Dad of the Week: Kurt van Ryswyk

Kurt van Ryswyk is a Mechanical Engineer, Programmer, and Pole Instructor from Adelaide, Australia. When not at work, you can find him raising his amazing daughter!

Every Dad of the Week answers the following questions, read on to learn more about Kurt and his daughters!

  • What was your first reaction when you found out that you were going to be a father?
    • I danced. On the spot. In the bathroom.
  • When you knew you were going to be a father of a daughter, who or where did you turn to for advice?
    • It wasn’t really a turn for advice moment. That came later as I worked on the challenges, or prepared for them in advance. But the finding out that I was going to be a father? That was purely a moment of celebration.
  • How would your kids describe you as a dad?
    • As the weirdest person she knows. But she does try to out weird me, and I’m kinda afraid that she’ll take the title.
  • What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
    • I had a period during the divorce where her mum decided I was not allowed to see her. I had to play the long game, and find ways to support mum’s needs so that I could return to being a father. We have a great co-parenting relationship now, but that was some of the worst months of my life.
  • Looking back on your life as a father, what would you change if you could?
    • I may have been poor and in constantly changing circumstances and studenthood for most of her childhood, but I wouldn’t change any of that. I do wish that I had been better organised, able to run in with plans and fantastic things happen. But our relationship is great, based in the little everyday things. I wouldn’t change that for the world.
  • What do you do for fun with your daughter(s)?
    • We make things and fix things. I’ve taught her everything from computer and phone repair, to baking to fixing my motorbike to sewing. We also train in Jeet Kwon Do, and pole dance together.
  • What advice would you give to other dads with daughters?
    • Know what your values are. Make sure that your choices reflect your values, and then your kids will know the values too. The rules don’t matter so much as the values.
      I actively train my daughter on HOW to disobey me. If she is willing to stand by her values and take responsibility for her choices, then its not the rule that was the problem.
      The result is that she actively refuses to disobey, just to annoy me.
  • How have you come to balance fatherhood and outside life?
    • As a separated father, I see her on the week ends and she lives nearly 100km away from me. This means that I need to be more organised than come naturally to me, and that I need to be willing to do more than my share of the travel to make sure it works well.
  • What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a father?
    • Mostly its been the look on her face when she achieves a new thing. Like her first big hike. Or when I taught her to sew and she made her first dress. Or building a piece of furniture together. But it’s always that moment when we are working together, and I look down and I think “I’m so glad you are here”, and I see her thinking something similar. And a second later she breaks the moment and starts teasing the crap out of me. I love that.

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