You're standing in front of a 110kg man who was a previous NRL player, and he’s 6ft with a broad stance. He’s strong, real and at times down right harsh. He’ll tell you the truth no matter how much you don’t want to hear it…
And he’s crying.
He’s just finished telling you about his son’s school camping trip and the activities involved.
It’s for the Fathers and Sons to get together and bond.
So as someone who didn’t grow up with their dad, my first question to Ben is:
“What about the boys who don’t have a dad?”
The next answer blows me away.
“Oh they had their uncles, older brothers, family friends or anyone they look up to.”
Like you just did, I picture myself there at this camp with my mentor, who I look up to the most as an example of how a man behaves. And now maybe even this man standing right in front of me.
Ben, along with a couple other Dads, are asked to share their thoughts with the group of 250 men and boys.
They talk about who they looked up to, what their idea of a real man was. So in studio I asked Ben:
(Expecting him to say the usual “blokish” crap, and give me a man bum pat with a "You'll be right" smile.)
"What is your idea of a man to look up to?" Or something like that...
He said to me he looked up to men who had a good moral compass.
Again, I was blown away. Here is this guy, who on a daily basis will push me to my emotional limits, wondering if he can empathise with me at all?!
But then he talks about his son. That they have to do an exercise where they swap questions about what they need from each other.
He tells us, that his son doesn’t need more stuff, or more permission to do his own things. He wants…
Time to talk. He wants to connect with his father more.
The next thing that happened is not what I thought would EVER happen in my time with this man.
He stopped talking. He broke. Ben looked at Dan and I with a fear, a fear I have never seen in a mans eyes. He couldn’t make eye contact with me, as tear streaked my face. Feeling the overwhelming urge to hug my workmate.
The man who had just teased me with our producer for being flat in a way that only your older brother can get away with...
He tried to make us stop probing him, and as Dan and I made him dig deeper. There it was.
A man who had finally heard how much his son needed him. Needed him emotionally. All the dirt bikes, car trips and farm time was not enough to fill his sons need to emotionally connect.
While our show will be more than happy to make a list of the top 10 ways to ninja poo, we also know how important it is to connect with each other.
Not many people know this, but we consider ourselves a family. Just like brothers and sisters we fight, and love, and laugh like anyone else.
When Ben opened up about empathising with his son, it made me cry for all the times I needed my dad and he couldn’t be there. All the times my parents didn’t hear me, and I needed them to.
So if you missed the chat today, it’ll be on the podcast… More importantly. Listen in tomorrow morning from 8am, when we take your calls on 131216, to give you the chance to win that same moment with your children.
Let’s reconnect with our adults of tomorrow Gold Coast. They need our love more than ever, living in a world of social media glorification and over sexualisation.