Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Interview with an Awesome Dad – Martin Binette

Welcome to the first edition of ‘Interview with an Awesome Dad’. For this very special first edition, I spoke with close friend and fatherhood inspiration, Martin Binette. Let’s go!

Name: Martin Binette
Twitter: @BinetteMartin & @Les2Oreilles
Kids (age): Renaud, 13 & Simone, 6

What is the best part of being a father?

Without a doubt, it’s the fact that my kids always bring me back down to earth. For example, after a hard day at work, their smiles and hugs make me quickly forget my daily hassles. Without even knowing it, they have become masters at playing down all adult problems. There is nothing better than having fun with your children to completely erase the memory of an unhappy customer at the office or the abusive reaction of an impatient motorist!

What are the most important qualities you want to teach your children? Why?

My parents put a lot of focus on 3 key elements during my youth and I try my best to convey those to my kids.

First is politeness. ‘Please’ & ‘Thank you’ are not optional words in the Binette home.

Second is respect for others. From an early age, my parents instilled this important value into their children: we acquire the respect of others by respecting them in return. There is no room for racism, sexism or any other prejudice in our family.

The third is resilience. Never give up. Even in the most difficult of times, never give up. As my mother always said to me, ‘Eventually, everything works out.’

What is your best quality as a dad (What makes you an Awesome Dad)? What do you want to work on?

Without a doubt, my sense of humor! I love playing pranks on my kids and telling tall tales. There is nothing more precious than seeing your child smile!

Patience. Quite frankly, I can get upset quickly when things do not go the way I ask or if rules are not respected. I need to react less and breathe more. I’m working on it!

Favorite activity with your children?

My kids have a significant age gap so it is difficult to find an activity that makes them both happy at the same time. Playing games, however, is one activity that rallies the entire family together. There is rarely an evening where we don’t play a game of Snakes & Ladders or something similar.

Best moment as a dad?

Both of my kids are enrolled in dance school. There are no words that could describe my pride when I saw them both perform at their end of the year show in front of 300 people! I’ll admit, I was trying very hard to hold back the tears!

If you could give ONE piece of advice to someone who is about to become a father, what would it be?

This is not a recommendation on the type of education or how to handle difficult times. This is just one basic piece of advice. Never let a day go by, never let your child go to bed without them hearing those magic words: I LOVE YOU.
Regardless of age, mood, near or far: I LOVE YOU.
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t see eye to eye that day or if they made a mistake: I LOVE YOU.
Even if you feel that love with every fiber of your being, saying it out loud makes a world of difference!

Do you have any fatherhood role models? Who and why?

Without a doubt, my father. My dad is a hero to me. He’s made many sacrifices for the happiness of his children. Many of my pranks and ‘boring dad jokes’ are inspired by my father. I am very proud to have him as my father. I like to proclaim myself, in an unpretentious manner, to be an improved version of my father. A Binette, version 2.0!

What is your biggest fear as a father?

Losing them is my biggest fear. Stories of children who die in an accident or take their own lives overwhelm me every time. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering of losing a child. This is one of the reasons why I tell them that I love them every day. Life is fragile.

Fast forward 20 years. What would you want your child to say about you as a dad when they look back at their childhood?

‘Dad always told bad jokes!’ Ok, maybe not! Seriously, I hope they say that their dad was tough but fair. I’d like them to say that I listened to them but that the rules were very clear. I want to be remembered as a dad who was always available, invested and did all he could to give them all the tools they needed to reach their full potential. But, above all, I want them to say that their dad loved them (and still loves them) with all his heart.

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