As an annual tradition around Father’s day, MumsVillage reached out to the dads in our community to share their parenting experiences and tips as we #CelebrateDad. This is Jason Corder’s story:
1. What childhood experiences shaped you the most? What did you learn from them?
I would say growing up in an extremely open, liberal and progressive culture in California in the 70s/80s gave me a huge appreciation for giving kids freedom, as much as possible. It’s funny because the culture I grew up in is, in many ways, completely opposite from Kenyan culture so it’s a challenge for me to somehow create a progressive, kid-centered environment for my children here. Kids need to chance to get dirty, to make mistakes, to be the wild little creatures they are.
2. How would people who knew you in school describe you?
In high school I was quite well-liked, easily fitting in with jocks, nerds, the theater kids etc. I was seen as friendly, funny and creative and loved the spotlight of the stage.
3. How have you raised your children similarly to how you were raised? What have you tried to do differently?
I raised my first two sons in a farmhouse in rural France, where they were allowed the kind of freedom I enjoyed myself as a child. My 3rd son has been raised here and as mentioned, it has been a challenge to find that kind of freedom in what feels like a very restrictive society compared to where I come from. I’m very content with the way I was raised and so try to recreate that with my children.
4. What traditions did your parents pass on to you that you passed on to your child/children?
Singing, being creative, appreciating the absurdity of life, trusting your intuition, laughing at life, showing love openly. These aren’t so much traditions as values.
5. What three words would you say represents your approach to parenting and why?
Distract, love, laugh. Parents of small children will know what I mean by distract. You can NEVER win an argument with a 2/3 year old so better to distract and make them laugh.
6. What are some of the most rewarding (and/or challenging) aspects of being a parent for you?
Seeing my sons grow into some of the most intelligent, kind, strong and creative young men I’ve ever met.
7. What was the most rewarding (and/or hardest) period of your career journey?
As a visual artist, I had some very rewarding exhibitions in places like Charleston, SC, Paris, London and at Ramoma in Nairobi in 2008. As a filmmaker I’ve had a lot of success here in Kenya and I look forward to more work here in Kenya and in the U.S.
8. What are your thoughts about your current line of work?
I love being a filmmaker, producer, actor, scriptwriter, composer, singer and songwriter. It is however challenging to make money from these here in Kenya, though the industry is growing. For me the key is always about collaboration. One plus one equals a lot more than two and I always look for people, here and around the world, to work with to create work of depth and beauty.
9. What do you think the world needs more of right now?
Compassion, empathy and an understanding that all living beings are connected. Everyone on this beautiful and beguiling planet is connected and we need to work together, regardless of skin color, gender and economic status. Oh, and a penal colony for narcissists (with re-programming) haha!
10. Is there something that you wish you had experienced that you haven’t yet experienced?
Raising a child in my home community surrounded by the support of old friends and family.
11. At this stage in your life, what are some of your best family memories?
Enjoying incredible French summers with my two small sons and their Mum, watching them mature and graduate and become incredible young men, enjoying time on the Kenyan coast with all 3 dudes 🙂
12. What message would you like to share with your family?
That I’m so grateful to my parents for everything they’ve taught me and that I’m so proud of my sons for being everything a father could ask for and more.
13. How would you like to be remembered?
As a kind and supportive person who injected positivity into people’s lives and who inspired people to explore the world and themselves.
Happy Father’s day!