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Five minutes with Christopher Gavigan

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 20-04-2009

padding-right:5px;Christopher Gavigan has written one book on parenting and healthy living called: “Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home” In fact, this timely guide is a gold mine of easy, inexpensive ways to provide a healthy environment for the children in your life and best avoid chemical and toxins in your child’s home and school. This book is for every mom, dad or person who loves a child. It’s even for those who don’t have a child yet—it’s a great lifestyle resource tool that was designed to be user-friendly, eco-conscious, credible, and empowering.

What is the one thing you think parents should know about your work?
I feel that parents need to feel empowered by choices and information – and with so many opportunities to choose safer, greener, and cleaner, it is indeed exciting and a time to be full of optimism. There is an inherent duty to care for your children – but as a society, we have a lifestyle where we choose to have awareness of seven generations and beyond our children. The legacy we leave is so incredibly important – this duty of passing along the torch of responsible action and minimum impact.

What are your feelings about the role of the father in child development?
The birth of Luke has further galvanized my commitment to help educate the public and empower individuals to realize that their actions affect the health and wellbeing of others and the world around them. It’s a powerful realization to acknowledge that our daily actions can impact future generations – our children’s children and so on – and it is for us to lighten our impact for their benefit.

What is the best thing dads can do in the raising of their children?
Be an example that loves his spouse – the child’s mother. Respecting, honoring, and caring for her is most important and is the foundation for all other relationships that a child will have with others.

What is the biggest error dads can make in raising their children?
Yelling out of control. It happens, but it is a true sign of being overwhelmed, and lacking self-restraint and perspective. A child needs the parents to display safety and control of emotions. Yelling is a signal things are out of alignment, and a father best take stock of the external and internal factors leading to this type of outburst.

Is there one practical tip you’d suggest to dads?
Eat well, drink plenty of fresh water, get plenty of rest, and take a few moments to be grateful. 

It’s been said that the greatest regret aging men have is that they didn’t spend more time with their kids. How do you feel about that statement?
I think that is true and I’m going to personally do everything I can to prevent that in my own life. I can see how family responsibilities and life can happen to cause this truth. I contend that 15 minutes of true, undivided attention is better than hours of being there physically, but not emotionally. 

Every generation worries that their kids aren’t strong enough to handle the real world. Do you feel kids need to be “toughened up” by experiencing rough times?
I think children need to be aware that they have responsibilities, and they are expected to be appropriately accountable. It’s up to the parents, not society.

Or conversely, do you think kids need to be smothered with love to give them storehouse of good feelings with which to deal with the inevitable challenges of life in the real world?
Absolutely not. This too can be detrimental. Love and love again, but coddling and over indulgence is not good either. The right family balance needs to be achieved and this is the mark of a truly good parent. Children need boundaries, or else a house with rubber walls becomes too inflexible and confusing. 

Has anyone inspired you to be a better father? If yes, who?
My step-grandfather – Uncle Donald. It’s wasn’t his teachings, it was the time he spent and his integrity that I very much respected and appreciated. He was a good man, simple man. That is what I want to be – a lot to a few people, as opposed to a little to a lot of people.