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Doting dads

How young fathers are traversing the journey of fatherhood

There are only a few jobs in this world that are more difficult than the full-time position of being a father. As the “man of the house,” dads are expected to provide for the family while making sure that they take the lead in shaping their kids into becoming the best individuals they can possibly be. 

The Standard Life talks to five young dads about their parenting styles to find out how this young generation of fathers are raising a new generation of children. 

RJ Ledesma, 42
Entrepreneur, events host and TV presenter
Fortune, 7; R3, 4, and soon-to-be born son Lorenzo

What three words best describe you as a father?

I think the first one is doting father. I like to be there for them for whatever activities they have. The reason I like being an entrepreneur is that it gives me a chance to go to activities which you normally don’t go to if you were a night father.

The next one is I’m a fun dad who can still get along with them, understand what they think and be with them to enjoy. 

For the last one, I’d like to think that I’m a dad who inspires them, who knows the difference between saying, “You have to be the best” and “I want you to be the best that you can be.”

What’s the first thought that crossed your mind when you first saw your child? 

I was there in the delivery room, and I remember tears of joy coming out of my face and then saying, “Look, she’s kulot!” It’s an instant connection when you see your first child. You know she can’t see you but you’re looking deeply into the pools that are her eyes and I remember writing a column about this one and said that if you learn to love your wife infinitely, you’ll never know that infinity can be doubled when you see the birth of your child. 

What’s the best part of being a father?

I think the best part of being a father is being part of all (the children’s) lives. When they need you, you’re there, being present for them, being there for their good times or their bad times and knowing that they will rely on you and they will talk to you. They want your opinion when you see them grow. I think that’s the best part. 

Who’s your role model when it comes to fatherhood?

I guess the best one would be my dad, seeing how he raised us. You kind of find that balance between the values you set for your own family from what you’ve learned from your respective family. You raise them based on what you think is best for yours and I think so it’s a bit of from my dad, from her dad, from my parents, what you watch on TV, what you read and you see, all the good examples for the kids. 

What’s the best lesson you learned from your dad?

It’s discipline. I guess from my dad, I really learned many things. He was a very disciplinarian dad and was also an encouraging dad at the same time. What I am right now is a result of how he was like raising me through the combination of being very strict and at the same time being very encouraging for the things which I did, like public speaking and writing, which he encouraged. I wouldn’t be the multi-tasking man I am right now if he wasn’t there. 

I think I also learned from him to be a God-fearing person. He was a very good example to me growing of a man who was in love with the Church. I think the best that he gave me was to also make me feel the love for our Church as well. In these different communities, I’m also involved so it helps me as a parent, as a husband, as a son, as a brother, I think that’s very important. 

What lessons did you learn from your parents that you also wish to impart to your kids? 

You pick up the best that they have to give you and there are things that you learn later on like business, finance, raising kids. You can agree or not agree with them but it’s good that they give you that space so that you could also discern for yourself. There are things I might not agree with regard to how I was raised, but the more important thing is if you were raised in an atmosphere of love, compassion, forgiveness and understanding. Now that you are a parent you have the same perspective of saying, “Ah, that’s why I was raised this way.” Each child is different, and I’m realizing that now. It’s only now that I get to appreciate what an effort my parents made. I’m just as human as them and they are just human as me, they make mistakes, too. Raising the kids, they were just like me. We can’t fail them for that when they tried their best. 

How are bonding moments spent?

I do a fair amount of travelling because of my hosting or other types of work and I like to bring the whole family with me. I make it a point so that we form great moments with the kids. As much as possible I try to take them out for movie dates, pizza dates or we take them to amusement parks, all these things. 

 

GP Reyes, 41
Creative director and bar owner
Olivia, one year and two months  

What three words best describe you as a father?

Awesome, devoted and doting. 

What’s the first thing that came to your mind when you saw your child?

For me, it was a miracle. When I cradled Olivia in my arms for the first time, it was really when I stared at her, it was like staring at the eyes of God because for me, it made me closer to God. I’m not really a very very religious person, in fact I can be an asshole most of the time, but I think for the first time in my life, I realized that this couldn’t be of my own doing. It made me realize that there’s a higher power somewhere, and that higher power is the reason why we have this child.

What’s the best part of being a father? The most challenging?

The best part of being a father is everything. I mean, it’s made me a better person; it’s made me a more patient person. I think having a daughter is different from having a son. Being a former bad boy and a club owner, we have a certain kind of lifestyle that we’ve lived for a long time. If I had a son, I would probably pass on the bad boy traits that I know.  But me having a daughter kind of made me realize that okay, take a step back. Like when I look at a girl now in a club, I think, “Oh, that could be my daughter.”

