Gifts From The Heart

Darren Patterson (38) is an international pilot for a major US carrier. He married Joanne, a former flight attendant, nearly nine years ago, and today, they have a family of five: Two boys and a girl.

Darren Patterson

Darren feels extremely lucky to be a dad and feels he owes many of his parenting ideals to his mother. His parents divorced when he was just 3 years old. Darren explains, "It was up to my mother to provide the guidance and wisdom in my life. She was a single mother, raising two children on a nurse's salary. She had to work very long hours, double shifts and weekends to make it work. However, she always found ways to do things with us as a family. One thing she instilled in us was that you should take care of your family, no matter what. You make those personal sacrifices to provide for them. I strive to succeed today for her, myself and my own family."

When not flying the friendly skies, Darren enjoys spending time with his clan. When it comes to "dad time," the boys love helping with the yard work. While Darren admits it's not one of his favorite activities, he's not complaining. "Both boys always want to be included in every project and do some part to help out. If only this will last into their teens."

Gifts from the heart

While Darren prefers a low-key Father's Day, he reveals that he does look forward to the homemade cards his children make for him. Not only does he treasure their creations, but he also he keeps them. In fact, he saves everything his children make for him, a tradition he picked up from his mother. "My mom used to keep things I had done," he says, "and she has since given it all back to me. I just think that's neat."

Darren also wishes to instill appreciation within his little ones: "Since I'm fortunate to be in a much better financial situation than when I was growing up, I want my children to know just how privileged we are to have a yard and a house." Darren advises other fathers, "You want to always provide a better life for your kids, but it's equally important to keep them grounded."

Most importantly, Darren says, "I always want them to look out for each other. Joanne and I may not always be there, and I want them to be able to turn to each other for support."

Darren concludes, "I love being a dad. And I'm told I'm quite good at it. I'm proof that you don't need a good father figure to be a good father. Kids just need a loving parent."

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