Doug Rigg is one of the most caring and thoughtful guys I’ve been able to talk with. Right now he is probably enjoying a beautiful sunrise in Honolulu, where he lives with his partner Bill and their daughter Cristina. If you take a look at pictures of him, you will see one common thread, and that is smiles all around. I don’t know if it’s Hawaii that causes all the smiling, but I have a suspicion that it isn’t just living in paradise that makes him so happy. Doug is the proud father of a little girl that he has been waiting a very long time to be blessed with, and blessed he is.
I first read about Doug via the Huffington Post where he wrote some pretty awesome articles that gave me some insight about what it is like to be a gay father. I knew I wanted to reach out and be able to share his point of view immediately. I thought he was another perfect example of what it means to be a “Modern Day Dad” The thing about modern day dads is that we are able to break the mold, redefine what parenting is, and in his case show it doesn’t matter who you love but how you love. It doesn’t take much to see how Doug loves, and that is with all of his heart.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
My name is Doug Rigg and in my professional career I basically ask people for money. I work as a fundraiser for my alma mater, Punahou School (also President Obama’s alma mater), and I couldn’t be more proud to do what I do, for the organization I do it for. Many people tell me that they could never do my job, that it would be so difficult to constantly hold your hand out for money, but when it comes down to it it’s all about relationships. I’m lucky enough to work for an amazing independent school that I attended for 13 years of my life. And the relationships I’ve created as an alumnus and staff member has made blending career and personal job as a father very easy. Of course, one day I would also love to have our daughter attend Punahou as a third generation at the school, so I could give her the amazing opportunity I had when I was a student here.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
Being gay fathers, first and foremost being a modern-day dad means that assigned parental roles due to gender should be thrown out the window. I see this with heterosexual parents as well (which is awesome). In a more broad sense, gone are the days of the “mom takes care of the kids and dad goes to work and brings home the bacon” viewpoint. My young nephews asked me one day who the mom was, and I said we both were the moms and the dads, and that family is the most important thing. Not one dad and one mom. I believe we have more to do to fine-tune this when educating our children (at home AND at school), but I do know that kids today aren’t near as aware of the non-traditional families and that schools are starting to recognize (and teach!) about our type of family. Not to get on a soap box…but love is love, right? No matter who it comes from. I was honored to have the Huffington Post publish a couple posts I wrote about this particular subject. You can see them at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/doug-rigg/where-do-babies-come-from_b_3203669.html
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
I worry less about myself and more about my daughter. I think that’s pretty common though, that the emphasis and focus of your life shifts to your kid. My brother said once that it’s the sacrifices that you make for them that makes you love them so much. It’s a hard job being a parent, one of the hardest around, but I agree with him — that investment that you make reaps so many magical moments and the love that you get in return is boundless.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
I think watching her mind work as she learns is the greatest part. We are at such a fun age at 2-years-old, where she’s forming sentences and learning to count, and communicating with the world, that I could just watch her for hours diddle and play around. She comes home from day care and there is always something new she’s learned. Their minds are amazing!
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
There are so many at this age but one that happened recently made me laugh out loud. We are at the potty training stage right now, and everything is pee pee or doo doo or potty or diaper…and sometimes, naturally things get confused. I had to take her into our bathroom with me because, well, I had to go to the bathroom and I couldn’t leave her alone in the house. As I was sitting on the “potty” she looked at me and immediately grabbed the dog bowl and sat on it like it was the potty, and a huge grin came across her face. Luckily she had a diaper on but it was funny how she wanted to copy me. Hopefully our dog, Chloe, doesn’t get any surprises in her dog bowl in the coming months. Talk about starting on the wrong foot!
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
I was under the impression that my job as a father or parent was to educate my child, but I feel that it is more to help them understand the consequences of the decisions they make, even at this very young age. If you provide them with good direction and understanding of how the world works, that is better than an education at any of the top schools in the world. One of my favorite quotes about children is from the Indian philosopher Kahlil Gibran’s in the book, The Prophet. He writes “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.” Oh, and most importantly, live in the moment because they fly by!
Thanks so much for taking part, Doug. You really are an inspiration to all parents and it was great getting to know you. I wish you the best and all the joy in the world to share with that beautiful little girl.
Read more about Doug and his family on his blog at www.dougandbill.blogspot.com
Also if anyone wants to contact Doug about being a dad, a gay dad, and/or how he became a dad and the process, he says he is happy to help!
Get in touch with Doug here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: Dads Parenting Rad Dad Rad Dad Feature