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8 September 2021
Bryce with his daughters Eliza, left, and Georgia.
Words Bryce, Eliza, and Georgia Davies*
When I was in my early 20s, high on my list of life goals was to be a good dad. When my first daughter, Eliza, was born, I recall holding her and feeling terrified that I would not be up to the task. Eliza now works in the human resources department of a big company, and my younger daughter Georgia is a paramedic. I’ve asked them to share some experiences of their fatherhood journey.
Bryce: In your early years, what were some of the important aspects of fathering to you?
Eliza: It was important to have a dad who was present and involved. I remember down in Melbourne that every day we would go to the park – rain, hail or shine. And we were both huge netball kids. You managed several teams simultaneously, which is astounding to me, given your [lack of] administrative prowess!
Georgia: You were always a lot of fun. We did a lot of things together like bike rides and outdoor play. And I think that you pegging tennis balls at us has made us able to catch and throw quite spectacularly.
Bryce: What about some of your emotional needs or relational needs?
Eliza: I used to get terrible earaches. I remember one night you and Mum took me to hospital. I just felt safe having you there. They gave me medicine, and when I opened my eyes a few hours later, you were still there. You hadn’t left my side. Things like that are important.
Georgia: With school pickup, Mum would never be late, so we knew it was your day if we had to wait. But you were always on your way. We felt very loved.
Eliza: I was an anxious kid in a lot of ways. You and Mum have always been very good at meeting me where I am at and supporting me.
Bryce: In your studies at school and beyond, you asked me to help with stuff I knew nothing about, but you just seemed to want me in the room?
Eliza: Yes. I didn’t need your educational or academic help. I just needed someone sitting there as a support while I pulled all-nighters on my procrastinated projects for school.
Georgia: When I was in university [studying to be a paramedic], there were around 20 drugs in our kit that we needed to know back-to-front. And you would sit on the couch and test me on everything. And we came up with these crazy acronyms and stuff like that. That was the kind of support I needed.
Bryce: How did you find our conversations over the years?
Eliza: I lived in London for five years and loved it. But I would get homesick regularly and would jump on a FaceTime call with you and usually be crying down the phone. The support of just having you be okay with me crying down the phone at you, knowing that there wasn't a whole lot you could do, was what I needed.
Georgia: You were also the one we had a lot of hard conversations with – always trying to get to the bottom of our issues. And I think it’s been so beneficial in the last couple of years as well. A constant and stable person to talk to. And you’ve always been excellent at just reassuring us that you love us. Mum loves us. Nothing’s going to change that ever. And, as adults, you have always trusted us to make our own decisions, which has been super important.
Eliza: There’s a lot of respect and trust between us all, and I never felt judged. You have always been open and have sought feedback from us, and you’ve been willing to accept when you’ve missed the mark on something. There’s always been a lot of room and encouragement to have hard conversations. I think that’s huge.
Bryce: What do you wish I’d done differently?
Georgia: When I look back on our childhood and into adulthood, I don’t focus on anywhere that it’s gone wrong because there’s just been so much of it that’s gone right.
*This paraphrased article was taken from the original podcast interviews at bit.ly/3sx9aa4