So much of a Dad’s work can go unsung. Father’s Day is one of the precious few chances we get to celebrate him. Shane shares his special story this Father's Day as part of The Dad Files editorial series.
Dad taught me that the glass was always half full
Shane Marshall, his wife Makiesha and their youngest son Jack (10) live in Barnsley Village at the north-western end of Lake Macquarie, with the lake on one side and a national park on the other. He works with disadvantaged young people and families to help them develop and follow their dreams in sport, education or the arts. From his social work he’s learnt ‘not to be the tyrant father’.
“I’m a lot less judgmental. I like to see young people, my kids especially, learning for themselves,” he says. “If they make a mistake, they make a mistake – I always make sure I'm there to pick up the pieces. Touch wood it hasn't been too bad so far!”
Shane has always been very family-orientated and was close to his mother and father. They did a lot together and he worked with his father in the police force.
“Dad taught me that the glass was always half full, that there’s always a good side of things. That stuck with me. There’s nothing that can't be fixed.”
“It’s a bit of a cliché but fatherhood means everything to me. I’ve always made sure I've stayed close to my kids, to be part of their life without being intrusive. They – and my beautiful wife – are everything to me.”
“The three older ones are in the market and working. For me, that’s a standout. They have their own homes and partners. They're no angels, but they’ve kept on the right side of the law. As a father you can’t ask for much more than that.”
All your kids are different
“Our eldest is academic – he’s gone through university, got a degree and he’s very much into hospitality. Our middle two boys have trades and are big time into sport. My youngest, Jack, has taken after the oldest one, he’s academic. He’s into acting and singing; so different to the other boys. We’re heading to the States in January where he’s doing workshops and there’s a junior theatre festival in Atlanta. He’s one of a troupe of about 50 kids doing that. I haven’t got a theatrical bone in my body!”
The older boys have “had their ups and downs in relationships, bought homes and are doing them up. I've never pushed myself onto them as a ‘know-all father’ who says ‘this is the way you should or shouldn't do it’. I’m involved when they want me to be involved or I’m a phone call away.”
“We do a lot of stuff together, such as fishing and camping near Glenbawn Dam, 20 kilometres east of Scone in the Hunter Valley. It’s about a two-hour drive. We pack up our stuff and spend a couple of nights on the riverbank and catch a fair few Bass. We get better (at fishing) as we get older.”
“Family is everything to me. I love the girls my boys are with and I’ve got grandkids coming now which is better still!”
I’ve never been into milestones like Father’s Day, but since my boys have had their babies it's starting to sit with me. It’s a day to celebrate, for family to be together. It's not necessary to be in each other's presence to be together.”