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“Rad Dad Feature: D’Art Strickland”

D’Art is not only a “Modern Day Dad,” but also a modern day renaissance man.  Having been many things to many people over the years, one of the most important titles he has held is “Dad.”  He recently has seen his own business take flight, D’Art Wood Co., a handcrafted woodworking gig that produces some seriously unique and functional pieces, and not much is as rewarding as being an entrepreneur doing what you love.  Father to three girls, he definitely has a lot of wisdom and motivation to share that goes beyond how to build things with wood.  His zest for life, and continuous drive is really inspirational to me and I am pretty lucky to know the guy.  Not only is his family absolutely beautiful, but his girls are also extremely polite and kind, which says a lot about the parenting going on in their household.  Get to know D’Art a little more, and enjoy the feature.

1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?

I’m D’Art, which is short for D’Artagnon, and yes, it is my real name. It’s cool now, but in 3rd grade I had a hard time trying to figure out why my name had a “g” in it. I’ve had a lot of jobs: I got to hold those cool orange cones to park airplanes, worked at a textile plant, been on staff at a couple churches, served coffee to congressmen, was a security guard for The Masters golf tournament, and fixed Morena Baccarin’s (Firefly, Homeland) computer. However, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Currently I pay the bills by working as a IT Project Manager, but my heart is in woodworking. Due to working a full time job, as well as having my D’Art Wood Co. business, my time can be stretched pretty thin at times, and I have to make my kids and family a priority. During the school year, dinner time is pretty sacred for us. We typically ask them 2 questions at dinner. What was the favorite part of your day, and why. Those questions alone, give us a peek into their daily lives, and hopefully helps us stay connected. And we just recently discovered the awesomeness of taking family vacations.

2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?

We live in a pretty rad time. Technology is raging, video phones are a reality, all we are missing is the hover board. As a modern-day dad, raising well thought, respected, risk-taking kids, means embracing technology, while rejecting it at the same time. Our kids have time limits on the computer and iDevices, and are forced to play outside. But are encouraged to call/facetime their friends and Grandparents, and use technology to fuel their imagination. Embracing both sides helps them ask better questions.

3.How did becoming a father change your life?

I laugh. A lot. My kids have a great sense of humor. And, as a dad of 3 girls, 11, 10 and 8, I listen to a lot of boy bands, and our entire DVR is filled with Disney, and Nickelodeon shows. Also, the motorcycle was sold and a minivan was purchased.

4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?

Watching them grow up, and seeing their personalities and passions develop. Each their very own. It’s amazing. My oldest daughter did her science project this year on Presbycusis, the loss of hear in elderly, and she hasn’t stopped talking about how hearing works. My middle daughter, has said, since she was 4 that she wanted to be a fashion designer. And my youngest just loves animals. So we try to build into that. Encourage pursuit of their dreams, after all, the stuff you do on the way to your dream, sometimes, tends to be more satisfying than reaching the dream itself.

5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?

I’m kind of a big guy, 6’5, and too many lbs., one day our driver seat in the minivan broke on one side, I guess I leaned back one to many times. My youngest got it in her head that it broke when I was dancing to the radio. We got it fixed after a couple months of driving, while sitting completely upright. Not long after that, we were all in the car and some random song came on, and I started dancing. My youngest frantically asked to turn the music down, so I did, then she proceeded to say, “Dad, I don’t think dancing is such a good idea…remember, the seat, and you just got it fixed, so, no dancing.”

6. What advice can you give any new father out there?

Be present. Stick up for your kids. You don’t have to be cool, or hip, or awesome, or make lots of money, or drive a rad car, your kids are going to love you, let them, and love them back.  Have inside jokes. Make rules and live by them, but break them sometimes. Eat ice cream and watch Disney movies. But the best thing I can do for my daughters, is to love their mother, my wife, after all, I’m the best example of what they’ll look for in a husband one day.

Thanks D’Art, it’s been an absolute pleasure, and it was great to get to know a little bit more about you.  We wish you all the success in the world.  Get in touch with D”Art below:

Instagram: DArtWoodCo
Twitter: @DArtWoodCo & @bigdart


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