Eamon Cleary Will Be Greatly Missed

Father of eight, Eamon Cleary has died at his horse stud in Kentucky. The oldest of a large Irish family, Mr Cleary left school at 11 to work on his father's farm, later marrying at 24.  The last public accounting of his financial accomplishments listed his wealth at $1.2 billion, with a range of assets across four continents.

Eamon Cleary moved to New Zealand in about 1994, using the proceeds to invest in farming, building a fortune converting sheep farms to dairy farms.  While he indulged his love for breeding racehorses, he did not live an extravagant lifestyle.  For a time he owned the 22,000 hectare Coronet Peak Station, although last year he sold it to Robert 'Mutt' Lange.

This wonderful man, fabulous father, and generous lover of New Zealand, it's land, and it's racehorses, will be much missed.

Congratulations to Robbie Williams & Ayda Field

British singer Robbie Williams is celebrating after becoming a first-time father. Robbie's wife Ayda Field gave birth to a baby girl, Theodora Rose, on Tuesday.

The proud father took to his official blog to announce his happy news, writing, “Praise be, it’s Theodora Rose Williams, affectionately known as Teddy… Born 3.33pm on 18.9.12, 7lbs 4oz… Baby, mummy and daddy are all rockin… Thank you for your best wishes.”

Dr Keith Brownlee is a Fabulous Father

Brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee are going for gold in London tomorrow in the same race. As a father, I am blown away by the relationship these two young men seem to have and contemplate the likelihood that their relationship is a reflection of their parenting. Keith and Kathy Brownlee already have a lot of which to be proud. For me as a father, one of the most appealing parts of their story is at an event they were both racing in earlier in June in Oxfordshire, the gap between the brothers was so tight that they decided to cross the finish line arm-in-arm.

This got me thinking about my family's parenting efforts and our goal of making the most of our daughter’s individual talents, even when they have talents in common. Here are some of the things we do. Check back in 20 years to find out if we were successful in creating a sibling relationship as successful as the Brownlee’s.

Do not compare: Eventually some kids reach a place in their own minds where they think if anyone is better at something than they are; it means they ought to just give up at developing that skill. Comparisons are as damaging as labels. Encouraging self-competition seems to work better for our daughters. Improving on their last score or performance time, their personal best, encourages them to improve and keeps their sense of value intact. We set our girls up to cooperate. For example, they race the timer to pick up toys, instead of racing each other. We try to celebrate each child’s varied successes. We also tell them to remember no matter how good you are at something, there is quite likely someone somewhere, better, doing is not about being the best, it is about doing your best. Anyone can improve on his or her own best. Learn to enjoy your experiences and improvement without continually comparing yourself to your siblings.

Avoid Labeling: Yes, everyone is different. One child may be slightly faster with maths, another runs a bit faster, or has a lovely singing voice or especially beautiful eyes. However, allowing children to sort themselves based on this is limiting. Starting a pattern of seeing themselves through the eyes of others. It can limit children from trying something labelled as a sibling’s strong point. Labeling can also limit a child’s confidence in almost all other areas, they may be fearful of being less good at something else.

Equal Time: Make an effort to spend equal time with both of our daughters, without over focusing on the child who needs the most help at spelling, or math, or the child currently performing the best.

Family Strengths: Donnell and I avoid categorizing each other as good or bad at things because we think kids seeing parents as people full of possibilities and strengths means that regardless of which parent they identify with, their options to develop their skills stay open. We are aiming for a family culture that says we expect all our children to be smart and value challenge and this seems to create an environment where our daughters encourage each other.

Acknowledge Feelings: When one child feels insecurity about personal value because of a sibling’s success, we acknowledging those feelings and encourage our child to discover unique talents of their own. Both of our daughters love art and helping them understand the value of personal style has helped them stop the conversation about which of them might be better, and now they encourage each other to create new and different ideas and collaborate much better. We also ask them once in a while what some of the positive things their sister does that they really like and what are some of the things they do that might bother them or make them mad. This helps us track their relationship, and reminds us they have some positive feelings for each other.

Keep it fair: When one of the girls weeds a bucket more than the other we keep the performance scale realistic. The one who did more is paid more. Effort and attitude count.

Competition: It exists and we cannot change that, but we can encourage an environment where our daughters feel that we as a family are the home team. One member’s success touches us all. Cheer for your sibling and they will cheer for you. Donnell fondly remembers the girls on a playground at two, challenging themselves to reach a goal they kept saying to each other, “you do it, you do it.” We think they were mimicking our “You can do it” mantra.

