This week, we took a different approach to the Spotlight feature. Instead of our typical Q&A, we wanted a straight-up ‘freestyle’ on all things Fatherhood. Pete Favat is an iconic creative mind who is the Chief Creative Officer at one of the land’s top advertising agencies– Deustch LA. (Yes, if the great Hip Daddy Donny Deustch comes to mind, you are correct…same agency, different decade!) And yes, Pete and Deutsch LA just won the Pizza Hut advertising account, which is of course a Hip Daddy Approved “Dining Out With Daddy” destination! A great creative mind, a great guy, and an awesome Dad, let’s give Pete the microphone…
Hi, I’m Pete Favat
and I am a Dad to Cian Favat and Juliette Favat and our chocolate lab Buddy. I am husband and best friend to Amy. Hands down all my favorite souls on the planet. We love each other tremendously. We’ve always been super tight. I’m truly a lucky friggin’ fella.
Spend as much time together as you can.
Amy and I had a simple belief raising our kids, experience everything as a unit. Camping, traveling, creating art, making films, video games, puzzles, board games, snowboarding. The cliché is true, a family that plays together……
What’s it like to being a dad?
I need to go back in time a bit. Bear with me. When I was young I used to think to myself…
“I will never, ever have children. I can’t. I am too fucking selfish.”
My Dad, John Favat gave us everything he had. He was awesome. A WWII vet, a child of the great depression. A first generation Italian/American from NYC. He was kind, friendly, open and everyone loved him. I knew we didn’t have a lot of money. My Dad worked his ass off to save up whatever he could to take us on trips, go out to dinner, go camping. He gave us all of whatever he had of himself. I NEVER, EVER thought I could be that kind of man, that kind of selfless. Why would I ever tie myself down with children and be a Dad? Right?
YOU HOLD YOUR BABY FOR THE FIRST TIME. Cut to years later, I’m in a delivery room and in a split second. MY WHOLE LIFE CHANGED. BOOM!!! I picked up and held our baby for the first time. Everything I ever felt, about myself completely vanished. I was completely transformed. I’m not the selfish prick I thought I was!!!!! YEAH! I was wrong!!!
On that day, I changed forever. In fact I started to think and feel things you never thought or felt before. “I would take a bullet for this little baby, I would jump in front of a car or truck if that’s the case. I would run straight into a burning friggin’ building to protect this little fella.” It’s crazy beautiful. You think you know what love is. You think you love your mom and dad, your girlfriend, your wife. And you do. But, I would offer up this,
You really don’t know what love is…. Until you hold your baby for the first time.
About my parenting style:
Soft and strong. Friend but firm. If you are too much one or the other you will create big problems. I grew up with kids who’s parents were way too rigid, they rebelled, they used a lot of drugs and drank and got messed up to escape. On the other side were parents who were too soft. They let their kids run wild. Bad move. Kids need to be given direction, we set up guard rails and constantly re directed Cian and Juliette. Pushed them to try new things, ice hockey, rock climbing, kayaking, snowboarding. But if the kids tried something and they didn’t dig it after a while we’d drop it.
I learned a ton about how to be a parent
from creating the “truth” campaign with fellow Hip Daddy Alex Bogusky. It was the first national anti tobacco brand designed to create something cooler than smoking. Sometimes our crazy jobs can actually help us be better parents. Here’s what I learned. Around age 10 young people want control, they need it. It’s part of our brain development. But at the same time parents refuse to give up control. It’s called the “age of assertion.’ To make a really long story short, there are teenage “psychological need states.” They exist in all humans. One of those need states the ability to control aspects of their life. The problem is that parents do not want to give up control, that’s where rebellion is born, that’s where problems begin and relationships fall apart. Here’s what we used to do. Let’s use bedtime as the example. You can just tell your kids “you have to go to bed at 8pm.” and leave it at that. THEY GET PISSED because their brains are yearning for control and to make decisions. So, here’s what we did. We gave Cian and Juliette 3 options. 7PM, 7:30PM or 8PM. Of course they chose 8PM, buts that’s perfectly fine because we were already good with that. NO BATTLES, NO REBELLION, NO SCREAMING. It works. Our kids never acted out. I always joked and said if our kids rebel, they’ll do it by wearing BROOKS BROTHERS.
Time rushes by way too fast.
Both our kids are in college now. Cian is 21 and Juliette is 19. They are amazing. They inspire us, we inspire them. We know we did a great job raising them. Amy and I always look back and ask ourselves, “How the hell did we do that.” And “wow, that went fast.” We talk, text, snapchat or Instagram every single day. I love getting snapchats from Juliette during crazy busy times at work. It keeps me centered, it reminds me the most important job was raising the kids. Sometimes out of the blue in the middle of a client meeting I’ll get a text from Cian saying “ love you dad.” And no matter how the day is going, it just got better by a million percent.
Amy and I shot a ton of video and took thousands of pictures thinking we were slowing down the days ripping by. We thought we were going to slow things down by doing so. Sometimes when the kids were little I’d stand in the doorway of their bedroom at night watching them sleeping and cry. The feeling was a mix of happiness and sadness. I was happy for my family, but I was sad to see the moment pass. “The days are long and the years are short.” Enjoy it all as much as you can. Because you go from changing diapers to dropping them off at college in what seems to be a minute. That’s my perspective on it.