Ben Feller was able to share his thoughts on fatherhood with me. We talk about his fatherhood journey and the values he looks to instill into his son. After that we talk about his book, Big Problems, Little Problems. Lastly we finish the interview with the Fatherhood Quick Five.
Ben Feller On Fatherhood
Art Eddy: What popped into your mind when you found out you were going to be a dad?
Ben Feller: I love the kid already. How is that possible?
AE: What are some of the core values you look to instill in your son as he grows up?
BF: Empathy, respect, courtesy, patience, honesty. And root for the Yankees, of course.
AE: What is something that you learned from your son about yourself or about life in general?
BF: That even my own big problems are often little ones when I take a moment to have perspective. He learned that and now he teaches it to me.
AE: What is the one biggest piece of advice you have for new dads?
BF: Expect to work really hard, as being a dad is the most important and rewarding job you will ever have — but it’s OK to ask for help, too.
Ben Feller On Book
AE: What inspired you to write Big Problems, Little Problems
BF: The moment my son, from his car seat, reminded me that my frustration over a traffic jam was not a “big problem” but a “little problem.” He heard me all those years and he helps me, too.
AE: What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
BF: That daily life can be so much easier if we approach problems with patience, perspective, humor and deep breaths. It actually works.
AE: What does your family think of the book?
BF: My family is proud and they all want signed copies, especially from my son, Sam.
AE: You are an award-winning writer that covered two presidents. Do you have a surreal story that you experienced that you would like to share while working in that role?
BF: When my son turned one, we took him to the White House to see the New York Giants be honored for winning the Super Bowl. While we were there, President Obama’s team invited us in for a minute so the president could meet Sam. It was a scorching hot day, and Sam’s mom and I did everything we could to keep him from having a meltdown. That’s what parenting is: constant problem-solving. We took off Sam’s shoes and socks to keep him cool. Just then, the president came out to greet us. He said, “By all means, if you’re coming to meet the president, you can come in barefoot. It’s only the Oval Office.” (He was being lighthearted, and the photos of that day are tremendous.)
The Fatherhood Quick Five
AE: Do you guys have a favorite family movie that you all love to watch together?
BF: The new Top Gun movie has blown all the others away. For now. We loved it.
AE: Do you guys have a favorite song that you all like to sing to or dance to as a family?
BF: This one is a moving target. Right now it’s Bang! by AJR
AE: Describe the perfect family vacation.
BF: Ocean. Cheeseburgers. Repeat. (And oh, we have.)
AE: Favorite children’s book when you were a kid was?
BF: I loved the original Fortunately, Unfortunately. Life just bounces you all around.
AE: What are three words that you hope your son would use to describe you as a dad?
BF: Caring, loving and nice. (I asked him. Always go to the source.)