2017’s Great Dad Award was presented to Jason Kreidman.
MLC: What has been the most exciting part of being a dad?
The most exciting part of being dad is having an opportunity to see and experience the impact you have on another person. When you work on teaching something to your child and they finally understand it and replicate the behavior, it is very rewarding and exciting. It provides the opportunity to feel like you have made a positive impact. For example, my son recently got really upset before we went into a store. He went back and forth in an argument with me and remained mad while at the store. Upon leaving the store he apologized for his behavior and said that he “could have handled that differently.” It was exciting to see him learn and use those tools.
MLC: What would you like your children to learn from you?
Every day is a learning experience when you have kids. While they are learning from me, I am constantly learning from them. I have learned patience, gratitude, living in the moment, and many other positive things as a result of my children’s influence. As for what I would like them to learn from me, this primarily evolves around simply being a good human being. While there are many small things that they will learn, the big ones are what matters. These are things like being kind, caring for other people, and trying to make a positive impact on others.
MLC: Who was an important Mentor in your life and why do you appreciate about them?
My parents were both huge positive influences for me. However, as a mentor, I would need to recognize Susie Walton. Susie is the founder of Indigo Village and creator of the Joy of Parenting. Her parenting classes were the catalyst for me to do the work I’m currently doing and her teachings provided me a different perspective than I had ever had before. Not only did her teachings begin to shape the way I parented, but it also laid the foundation of my work with other dads. Susie is a wonderful mentor who I will forever be grateful for.
MLC: Which community service are you most proud of?
For the San Diego community, I started a monthly meetup for dads over 3 years ago. The purpose was to provide a place where dads can come and discuss issues they have with parenting, their relationships, or personal issues. The idea was to create a support network of dads helping other dads. Each month, a handful of dads meet in Encinitas to experience share and offer others an outlet for the issues they want to discuss. For the most part, men don’t talk about their issues. Having a confidential outlet with peers who often experience the same thing is a valuable resource for these dads.
Upon the success of the meetup, I wanted to reach a wider audience. So along with a co-host, I developed a weekly podcast called the “Dudes To Dads Podcast” to continue the discussion and provide dads a resource they can tap into at their own convenience. At the time of this interview, we have over 140 episodes covering a multitude of topics related to being a dad. Building on the podcast, I created a YouTube channel in which I now provide short videos on topics of interest for dads. I consider all of these services to support the dad community.
Every year we dress up as a family for Halloween. We were the Jabbawockeez dance crew in 2014 and trophies in 2016.
MLC: What do you feel are some of the most important elements of fathering?
I have talked with a lot of dads, studied parenting books, lead discussion groups, etc. I have come up with what I call the “Fatherhood Formula”. It consists of 7 essential elements of fathering that all begin with the letter C. If dads can do these 7 things, I believe they will have success as a father. Keep in mind, each dad gets to define what success means to them. These 7 elements are: commitment, character, coaching, consistency, communication, contact, and connecting. All of them are extremely important when dealing with your child. If I had to pick one aspect or technique that has had the most impact on my fathering it’s empathy. Learning to empathize with my children has been a profoundly impactful technique. It’s allowed me to get closer to them, have them feel more understood, and overall keep the relationship strong.
MLC: What are some of the most challenging things about being a dad that you have been able to overcome?
One of the most challenging things is having patience. Not only do children move at a slower pace than us, their brains and emotional intelligence have not yet fully developed. So while something may be so obvious and trivial to us, for them it is not. It can be a really big deal or traumatic for them. On one of my podcasts I spoke about my daughter not being able to find her shoes before pre-school one day. For us, if we can’t find them, we either continue to look or grab an alternate pair. For a 5 year old, this doesn’t necessarily work. The end of the world was approaching and these shoes had to be found. There was no option for a different pair. As such, the emotional level that missing shoes can bring to a 5 year old is hard to understand. While we think it’s “no big deal”, it can quite a big deal to them.
MLC: In your work with dads, what are the things you see dads having the most difficulty with?
I think too many dads (and moms too) go by intuition or what they witnessed growing up and unfortunately their intuition is often not the optimal way to handle a situation for both their child’s sake and theirs. They haven’t learned effective ways to communicate with their kids. I also think that dads often do too much for the kids, either out of their love for them or thinking their child isn’t capable. We underestimate the abilities of our children. Kids are amazing and when given the opportunity to rise and grow, they typically do it wonderfully.