James Deakin -- Thoughts, Trials, & Triumphs of a Jetsetting Dad

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Meet the man behind the wheel... of the family SUV. James Deakin talks family & fatherhood, sharing stories of pranks he's pulled on his kids and the sacrifices he's made to be a good father to them.

We know him as a motoring journalist, TV & events host, blogger, world traveler, and all-around good guy. But to his kids Alex, 16, Sarah, 12, and Daniel, 9, James Deakin is dad – a funny one at that.

James Deakin: The man on the wheel

Get to know the Deakin family, Daddy James’s pranks (one involved an airplane!), what he’s had to give up to be a good father, and the things he’s picked up on the wild journey of parenthood.

Tell us about your family!

My wife is from New Zealand. We met in Perth, Western Australia. She used to be a teacher, and is now a stay at home mom to our three kids. She’s a wonderful mom and an extremely understanding wife. Anyone that can put up with my travel schedule deserves a medal!

james deakin and wife

My kids are the best. Very kind-hearted and naturally good kids. The eldest, Alex, is 16 now. He loves his sports. Whether basketball, football or anything that comes his way, he is willing to try anything. When he is not playing sports, he’s usually watching it on TV or reading about it online. He also loves his video games and is a great driver.

alex deakin

Sarah is the second child and my only girl. She’s my angel. She is so creative and talented and really, really funny. I’m not even sure if she realises that. But she’s got this really sharp sense of humour. She loves to leave little notes around the house or on the fridge that crack me up. Of all the three, she’s the least digital––which is awesome. She has an Instagram account that she rarely uses, but she prefers to read books.

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Daniel is just the sweetest kid ever. Not a harsh bone in his body. He is so kind to others and never fails to amaze me with his goodness. Like his older brother, he loves his video games. Minecraft, Playstation and of course YouTube videos. He is also really smart. He can read with his eyes closed. Give him different bills and blindfold him, he can tell you what each one is by just feeling it and rubbing it on his head. It is really quite amazing!

James Deakin: The Dad

How far have you gone to make your kids laugh?

I flew to Hong Kong to surprise them in the airport as they were connecting to Manila. Hid behind a wall and went in to cahoots with my wife to just jump out and scare them in the middle of the terminal. It was worth it just to see their faces!

Your favorite Daddy duty activity:

Going Go Karting! All three are actually very good, so it is easy to have a lot of fun out there!

Read: 10 tips on how to teach your kid about sportsmanship

Funniest moment with the kids:

There are way too many, but there was this time when my son wanted to stick his head out of the sunroof while we drove. So I let him. And just as he got his head out and was enjoying the wind in his face, I would squirt the windscreen washer.

He would come back in immediately and say, it’s starting to rain. The other two kids would lose the plot. He would do it again and again, and every time he stuck his head out, I would squirt.

He couldn’t understand why it would only rain once he stuck his head out. It must have taken him 5 times before he realised it. By that time, the other two had broken a rib from laughing.

daniel deakin

Proudest moment as a Dad?

When they were born.

Go on to the next page for James's best Dad advice. 

Most heartwarming Dad moment:

When I see them laughing with each other.

What’s the most serious problem your kids have approached you with?

So far the problems have been petty thankfully. Just your basic breaking of expensive things or things like that.

deakin kids

When you see that your wife is exhausted from a long day, what do you do to cheer her up?

I give her a massage. And order take out. Works all the time.

How has fatherhood changed James Deakin?

It has made me strive harder for everything because I not only want to provide, I also want to inspire and lead. I need to set an example. So even though there are times I want to just stop, I keep pushing.

Also, it has made me learn a great deal about sacrifice. I quit two things that were very difficult: smoking and drinking. I did both because I didn’t want to be a bad influence on my kids.

It is easy when you are single or childless; you just do whatever you want. But as a parent, you realize that every move you make is being watched. Hard to talk about making right choices when they clearly see that you can’t. So out they went.

james deakin family

Did you turn out to be the parent you wanted to or thought you would be?

No. Far from it. I travel too much and when I’m home I need to catch up on writing. So no. The parent I thought I’d be would be home at 5pm everyday and kicking a ball around on the weekends. But it hasn’t turned out that way. And that’s the beauty of parenting -- adapting to all these changes and working them out.

Anyone can sail a ship in calm waters. It takes a captain to steer through unchartered territory and keep everyone safe.

James Deakin's Dad-Advice:

Be happy. Place that above any other goal. In the end, that is all we are all in search for. And just remember, you can just as easily fail at doing something that you don’t love, so may as well take a risk doing something you do.

james deakin family

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