Bruno lives in Portugal where he coordinates teams in outsourced call centres and explores the connections between design thinking and sustainability. He’s a divorced dad of two wonderful children, a daughter aged 12 and a son aged 9. He’s been separated from their mother for 6 years. One week they live with him, the next week their mother.
I was married, so the natural next step was children. It was an exciting time, but I missed both births! The first was a very long day. After 14 hours I stepped out of the room to get my head together. When I went to go back in, the nurse wouldn’t let me. I waited and waited, but no one came to get me. After a while I asked again, my daughter had been born and everyone was OK.
I was overjoyed. Full up to bursting. I remember the first time I saw my daughter through the glass. So simple and so wonderful, that first moment says it all: I was glowing staring through that window.
With my son, I didn't have time to watch. His mother went inside the block, when a nurse appeared to give me a bag of clothes I asked if I could watch, but she said: "You can't, it's already done."
So I didn’t get to see the birth of my children...but now I have the great opportunity to watch them grow!
The dad role is always there, but we’re separated so live different lives. The divorced made me take the dad role a lot more seriously, and be a lot more dedicated. The situation has changed but the responsibility, and I mean that with joy, is still there.
I'm a 24x7 dad, even when my kids are not with me. It’s a lifetime opportunity, a wonderful role, a blessing even.
I will always remember the moment we told them we were not going to be living together any more. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and is hard to talk about it now. I’m proud that we told them the truth, we talked about it in a way that worked for their young age, but I think you have to always tell the truth regardless of how painful it is.
Healthy parents make a healthy family and healthy children. I learned with the divorce that my focus can't be only the kids because then it’s easy for me to forget myself, after all, I’m not only a dad. I am first an individual with a personal and professional life, and I can share all that I am with my children.
Time is a very important part of the equation, but one that’s not easy to manage.
To stay present I have to know and be up-to-date with their issues, what their needs and expectations are, school questions, tasks and homework. Talking is really important, keeping that atmosphere where they have freedom of speech. This means meals are so important, because that’s when you’re all there together, gathering at a table. It really is the seemingly little things that matter, because really being present is just being there for them.
It’s all about good communication. We have to talk about everything to do with the kids, logistics, issues, problems, what’s going on in their lives and all that. We can be separated with our own different lives, but the children are always our responsibility. This means we don’t avoid any questions. We know we’re working for a greater good - their benefit.
It's a good question, a question that I could answer maybe in a couple of years. But one thing I know for sure that will matter is that I never give up. I faced any problem that was about them. I am proud of getting to the present day, getting through the many problems and issues, like the divorce, without ever losing sight of the kids.
My struggle is to stay health, knowledgeable and to make sure I’m evolving so that I can follow the evolution of my children. I want to be there for them, for whatever they need, and that means I need to keep changing as they do.
I'm working at being aware of every step of the journey, trying to look back and analyse what could I have done better, listening to other people so I keep learning. It’s a natural process of continuous learning and evolving.
A great question, and the hardest to answer. Being a dad is much more than just bringing a new life into the world. It’s about what happens after that, of being involved in my children’s lives in every aspect, a great responsibility and an opportunity to be an example, of creating a legacy to pass onto them, a really meaningful one.
What it means to be a dad? My children are what it means.
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