTSD is, what it did to me, and how important it now was for me to break its hold and let me be their dad again.
4.What advice would you give to other fathers?
Take care of yourself psychologically. There are lots of jokes about ‘dad bod’, and of course physical fitness is a key part of living a healthy life. But you have to take care of what’s between your ears as well – meditate, pray, write, sing, read, do mental math, play chess. Make sure you’re doing something to exercise your grey matter. And if you even think you may have a bigger problem that needs professional help, swallow your pride and admit it. Don’t lose 7 years of your life like I did.
5.How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
When my boys were younger, I was pretty much consumed with work and thought only of climbing the ladder to the next accomplishment. Since realizing I have PTSD, I’ve done lots of re-evaluation of my life and now I leave work at work and focus on being a dad and husband when I’m at home. Whenever possible, now that they’re older, I engage my sons in discussions on issues in the media about policing, law enforcement, or the justice system. I want them to grow up with a balanced perspective.
6.What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay to show emotion in front of your kids. It’s okay for your kids to see you in moments of weakness, as long as you can be strong for them again. And never, ever, disrespect their mom. I almost learned that last one too late.
7.What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Its never too late to fix your mistakes. If you’ve lost your connection with your kids, it can be rebuilt. It will take work, and it won’t be easy, but you owe it to yourself and your kids to try.
8.What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Watching both of my sons be born, one naturally and one by C-section. Watching my older son hold his little brother for the first time. Taking them shooting for the first time. Being surprised when my shy, anxious older son was announced as Grade 8 valedictorian. Watching my younger son nail a trick on his scooter he’d been practicing for weeks. So many small moments…but the greatest was hearing them both say ‘I forgive you’ after telling them I had made so many mistakes and wanted to start to really be their dad again.
Looking for more info?:
If you have any questions for Brian Knowler, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!