I have followed Jeremy Payne on Instagram for quite sometime. He has been a constant source of inspiration as he is a dedicated weightlifter (amongst other things) as well as a very involved husband and father. He and his wife own a gym and work together day in and day out. All the while you can see how involved he keeps his children. In addition to being an all around awesome guy, he is an EMT and served our country for 8 years. I can’t think of many people more deserving of the title “Rad Dad” than Jeremy, so it is my pleasure to introduce him to you.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
I left the Army a year ago, after 8 years of service. I am currently an EMT-B for two different agencies and run a small powerlifting/olympic weightlifting/kickboxing gym, Necessary Payne, with my wife, Chelsey.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
With our generation being so focused on career and ambition, which isn’t a fault by any means, a modern-day dad applies the same passion and drive to his career and personal goals as he does being a father. The idea of having to choose between career and family, for men or women, should be put to rest.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
I found out my wife was pregnant the day we arrived in Iraq on my second deployment, and although I missed the birth by 6 weeks, I was very lucky to have a very abnormal perfect skype connection and a Lieutenant that handled my assigned duties, as I was initially in charge of a large portion of that day’s mission. My unit had sent me home a month early to prep for the arrival of the bulk of them, and I met my son, Jackson, on Christmas Eve. I will never forget the first time I held him, and the anticipation that had built waiting to come home. I knew I loved him before we met, and there are no words to explain what it was like to finally be connected. My wife had a very good support system with her family through her pregnancy, and my son doesn’t remember the first 6 weeks of his life. The fact that I was on the other side of the world for those first 6 weeks will never leave me, and I decided to maximize every second I get with my son from that moment on. Many military men and women have sacrificed much more, being away from their families far longer than I was.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
The greatest part of being a dad is seeing my 4 year-old son help others. He has a friend a year younger that started at his pre-school this year, and Jack took it upon himself to hold his hand and introduce him to the class, as his friend was feeling shy that day.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
I grew up watching Star Wars with my dad, and I have always been a Star Wars nerd. My son found the Clone Wars animated series on Netflix and became engulfed in it. Watching this series led to watching the films, and many lightsaber battles. The combination of the cpap I sleep with at night and my red lightsaber, led to Jack calling me “Darth Daddy”. This was one of the main inspirations for my Darth Vader half-sleeve.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
Be the example for them, show them right from wrong. Strive to become the person that you’d want them to become. A quote by Clarence Kelland that has always resonated with me is “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it”.
Thanks so much man! You are a great example, a continued inspiration and an awesome dad.