Businessman Martin Hodge of Sandi's Pet Paradise loves spending time with his wife Sandi of 18 years, and their four wonderful kids: Daniel (25), Keeshaun (15), Savannah (13) and Sierra (5). The Pisces born, Ebenezer resident, who will soon be constructing the family's own home in Rice Hill Gardens, shares his views about fatherhood and gives a sneak peek into his own life as a dad.
What went through your mind the first time you learned you were becoming a father; and how did you actually feel as a first time dad?
When I met my wife Sandi, she had a son Daniel so I considered myself a father from the time we got married. I was extremely excited when I found out that my wife was pregnant with our son Keeshaun. We had been trying for long time so it was a joyous occasion.
What does it mean to be a father in today's society?
As a father in today's society, you have to be extra diligent in trying to teach good values and raising your children to go in the right direction because there are so many outer influences that our kids face today.
Best aspects of being a dad?
Watching my children grow and the pride I feel at seeing them develop into their individual wonderful selves.
Challenges of being a dad?
Every day is a challenge when you have kids. You want to do your very best for them and you are not always sure if you are.
Funniest things your kids ever did/told you?
My kids have their mother and me laughing all the time. All four of them have a great sense of humour. I honestly wouldn't even know where to start.
What are some of the things a man absolutely must consider before deciding to become a father?
They should consider whether they are able to support a child, not just financially, but also if they are ready to sacrifice the lifestyle they are living now to dedicate themselves to the proper raising of the child.
Most difficult decisions you've had to make for your kids to date and why were they difficult?
Up till now, I can't say we have had to make any difficult decisions with the kids really.
You often hear about the absence of fathers in their children's lives and in the home. Why is it important that fathers play a big role in their children's lives (even if they may no longer be involved with the mother)?
It is important for fathers to play a big role in their children's lives because a strong, responsible father-figure in a boy's life teaches him to be a strong, responsible man himself and a caring, loving father. In a girl's life, it teaches her to respect herself and expect the same kind of treatment from anybody else in her life. Children need to be loved and cared for by both their parents no matter what the situation is between the two. It is not the child's fault that the parents' relationship did not work out and they shouldn't have to suffer for it.
Current job and responsibilities?
I am a self-employed painting contractor. My company's name is Home Style and Design NV. I have been in the painting business for over 20 years. We also do all different types of wall texture applications. I take a lot of pride in the quality of work I deliver to my clients.
How do you juggle being a dad, a husband and a full time worker?
My wife and I are both fulltime workers, but between the two of us, we manage. My schedule allows me to be able to do a lot of the running around that comes with being a parent as I do not have a 9-to-5 in an office all day.
Biggest worry as a dad and why?
Of course my biggest worry is that something bad will happen to one of my kids or that something will happen to me and I would not be able to provide for my family.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions persons who are not fathers have of fathers?
That it is easy.
Your views on Father's Day?
Sometimes you don't feel appreciated as a parent so it is nice to have this day so you can feel the love.
How do you plan to celebrate Father's Day?
The day will most definitely start with our traditional grand breakfast in bed made by my wife and the kids – I look forward to it. The rest of the day we haven't planned out, maybe go to the beach or hang around the house and barbecue in the afternoon – not sure but will definitely be spent with my wife and kids just enjoying the day.
My hobbies are basketball and baseball.
My pet peeve is liars.
What's your favourite type of music; what artistes do you listen to?
My favourite type of music is old school R&B. I like Luther Vandross and R Kelly.
If you could ask any three persons (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
I would invite Michael Jordan, Derrick Jeter and Denzel Washington and I would definitely serve them my famous barbecue chicken and ribs with my own recipe of barbecue sauce. Anyone who knows me that comes to visit always reserves a day for my barbecue.