Our kids are yearning for a live, intimate relationship with their dads - and dads need to take their children's needs seriously. Kids spell love "t-i-m-e". Stuff and gadgets are fun, but they're not good substitutes for your time.
Frances Coventry chats with Inga Tuigamala: rugby legend, personal trainer, funeral director, proud dad and adoring husband …
1. A great night out for you would go like …?
INGA: Sharing a good old home-cooked meal with my wife and the kids. A great night IN, in other words. We only dine out on special occasions. We all love our curries – and lots of meat with very few vegetables. Good old Polynesian food.
2. Who do you most admire, and why?
INGA: My mother – because of her unconditional love. After my Dad died suddenly, at 49, she undertook the responsibility of raising 14 children. She’s the grandmother of over 60 grandchildren – and she’s a jetsetter, flying all around the Pacific visiting her grandkids.
3. If you could do anything in the world and not fail, what would that be?
INGA: I’d be an ambassador for disadvantaged young people, because they often don’t have their own voice. I’d be talking to people of influence, especially people in Government. But my real desire is to see my kids grow up and fulfil their potential – which, for me, means more time helping them make their dreams come true.
4. What’s the key to a great marriage?
INGA: Don’t talk too much, especially if you’re the husband! I’m not being tongue-in-cheek – this is cold hard fact, learned from experience. Always be willing to listen. Marriage is for the mature, not the immature, because it exposes your weaknesses and you find out how selfish you can be. It helps if you have a relationship with God – so you’re accountable to someone outside the marriage. There’s a good saying, “Happy wife … happy life!”
5. Your fondest memory growing up is …?
INGA: Every Saturday night all my cousins and aunties and uncles would come and sleep over at our house. I’d wake up in the morning to the smells of breakfast cooking. Then we’d all sit around the table and pray and eat – then get ready for church. I loved it!
6. Who are your heroes?
INGA: Growing up in sport, my heroes were people like Michael Jones and Brian Williams – probably because they’re Pacific Islanders. But my biggest hero is the Queen. I had the privilege of meeting her four or five times in my life. I think she brings a steadiness, a spirit of resilience that’s like granite. She shows a lot of compassion and humility, and carries herself so well after all these years.
7. What book is currently on your bedside table?
INGA: ‘Be All You Can Be’ – a challenge to stretch your God-given potential, by Dr John Maxwell. And a devotional book called ‘Handbook to Leadership’ – which I read every day. But I often fall asleep listening to Southern Star where they play all the old gospel songs.
8. What’s the first thing that comes into your mind when I say:
Politicians … INGA: Treat them with caution.
Religion … Be more open minded.
God … Priority number one!
Sex … Be very careful.
Global Warming … Don’t overreact.
9. Imagine you’re stuck on a desert island with just one person – who would that be, and why?
INGA: It would have to be my wife, Daphne. She’s very multi-talented.
10. What’s the hardest thing about being a dad?
INGA: Listening. Sometimes we feel that because we brought our children into the world we have the right to decide the outcome of their lives. The challenge for me and other fathers is to live in THEIR world – and not make them feel guilty because they don’t understand the world we came from. They can’t appreciate that world because they haven’t experienced it. They can never understand the hardship I experienced or the lack of opportunities when I was their age.
I heard someone say, “We’ve come through the bronze age, the ice age, the middle age, and now we’re in the garb-age!” I think it’s tough for our kids to find their way through all the garbage that they’re exposed to and make good, steady, calculating decisions about their path in life.
Our kids are yearning for a live, intimate relationship with their dads – and dads need to take their children’s needs seriously. Kids spell love “t-i-m-e”. Stuff and gadgets are fun, but they’re not good substitutes for your time.
Issue 4 2010 Take 10 (405 KB)