The challenging things would probably come when she’s of age and I have to bring out my shotgun and wait for the boys to come out, because I know how boys think, so I’ve gotten the proper ninongs, all the ninongs that I’ve gotten from Louie Ysmael to Manolet Dario, the people that I got as ninongs will make sure to back me up with the boys when they start knocking on the door.

Who’s your role model when it comes to fatherhood? 

I wasn’t fortunate enough to have a good father. They can say that my dad was a dick. My parents separated about 15 years ago, so the best role model that I have was really my mom. On this Father’s Day, I’d like to wish my mom a happy Father’s Day because she was the best father to us. We were six kids and I was the oldest of the six kids. And my mom pretty much single-handedly raised us, so I think that she would be the best role model for me.

What’s the best lesson you learned from your dad – or in this case, your mom? 

From my mom, I learned patience, working hard, and devoting yourself completely to one’s children. My mom was so selfless that she had to forego her happiness and her own dreams to raise us all. So basically, she had so many dreams but she had to stick it out with my father until my last brother graduated from high school. 

Do you have any resentment towards your father?

Yes, obviously I do. I think my father wasn’t really a good dad; he was verbally abusive, not physically abusive, to my mother. He was gone most of the time and they weren’t really a good couple together. Basically, my mother decided to stay with him because of the kids, and then after that, she was the one who really raised us and then after they separated, me and my other brother, the one next to me, raised the other ones. So we were kind of fathers already, so it was a good exercise for me throughout the years, because it helped me learn how to be a dad. 

What’s the lesson you learned from your parents that you want to impart to your kids? 

I think it’s more of the value of things. We were never really given stuff, and we had to work for it. It was also a function of how things were, family-wise. The only thing that my mom could ever give me was my education. Everything else, I had to work for on my own. She taught me the value of earning things through merit and not through just waiting for your lolo to die to inherit something. So I think that’s something that I’ll teach Olivia. 

And the one thing that my mother taught me was that there’s no limit to what you can achieve once you put your mind to it.  

How are bonding moments spent?

I sleep at 5:00 a.m. everyday. That’s really my schedule no matter what, whether I’m in the club or whatever. Then I wake up at 1:00 p.m. then go to the office at 3:00 p.m., and then I stay in the office until 8:00 p.m. So what happens is, at 5 o’clock, I fall asleep and then at 6 o’clock Olivia wakes up. So for one hour, I sleep then I wake up and for about an hour she talks. 

So I wake up and I play with her, so that’s my bonding moment with her. Then she goes downstairs, she eats breakfast, watches TV, and then I go back to sleep until 1:00 p.m.  

Then I play with her again around lunchtime so that’s my bonding moment and then after that I go to work. When I get home, usually she’s already asleep. Most of the times that we really bond, like truly bond – is when we travel, which we do quite a lot. 

Any funny or memorable anecdote about being a father?

A funny anecdote is that I really refuse to change diapers. I’ve only done it once. There’s one time where Andi was fixing the bath, and I was holding Olivia and then she took a crap all over me, so that’s funny anecdote. So that’s my karma for not wanting to change diapers. 

 

Hideo Muraoka, 28
Model
Daniela, 5

What three words best describe you as a father? 

Communication, friendship, fun

What’s the first thing that came to your mind when you saw your child? 

When I saw Daniela, I only realized that I was a father when I saw her coming out, not when Fatima was pregnant. At that moment a mixture of feelings came to me – happiness, but also the weight of responsibility.

What’s the best part of being a father? What’s the most challenging? 

The best part of being a father is that it pushes me to become a better person everyday. There is no greater leadership challenge than being a parent... And the most challenging aspect is time management between work, family and personal life. I believe the family and love must be cultivated like a garden, and time, effort, imagination and creativity must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship growing. For me love is expressed in actions and action is equal time spending together. 

Aside from your own father, who is your role model when it comes to fatherhood?

I was raised by my grandmother but my father is a great man. He did the best he could to instill good values as a foundation. I am a curious person, and I read a lot about the topics I like especially on personal development.  I love the books of Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Darren Hardy and Ruben Alves (Brazilian poet, author and educator), and many others. I love feeding my mind with great content that I can use to impact my life and those around me. 

What’s the best lesson you learned from your dad?

The best lesson that I learned from my father is that to be a real father, one must care about other people – and this represents one of life’s greatest values. 

What lessons did your parents teach you that you wish to impart to your children? 

Being a parent is very challenging and we all make mistakes. I read in many book that the best gift you can give your kids is to build (their) self-confidence and great self-esteem. This is my purpose as a father… Everything else falls into place once I build great self-esteem in my daughter and work continuously on my personal growth. Kids do what they see, not what they hear. There for my personal growth is part of being a great daddy. 

