Over 15 years ago I was travelling domestically in the US when I happened to sit next to a gentleman who left me with a real purpose in life. I do not remember his name, but he was working at Cisco at the time and was involved in some very cutting edge stuff with the organization. We got talking on the flight and shared a good laugh or two. There was one thing however that he told me when sharing his family background with me. His father had passed away when he was quite young, but he said his dad was the coolest dad in the world. The boys in the neighborhood wanted to hang out at their house because his dad was just the most awesome dad one could have hoped for.
I had not had children yet in those days, but I came off that flight thinking that how great it would be to be the coolest dad in the world in your children’s eyes. Today I am the proud father of 2 amazing boys, and I have had the good fortune of sharing many a special moment with them. We have played cricket together in our front yard, played soccer with and against each other and I have had the good fortune of managing their soccer teams.
About a year ago, my eldest son, told me that I was the coolest dad. It was a very special moment in my life. I felt such a great sense of achievement with those few words. A few weeks ago a family friend of ours, whose son is a good friend of my eldest, walked up to me at a dinner party only to tell me that her son wanted to be like me when he grew up. It was so touching to know that I actually set an example for teenage boys.
Today, my younger son’s soccer team lifted their league championship with a thrilling final game. Over the last 5 months I have managed this team of 12 years olds to witness first hand what happens when a group of individuals believe in themselves and hold the team above them. These boys lost their first two games only to win every game since and lift the title. Seeing them today lift that cup was one of the proudest moments for me. I felt that in some small way, I have contributed to their journey in being leaders of the future.
So as I continue to try and be the “coolest dad”, I encourage you to aspire to do the same. If there is one thing I have learnt in this journey, it is that material possessions don’t win your children over – it is time and as in the workplace, it involves leading by example. While all of us may not be as fortunate to spend the time we desire with our children, thanks to technology we can all be a lot closer to them than we think. While all of us may not be in positions of leadership, we all can set examples for our children to follow. So whether you have (or will have) sons or daughters, try being the coolest dad or the coolest mom in the world. Trust me, it gives you a sense of purpose that is hard to beat.