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Sunday September 3rd is Father’s Day. So, in this issue of Channel we’re celebrating Dad’s. Bays resident Richard McLean just loves being a dad to Amelia, aged 10. Richard was originally from the King Country, spent his early years hunting and fishing, was a keen snowboarder and horse rider for years and was part of a team that listed a New Zealand tech company on the NASDAQ in the late 90’s. These days, as well as being a father and a husband (married to Natalie for 13 years), Richard runs Takapuna-based business Concept to Market, they help companies launch new products and expand offshore. He also serves on private company boards. He’s also a lifetime golfer, loves to go out fishing and has recently returned to a passion making craft beer – although with self-confessed mixed results. Channel Mag’s Aidan Bennett caught up with Richard in mid July to ask some questions about the joy he gets being a dedicated father to Amelia.
AIDAN BENNETT: What is the one thing you love most about being a Dad?
RICHARD MCLEAN: Watching Amelia every day and trying to imagine what she will be like as an adult. That and the sense of belonging that comes with family.
AB: At what age did you become a Dad?
RM: I was 43. I guess I was a bit of a late starter.
AB: Are you a natural when it comes to fatherhood, did you learn your parenting from others or are you making it up as you go along?
RM: That is a great question. I think the answer is all three. My own father spent time with me, teaching me the things he knew how to do, like hunting, fishing and the practical side of country life. I was trying to learn as fast as I could when Amelia arrived. I wasn’t good at reading the books but I did watch what others were doing and listened to their stories. I do make it up on the spot sometimes too – that’s usually when things go a little pear shaped.
AB: What’s your favourite thing to do with Amelia?
RM: That’s a hard one, there are plenty. In summer, mountain biking or walking to Takapuna beach for an ice cream. Working together on crafts is fun too. I will really miss tucking her in and kissing her goodnight when she grows out of it.
AB: Anything you are striving to do better as a Dad?
RM: A lot of things. Adjusting from the things that were normal during my childhood to the things that are normal now – digital life for example. Also trying to see ahead and understand how best to equip Amelia for her own life. Of course, I have those moments when I think I sound just like my own father and have to pause and make sure I am responding to Amelia in the best way for the situation.
AB: What do you think Amelia loves about her Dad?
RM: Making time and doing stuff with her – like crafts. Helping her find pretty much anything she looks for from socks to ipod. Those and accompanying her to the dairy or shops with my wallet.
AB: What do you think Amelia would say her Dad could do better?
RM: I asked her and she said buy more glue so I can make more slime(!), but I know she has commented that I am out a lot in the evenings with work related events and thus miss tucking her in at night.
AB: Expecting a special gift for Fathers Day?
RM: Yes I think so. I always get a nice card and usually a present to go with it. I ask for a boat each year, but still waiting for that one.
AB: Do you do something special on Fathers Day?
RM: I always get the card and present in the morning, sometimes with breakfast in bed. Depending on how busy we are we will usually do something during the day. Sunday is usually roast day, which is my favourite meal of the week.
AB: After 10 years of parenting any advice to fathers who’ve just become a father to a young daughter?
RM: Another great question. If you are finding it hard, it might just be you adjusting to the fact that life is not just about you any more. Recognise that things have really changed and that there is now a new leg of your journey to embark on – different maybe, challenging for sure – but just as exciting and rewarding as any other achievement you have behind you. That and make the most of the early years because they fly by.
AB: Any other parenting advice in general?
RM: I doubt I am qualified. Perhaps a few things; Don’t try to be a perfect parent and be driven by peer pressure and ‘how to’ blogs. By all means study up, but trust your instincts and focus on being the parent your child needs at that point in time; Try not to shout at them too much, you’ll only end up feeling bad afterwards; Don’t worry too much about trying to keep the back of the car clean, there will always be dried sultanas under the seat and unidentifiable things smeared on the upholstery no matter what you do; If you need to ‘pop out somewhere’ allow at least an extra 20 minutes to get out the door, this could run to an hour; If your little girl has just arrived, don’t redecorate or buy anything nice for the house.
Happy Father’s Day Richard from the team at Channel Mag!
Channel Magazine: Issue 79 August 2017