The Tradition That All Parents Should “Fiercely Protect”

An Aussie comedian on why you should take solo field trips with your kids

A father and a son walking next to a lake.
Customize the experience to your child — it shows that you're listening and you care.
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Hamish Blake, the 41-year-old Aussie comedian, is a good dad. There’s a slew of online evidence in support of this, not the least that he started a podcast, How Other Dads Dad, to become a better one.

Meanwhile, Blake’s primary podcast, which I love listening to on long runs (it’s called Hamish & Andy, and hosted with longtime collaborator Andy Lee), is predicated on a blend of energy, affability and meticulous silliness — all traits that tend to come in handy in fatherhood.

Blake also does good dad things. Once a year, he stays up all night to create his son a crazy cake: a Rubik’s cube cake that can actually be “solved,” a monster cake that spews vomit frosting, etc. Cake Night never disappoints.

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Hamish Blake’s Parenting Tradition

In a recent Instagram post, Blake profiled another one of his values as a parent: the sanctity of one-on-one trips. In his words:

“Just got back from four days camping with my boy on K’gari (Fraser Island). I don’t know heaps about parenting, but one thing my wife and I have stumbled upon is the power of every year blocking out a few days to do a 1on1 trip with each kid, then protecting that space fiercely. You never know what’s going to be the lasting memory from these trips, but that’s kind of the point. You plan the big moments but it’s the little moments in between where the magic lies.”

How It Works

Blake and his wife alternate between taking their son and their daughter on individual field trips. This installment, which Blake took with his son (named Sonny!) was clearly a bigger deal. They went up to the world’s largest sand island — a World Heritage-listed stretch off the northeast coast of Brisbane — for four days of adventuring in the bush.

In the comments, Blake said that he started didn’t start doing these trips with his son until he was “three or four.” He also shared that “[It was] just a really small trip at first. Definitely doesn’t need to be fancy to feel the specialness.”

That’s important to remember, especially if this sort of tradition seems too expensive or time-intensive, or you have a ton of kids at home. You and your co-parent can find small ways to set aside dedicated individual time for each kid (preferably outside).

The Power of Undivided Attention

This sort of tradition can prove an emotional powerhouse for both child and parent. It gives your son or daughter your full, undivided attention, signaling to them that they are valued and taken care of while giving you an opportunity to get to know them better and deepen your unique bond.

There are so many ways to approach this:

  • Plan the trip for them to show you’re aware of their interests (e.g. don’t make them go fishing if they’ve never expressed a desire to do so)
  • Plan the trip with them to afford them a degree or responsibility
  • Give them the reins (and a budget), once they’re of a certain age, to let them know the trust is there

This sort of thing can have its hiccups — from potential logistical crunches with your spouse to the inevitable envy from “slighted” siblings. But the construction ensures that every permutation of the family duo will have their day on a proverbial sandy island at some point. Besides, isolated one-on-ones have the potential to benefit the family as a unit in the long run.

Consider adding the tradition to your family routine. And don’t stress if your kid is now 33, instead of three. It’s never too late to find “those little moments where the magic lies.”

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