I got to know Paul over the span of a few conversations on the internet. We had a lot in common as far as being dads that stood out pretty far from the norm. That and the fact that he and I both listened to a lot of the same grind-core bands. Hey, grind-core fans are few and far between anymore, so it was an instant camaraderie type thing. Paul has been a supporter of our site for a while and always had a lot of really introspective things to say on our posts that I have really appreciated. I found him to be a really cool and inspiring father to get to know. Paul has had some really unique and thoughtful perspectives on what we had going on already and always had something positive to add. When I first emailed him about possibly being featured he seemed a little apprehensive at first. “most likely on the count of me not being famous” he said. I emailed him and asked him to be a part of the site because I knew he was more than just a “punk rock dad”. Our focus is to celebrate all fantastic fathers, to inspire and motivate, and share experiences with each other. It wasn’t until he replied that I learned the real passion that Paul has for life, learning, teaching, and his own family. He is a dedicated and proud father that has been able to take his life experiences, learn from them, and use them to build an awesome foundation for his own family. His fervor for life seems to exude from everything he does, from music, to education, from family to friends, and everything in between. I feel really lucky to have been able to get this insight to such a cool and rad dad all the way from Melbourne, Austrailia. Meet my friend, Paul!
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
My name is Paul Jimeno and I’m from Melbourne, Australia. I’m a full time Learning Support Educator and part time English Tutor. I am passionate about Special Ed. and believe every child deserves a chance at integrating into a mainstream educational institution. I’ve worked in public schools, private progressive schools as well as in remote Aboriginal communities so I’ve covered a fair amount of demographic as well as worked in some challenging, yet rewarding situations.
I’ve also been active within the hardcore/punk scene in Melbourne since the mid 90’s. Playing in bands, organizing shows and contributing to fanzines all within a completely autonomous, DIY capacity for which I’m proud of as well as intensely protective about. At the moment I play drums in COUNTERATTACK! Which are a fast, skate-thrash band and also, BOMBS OVER BRUNSWICK, which is a female fronted, fiercely political, black metal/crust band. Both bands play regularly within the Melbourne hardcore/punk, DIY scene as well as tour as much as people want to see us.
Furthermore, I’m a proud father of 3 beautiful children, Beau (18) Zahli (5) and Jiah (3) I had Beau when I was 20 with my High School girlfriend. We broke up just before she was born so I was a part time dad for my 20’s and early 30’s. Beau’s Mother and I didn’t always see eye to eye but we always had our shit together for her.
Balancing all of this can be extremely difficult, what with planning for work, band rehearsals and especially touring. Luckily I have an exceptionally understanding partner in Shannon.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
To me, being a modern day dad means doing things differently than my Father did. My Dad was extremely career driven and also had a keen interest in politics and even though I know now that he loved us, he was a really poor communicator. He wouldn’t talk to us about anything beyond school or work- he never really engaged us on any kind of deeper, personal level. My Aunt explained recently that it was just the way they were raised and that men from that era just don’t talk about their feelings. Therefore, I make a point of talking about whatever may be on my children’s minds as well as being a good listener to their needs. I want to smash those shitty misconceptions about the tough guy Dad that is too macho to have an engaging and enriching conversation with their children.
3. How did becoming a father change your life?
Becoming a father at such a young age (20) completely turned my life upside down. I was pretty much skateboarding every day, and doing the band thing, touring very actively in a number of bands. The pregnancy was by no means planned but not once did we ever regret our decision. Even somebody as conservative as my Father was very accepting of the situation and I’m thankful for that. We had a lot of support from family and friends. It’s great now because Beau and I can have beers together and talk about grown up stuff. She’s one of the raddest girls I know and she’s got a big heart. I wouldn’t change a thing.
4. What’s the greatest part about being a dad?
Honestly, I just love being a Dad. When I finish work, I race home to hear how their day at Kindergarten was. It may sound mundane to anybody else, but this is usually my favourite part of the day. I love watching them learn new things…it’s watching the wonder in their eyes and witnessing their confidence grow. One thing I’m trying to get through to them at the moment is that you learn the best from failure and that sometimes, to attain some kind of success you have to be prepared for the inevitable pain that goes along with it. I recently explained to Jiah that there is going to be a lot of times when you fall off your skateboard and that the smartest thing he can do for now, is to learn how to slam properly.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
The funny stories occur on a daily basis but one thing that comes to mind is Jiah’s obsession with boobs. He certainly doesn’t mind telling random strangers that he “loves boobs!”
One of the first times he professed his love was after dinner some time ago. I was in the kitchen, washing dishes and the others were in the next room, winding down, preparing for bed. It’s usually a pretty quiet time of the night so imagine my surprise when I hear Jiah say from out of nowhere to Shannon, “I love your boobs mum” I tried so hard not to laugh because I knew I was going to get the blame for teaching him to say this. Of course, the next thing I hear is Shannon in an angry voice yell, “Pauly!!!”
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
I would say learn to become a good listener. Not just for your kids, but for everybody you meet. Let your kids know that you’re interested in everything they have to say no matter how ridiculous. I can’t stress how important reading stories are. Even from the youngest age. Reading expands their vocabulary and stimulates their imagination. Zahli just turned 5 and she’s just graduated to chapter books by Enid Blyton and now is also obsessed with the Narnia series.
Maybe hold out on video games/I pads etc for as long as you can too. Easier said than done in this day and age I know, but always have the energy for them to run outside in the grass barefooted as opposed to being cooped up in the stuffy house, staring at an LED screen all day. I’m not perfect and there are times when I will hand my phone to the kids to play games so I can get work done, but try and find balance…again, easier said than done!
Thanks so much man! I appreciate you being a part of the site. Keep up all the great work!
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