Father? Who cares?!
Daisy is four!
Years old, I mean.
On my eldest daughter’s fourth birthday, I find myself thinking about my role as a father. And, as I write furiously on a new project, I find I’m applying so much that I have learned simply from watching Daisy watch television.
But, as surprising as it may sound, I am not the only parent in children’s television. Honestly. Nor is being a parent a prerequisite of the job. Some of the best people making children’s shows aren’t parents.
So you might be wondering if it makes any real difference. Why do I put up that cheesy ‘Creator/Writer/Father’ bit up there on the header image? Thinking, okay so you’ve procreated. What do you expect? A brass band parade with a giant papier mache recreation of you and your children? Does being a parent matter?
It matters to me.
When I first created Fluffy Gardens, I had no children. I did it wanting only the best for children and was very aware of what I was like as a very young child (sensitive). But I had none of my own. Daisy was born towards the end of the first series.
As Daisy grew, I could see first-hand what effect television has.
Would Fluffy Gardens be a different show had I had children before I created it? Yes, maybe a little. But not much. I made it with positivity (98% natural positivity in every episode, now with added goodwill!). Messages I felt were good for children and I still think they’re good for children. I did learn a few things from my children on how better to get those messages across and how better to entertain (no doubt I’ll get around to discussing some of those on this site) but I’m happy with the messages and they didn’t require any actual children whatsoever.
In fact, they’re mostly things I’d love to say to adults too.
But what having a child did was make me instantly aware that my shows don’t exist in a vacuum. Suddenly, my mission to create a great show wasn’t enough. My children weren’t just going to be affected by what I make ‘ they were going to be exposed to the entire industry. The great, the good, the bad, the really bad, the really, really bad, the… you get the idea. The responsibility of my job, something I’ve always taken very seriously, became even greater. But, more than that, my place in the whole chain shifted.
I was no longer just part of the supply. I was also the demand.
That’s like going from being some guy in a factory making tubes for missiles to being dumped in a war zone during a bombardment. Okay, that’s a little dramatic but it’s the right idea. When those missiles are being directed at you (or your children) it makes you think hard about not just what you do, but what everyone else is doing. And why.
So, yes, it matters.
Happy birthday to my lovely little girl, Daisy! Daddy loves you very much!