Back to articles The Meaning of Being a Dad by Enviro Dad, Eric Novak

Categories: Parenting

With Father's Day just around the corner, I wanted to share with you a few thoughts on what I believe to be the true meaning of being a Dad.

Here is what being a Dad means to me:

  • Requires that you know there's a difference between protecting and preventing.
  • Involves the transition from being someone who was selfish, to one who is selfless.
  • Means remembering that we have not inherited this planet from our ancestors, rather we are only borrowing it from our children.
  • Demands that I always keep in mind that one generation plants the trees, while the next gets the shade.
  • Involves being able to walk a mile in pint sized shoes.
  • Requires that you be comfortable with being a hero to someone but respectful of the power that being a hero entails.
  • Means that just as soon as you've figured some aspect of parenting out, you have to learn another one as the kids keep changing too
  • Involves knowing that your kids are watching and listening to every thing you do or say.
  • Requires that you know how to build a snow-fort which no army could ever get past, followed by knowing how to make the best hot chocolate EVER once you come back inside.
  • Teaches you how to survive with less sleep, since your kids will get you up during the night when they are younger and keep you up at night once they are older.
  • Means that you make mistakes along the way, and that while you think you've just ruined your child for life in the process, you discover they're actually more resilient that you think.
  • Requires you to remember that once upon a time you did the same senseless and stupid things as a kid that your kids do today, and yet you somehow still survived.
  • Teaches you that you don't actually need to go to the Gym when your kids are young since they are more than happy to act as substitute weights to perform chest presses, arm curls, push ups and sit ups.
  • Prepares you for hearing the word 'again' each and every time you do something with the kids that is fun for them but physically draining for yourself.
  • Quickly teaches you that no matter how many times you say 'just this once' it will be asked for again and again and again.
  • Has one particular advantage over being a mom in that stress induced gray hairs on dads are actually viewed as positive and distinguished.
  • Nowadays requires that you are just as skilled with a spatula as you are with a screwdriver
  • Is at the same time both the single scariest accomplishment I have ever achieved and likely ever will achieve as well as the greatest accomplishment ever--by far!


Eric Novak is a father of 4 who also thinks that environmental stewardship is a requisite of parenting. He's not a professional Dad nor is he an environmental scientist, but he's someone who gives a damn and is trying to make the right decisions as he lives his life as a father, environmentalist and business owner. Eric and his wife Karen have 4 children and reside in Ajax, Ontario. Visit his new website at