Posted by: Admin | August 15, 2010

The Saturday Interview – 7 PART TWO

Yesterday, Son no 2 talked about his relationship with his father. Today it’s time to hear the other side of the story. Neil is speaking without having seen Dan’s interview.

“One fundamental difference between bringing up my two sons was that Ben was our first child, so everything was new and we had to work so hard at it. Then we had the girls, so by the time Dan came along he just had to fit in.”

“Fit into the family?”

“Yes. We knew what we were doing by then, we had our model of how to bring up children. Whereas Ben influenced our blueprint, by the time Dan came along it was already made and he just had to slot into it. Plus he had older brothers and sisters to entertain him. I didn’t put in the effort with Dan  because I didn’t need to.”

“Do you mean that he didn’t make many demands on you as a small child.”

“No, he’s always been really easy going and laid back. He was the least demanding of the four.”

“How would you say your relationship with Dan was during his teenage years?”

“Uncomplicated but at times slightly distant. He viewed himself as being different to me in terms of interests. We didn’t have many interests that overlapped apart from music.”

“But you don’t feel that there were any problems?”

“I think Dan would say I spent the whole time telling him to stack the dishwasher, or criticising him for not doing it properly.”

“Is that a fair comment?”

“That he didn’t stack it properly? Yes! It was only my way of trying to instil a bit of discipline in him. Seriously, we didn’t do much together when he was growing up.”

“Why was that?” Neil takes some time to think this over.

“Things come along at different times in people’s lives. I’m a lot more involved with his life now and there’s much more interaction as a consequence. With Ben, he was into playing rugby and so I spent a lot of time with him at matches etc. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do fatherly things with Dan – you look at family photos and he’s often on my shoulders. We went to Tae-Kwon-Do together. And we had a really good time together when we went to Borneo. Dan’s always been his own man and gone his own way and sometimes that’s got him into trouble. I’ve always been there for him and tried to be supportive. But while he was growing up I was working hard to run my business and I wasn’t really physically around.”

“Thinking of yourself since you turned 50, do you feel your relationship with your sons is impacted by the classic “old stag/young stag” tension?”

“There’s always competition. When we were arm wrestling this morning, I think you could see that Daniel could have won it.”

So is this how "real men" show love?

“That took a lot for you to admit that didn’t it?”

“It’s the truth.”

“How do you feel about that?”

“Well, I’m 52 and he’s 19 so I shouldn’t really be too offended, should I? Plus he’s a bigger build than me and he’s worked on his strength over the past few months.”

“Can you sum up your relationship with Dan now?”

“I think it’s getting better all the time as he’s maturing. I see a lot of myself in Dan. In many ways he’s a lot like me.”

“In what ways?”

“Playing the fool rather than getting on and doing the job properly. We both like to be liked. We’re both dyslexic with attention deficiency problems.”

“How would you sum up your relationship with Dan?”

an unbreakable bond

“I think that the fact that we have an improving relationship is testament to the fact that we didn’t get on so badly when he was growing up. He’s interesting, very talented, though not in a traditional way, so it wasn’t recognised in school. I’ve always thought he might be the one to surprise us all. I know he’s got to work very hard on his music and his composing over the next few years, but I think it will pay off. He was a lovely kid, funny and witty, and I’ve always been proud of him.”


  1. This is a lovely interview x

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