We are encouraged by Keith and Kathy Brownlee’s sons. In an interview, Dr Brownlee commented about his sons, "They have been supportive of each other. They both recognise that neither would be where they are without the other. I try and persuade them to think about it as a family business. Kathy and I both just want them to finish the race healthy, intact and content. We're so proud that they've got this far. What comes next doesn't matter."

What a fabulous father.

David Arquette is a Fabulous Father

Donnell is back on track with our Fabulous Fathers project and reaching out to Dad's from all walks of life to share their insight and wisdom on the subject of Fatherhood. We asked David Arquette what is first thought was when he found out he was going to be a first time father . . . his reply "I felt blessed. It re-defined my understanding of love."

Hugh Jackman is a Fabulous Father

The Australian actor is a family man and cherishes the ''everyday moments'' spent with his loved ones more than anything. 'The things that I really cherish are the everyday moments, like sitting around cooking pancakes together on Sunday morning, or getting home after a tough day and my kids come up and give me a hug and remind me what's really important.

''On Friday nights, we will all sit down and watch a movie together and cuddle up. It's more everyday stuff that really is the goal.''

Asked what makes him happiest, Hugh replied: ''Without a doubt, it's my family. I have two beautiful kids, an incredible wife, and it's just about being with them.''

Sir Ken Robinson, on His Inspirational Father

Sir Ken Robinson asks; 'who inspires you?' (Clip produced by Intel) In this short piece Ken shares with us the story of his own father's triumph over adversity. His father is revealed as a fabulous father, a man of wisdom, through circumstances most of us will never face.

Sir Ken conveys to us how and why his father encouraged him to continually reach out for the self-motivating, renewable power of purposeful education. Wise move. When we listen to Ken, many of us end up endeared to, and I suppose 'scratching our head' with wonder at the sheer thought provoking humanness, the fluid, stimulating emotionally engaging teaching style of Sir Ken Robinson.

Ken's father gave a gift of encouragement and inspiration not only to Ken. Anyone who has had the opportunity to meet Ken, listen to his messages at TED, online, or by written word, I'm sure would agree that a tremendous 'gift' continues to be passed on. This is the perpetual gift of inspiration, that for Ken came from his Dad who for much of his life was paralyzed.

In times like these when most of us are physically able, but frozen mentally and emotionally periodically by uncertainty, reflecting on this story and this gift from father to son can help us look beyond the moment when it comes to what we, with more focused consideration, might offer of real and lasting value to our own children.

Incredibly Ken agreed to be part of our book 'Fabulous Fathers'. We asked him on the basis of being thoroughly engaged by his book; The Element.

Ken and his wife Terry, who is shortly to publish a wonderful new book; India's Summer, are the real deal! 'Beer and 'bangers' with their inimitable family; after a 'laugh till you cry' shoot with them, is one of my top life memories. Ken never turns the sharing and mutual interchange 'off', but here's the thing; you desperately don't want him to! Ken is a Great Dad and Teacher. like his Dad!

By your bedside table, in your library or on your kindle, make room for Ken Robinson's 'works'.. It's a rock solid guarantee you'll be inspired!

Johnny Depp on Fatherhood

“Certain things about Hollywood used to make me angry – now I go ‘Oh p*** off I’m going to play Barbies with my daughter.” - Johnny Depp

Patrick Dempsey on Fatherhood

“Here’s the cycle: They wake up, they cry, they go to the breast, they eat, they poo or pee, you change a diaper, and they go back to sleep. It’s much harder for my wife than for me because she’s pumping or nursing.” - Patrick Dempsey

Ben Affleck on Fatherhood

“I love being a father. It’s wonderful. It’s changed my life. It all sounds like platitudes and clichés, and that’s because they’re the truth.” - Ben Affleck

Joel Madden on Fatherhood

“Being a father is nothing you can plan for. You’ve got to take it one day at a time, and there’s no manual or anything like that. It’s not a conscious change, it just happens to you all of a sudden. We had Harlow, and suddenly our priorities changed.” - Joel Madden

Brendan Fraser on Fatherhood

“The other day, when my 4-year-old saw a flowering tree and said, “Daddy, it’s raining petals,” that was poetry that just melted my heart into a mushy, yummy Fudgsicle.” - Brendan Fraser

Robin Williams on Fatherhood

“I stopped drinking when I had children because I wanted to be awake and aware. I did not want to be going, you know, daddy loves you and then drop my head on the table. I do not want to miss anything that they do or say. It is important to me.”- Robin Williams

Tom Cruise on Fatherhood

“I’m a father, you know. I always wanted to be a father. Remember when you first held your child? It’s like wow, tremendous sense of responsibility.” - Tom Cruise