How are bonding moments spent with your kids? 

I spend bonding time with my kid daily, because I believe that love and relationships take time, effort, love and imagination.

 

Mars Miranda, 38
Professional DJ
Dylan, 12 and Adrianna, 2

What are the three words that best describe you as a father? 

Learning something new.

What thought crossed your mind when you first saw your child? 

The first time was we weren’t that prepared. So it’s like, what’s next? How do you –  I mean, it just became real. That’s what came into mind, like what do I do now? It’s like a commitment that’s forever, which lasts through the rest of your life. What do I do now? (I was 26 then.) For Adrianna, we were already prepared. We were happy to have her. We were prepared, we already knew what to expect. Adrianna is Nicole’s first, but me, I already knew what to expect more or less (because) I went through it already (with Dylan) so okay na. I was ready na.

What’s the best part of being a father? What’s the most challenging? 

The best part is the days spent at home just hanging out with them, just playing with them, having time for them. The challenging part is balancing work and family time, providing as much as you can but at the same time it takes up your time. So it’s like (trying to) balance between doing stuff for them and being with them.

Who’s your role model when it comes to fatherhood? 

My mom, because my dad passed away at an early age so mom tried to be both. I was nine when my dad passed away. 

What’s the best lesson you learned from your dad? 

I guess it’s to do everything for your family, do whatever needs to be done. 

What lessons did you learn from your parents that you wish to impart to your child?

Growing up, my grandparents and my parents had a steady set of friends that they kept close. They just kept a group of friends that was like a support group – people that they trust like family, so that if something happened to them, these people will always be there for the family they would leave behind. I (had also) kept with one small set of friends throughout my entire life. I’d like my kids to choose their friends and make sure these friends will be there forever, for the rest of their lives. 

How are bonding moments spent?

We do everything together. During the day (when) we don’t really have anything, we do breakfast, lunch, dinner together. We do groceries together, we nap together. So it’s a lot of these, so there’s more bonding time than time away. 

 

Gerwyn See, 36
Social Entrepreneur
Miguel Antonio, 10; Rafael Alfonso, 6 and Francisco Efraim, 5

What three words best describe you as a father? 

Cool, disciplinarian, superhero 

What’s the first thing that came to your mind when you saw your child? 

It was so surreal. Seeing each of my boys for the very first time were experiences I just cannot quite explain. I felt so overjoyed, lucky, and blessed. I’ve always wanted a son, and now God gave me three of them. I suppose I’m just lucky.

What’s the best part of being a father? The most challenging aspect? 

The best part of being a dad is when you see in your boys’ eyes how proud they are to have you as their father. But the most challenging, I would say, is every time I would need to go against their will in my desire to teach them values of discipline and prudence. It breaks my heart whenever I break theirs. 

Aside from your own father, who is your role model when it comes to fatherhood?

I’m lucky to have two great father figures in my life. First is my father who taught me the value of simplicity and the practice of reasonable judgment. This has always been part of the fundamental principles in which I stand by.

And there’s my father-in-law who laid the foundations for my enterprising mind. He shared with me essential values on family and entrepreneurship. These are lessons that I share with my own kids.

What lesson did you learn from your parents that you wish to impart to your children?

I’ve always believed that life is a constant journey of learning and relearning.

To succeed, one should always keep focus; be optimistic; stay persistent and be patient.

How are bonding moments spent?

We love to travel as a family, and we love to frequent various beach destinations. The kids really enjoy this. But whether it be traveling, or just spending the weekends outdoors, or even catching up over movie dates, I always see to it that I take time to do things that they enjoy. I believe this makes each moment more memorable for them. 

With three boys around, competition for parental attention can get so intense. This is why we have this rule that my wife, Sheryl, and I practice: We always see to it that, every now and then, we give each of the boys some dedicated time with us where he can enjoy our undivided attention. These include enjoying Sunday brunches, leisure time at the club, or even short travels. What’s important is the time spent to talk and trade stories, to get to know and understand each other better.

 

RJ Ledesma's suit by Zara Men
Mars Miranda's Denim Top and Bomber jacket by Zara Men

 

Interview by Bernadette Lunas / Photos by Star Sabroso / Creative direction by Tatum Ancheta / Styling by Kim Barik / Makeup by Kay Arias / Hair by Kenneth Jayan and Mary Jane Agaton of Creations by Lourd Ramos Salon / Shot on location at New World World Hotel Makati

Topics: Doting dads , journey of fatherhood , RJ Ledesma , GP Reyes , Hideo Muraoka , Mars Miranda , Gerwyn See

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