This Sunday gives us the chance to appreciate and celebrate our fathers. A day dedicated to the men that have been there since day one. There are many ways Dads impact the lives of their kids: role models, motivators, protectors, life guides and best friends. Today we celebrate Rob Conway of Boston, MA, a man at the beginning of his parenting journey offering a unique style of fathership.
Dad to both Luke (4 years) and Liam (3), Rob grew up in Coleraine, Northern Ireland before moving to the US with his wife. A passionate and articulate Irishman, Rob is an example of the modern day “stay at home dad”, balancing school runs, after school sports practices & trips to the library with the demands of coaching the successful Boston College Men’s Rugby program.
As a rugby coach Rob is seen as a fierce tactician, leader and competitor. However away from this, a great relaxant is his love for drawing. Having met Rob through rugby, it was a pleasant surprise when he began to share some of his pieces on social media. These compositions were not related to rugby at all, no stock standard drawings of players in the heat of battle. What I saw instead was delicate, thoughtful, and shaped with finesse. The canvas also happened to be different, an object synonymous with our childhood - the classic brown paper lunch bag!
Rob began drawing on lunch bags for his oldest son, Luke, who was apprehensive and scared at the prospect of beginning Nursery School. Bag number 1 happened to be a simple picture of a robot with the hope of cheering him up and giving him something to look forward to. Now, nearly 2 years on, Rob is completing this ritual for both his boys and has crafted over 120 different bags.
Rob’s motivation is simple - his children's happiness. “When I see how happy the lunch bag makes them I can't help but to ask them what they want next. It's a great way to get them out of their beds, as they have to review the lunch bag to make sure it's okay to bring it to school. So far there've been no sad faces”.
To find out a kid’s perspective on this, we asked both Luke & Liam to choose their favorite lunch bags and the reasons behind each choice.
Liam says: “I like Woody because he has a badge and a belt. He gets to arrest bad guys. I like to wear jeans too. It has the number 3 and that is my age”.
Luke says: “I like to use remote controls. I'd like to see him wag his tail. He could run to Boston College and West Roxbury and New York City. I'd like to hear him Roar and I mostly like him to be my pet dinosaur.”
Luke says: “Alligators are my favorite animal. They have a wide u-shaped snout. They have sharp teeth and eat fish and I like them because they scare raccoons and deers”.
Liam says: “Wolverine has sharp claws and Spider-Man can shoot webs. They are my favorite heroes. They look like they're mad at each other. I don't know why they are mad they should be happy because they get to be heroes”.
Rob will be celebrating this Father’s Day enjoying some much needed quality time with his wife Kathy and the two boys. This week, we celebrate Dads everyone, and specifically Rob for showing us that even the smallest things can make the biggest difference to a child’s outlook on life. Happy Fathers Day!