Many will know him as head of the Gold Coast City Council but, after hours, mayor Tom Tate is also head of a large and loving family. With Ruth by his side, Tom’s other claim to fame is fathering David (31), Chris (30), Alex (28) and Emily (23).
Take us back to the moment you met your first child. What do you remember of that precise moment?
I just remember how, at that very moment, you get an incredible feeling about the definition of unconditional love.
What’s been your proudest moment, so far, as a dad?
Watching them grow into adults, with their own dreams and aspirations and how they have retained their family values. We don’t have any grandkids yet but we are hoping for some. Hint hint!
What has been the most challenging part of your role as a dad?
Wanting to solve the challenges all our kids face as they grow up. Dads are ‘fixers’ but it’s more important to let them make their own choices. Our role is to be on the sideline, encouraging and guiding but not making choices for them.
How would your kids describe you in three words?
Authentic, loving and driven.
How did you and your partner share the parenting role when the kids were growing up?
Ruth was, and is, an incredible mother. We come from the corporate world, working long hours to establish a future well before my role as Mayor. We just made it work. There was no particular formula. We both knew the direction we were heading in and we both shared everything that comes with parenting – from school drop offs, to sporting events, birthday surprises and holiday planning. Ruth deserves a gold star as a mother and wife.
If your family had a reality TV show, what would it be called?
Family Ties, like the 1980s hit. We share strong family ties and are a bit of a crazy bunch, like the Keatons.
Did your father give you any parenting tips?
Many and one I learned, and always try to apply, is the importance of not giving your kids too much. What I mean is, it’s fine to help your kids get set up in life, but they need to ‘catch their own fish’. That way, they learn the pitfalls and triumphs of their success or challenges.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from being a dad?
Don’t abuse time as it’s a blessing so spend as much time with your family as you can. There’s no rewind button on life.
Dream big: What’s the best Father’s Day gift you could receive this year?
All the kids, together with their partners, on the back verandah or in the pool, and when they leave for the night, they haven’t drunk all the beers in the fridge!