Check for monsters under the bed, fix boo-boos, build blanket forts…what CAN’T dads do?! A lot of us look at our dads as the hero in our lives – the one that is tough as can be on the exterior, but a big teddy bear inside! This Father’s Day, we’ll come together to get dad a cheesy gift and circle around the kitchen table to listen to him tell his favorite dad jokes as he opens it – like “What’s the best way to throw a Father’s Day party on Mars? Just planet!”

We couldn’t miss an opportunity to practice one of our favorite Core Values – Celebrating! Dive in with some of our fintastic Goldfish Dads as they share what fatherhood means to them, along with a few pro-tips for dads-to-be!

Let’s Celebrate Goldfish Dad and Olympic Swimmer, Cullen Jones!

“Being a dad is the most rewarding job I have ever had. It is also the most exhausting job I have ever had!” Cullen’s son Avyn is a talker, which he says is a trait he may or may not have passed on to him… Though a tiring one, being a dad to his nearly 3-year old mini-me is Cullen’s favorite job, closely followed by being a super cool Olympic swimmer!

Cullen credits his career as a swimmer as helping to prepare him for fatherhood, though he may not have known it a few years ago. Waking up and diving into a chilly pool at 5 am is definitely his less-preferred wake up call, over getting to play with his son when he just can’t sleep any longer!

As an Olympian, board member of the USA Swimming Foundation and Senior Manager of Sports Marketing at Speedo USA, Cullen still manages to always make his son his #1 priority, though he calls his life ‘controlled chaos’ a lot of the time! It’s all made possible through his ability to juggle and wear a lot of different hats, and with the help of his wife Rupi. “She is my anchor and helps me to be able to navigate my work-life balance successfully. She maintains order in our household, and I couldn’t do it without her.”

Cullen loves spending time with Avyn, and of course their favorite activity is swimming! With a professional swimmer for a dad, it’s no surprise that Ayvn would adopt his love for the water. After a near-drowning accident in Cullen’s childhood, he became determined to help his community and beyond learn more about water safety. His passion for water safety grew even stronger (if that’s even possible!) when he had a child of his own. Once Avyn was born, Cullen knew he had to protect him and give him the skills he needed to be safe in and around the water, and he does that at his weekly lessons at Goldfish – Charlotte in North Carolina. Cullen loves seeing the progress his son makes in lessons each week, and the smile on his face when his progress is celebrated with a ribbon after class! He says this is the best part about being a Goldfish Dad!

Q: How have your experiences as a competitive swimmer prepared you for being a parent?

A: “Getting up for 5am practice and diving into a cold pool prepared me well for my son waking up at all hours of the night for feedings or if he wants to play. One involves cold water, one involves playing with cars. I’ll take playing with cars at 5am any day!”

Cullen Jones holding his son in 3 different images

Dive in with Goldfish Dad and Owner of Goldfish – Shoreline, Will Lebiedz!

“Oh man, being a dad is all of the things! Positive, wonderful, challenging…and sometimes, insane! I wouldn’t change it for the world.” Will is a business owner, husband and father of two, and says that through his own experiences, he’s been able to solidify what values he hopes to pass on to his children and those around him. He uses life’s moments to teach his kiddos to be the best they can be, and hopes that his children grow up to be happy, healthy, holistic humans!

Will, as the operating owner of Goldfish – Shoreline, knows the definition of busy! He makes an active effort to wake up an hour or two before the rest of his family (early birds get the worm!) to be productive and help get the house in order. Though he is one busy dad, he prioritizes quality time with his littles, with the help of his wonderful wife and team at the school!

Living in the beautiful state of Washington, Will and his kiddos love to get outside! The family (minus one son who hadn’t made his entrance into the world yet!) made a cross-country move to Washington to open Goldfish – Shoreline…a total trifecta of change! New state, new role as a dad, and a new role of business owner! Now that they are there and settled, they appreciate the scenery – especially in the warm months. They spend time together hiking (or sometimes being carried, little legs get tired quick!), playing sports and swimming. Will loves activities that allow his kids to be kids and run around and play!

Though he may not brag about it himself, Will is known as the ‘OG of General Managers’ by members of the Goldfish family, working at the very first location in Birmingham, Michigan when it first opened in 2006! His passion for water safety grew and grew and grew until it took him all the way to Washington to open his very own school! Once open, he knew he’d enroll his kiddos in swim lessons – it was a no brainer. Both of his boys are in lessons and it is one of their favorite things. Will loves seeing his children thrive in lessons while they build swim skills, and build a positive relationship with the water while they’re at it!

Q: What advice would you give to a soon-to-be dad?

A: “The lack of sleep gets better, or you get used to it – not sure which yet! Also, try not to worry too much about the small stuff – kiddos are more resilient than we give them credit for!”

Two Goldfish Dads, a Benjamin, and a Village!

“Being a dad is the most amazing experience in the world. I can have the busiest and most stressful day of my life and get home, and even for a millisecond get to see our son Benjamin, and get perspective. It’s also the most difficult and exhausting job in the world!” Jason and his husband Spencer are social media influencers, Jason is a full-time working dad, and both are crazy about their son!

The dad duo refer to the phrase ‘it takes a village’ as a way to describe their lives with their son. Spencer is a stay-at-home dad while Jason works full-time, looking forward to the quality time waiting for him after business hours. Jason credits his husband as the most crucial role in their ‘village’ as he is home with their son daily.

Also included in Jason’s ‘village’ is the woman that Jason credits for making him an awesome dad – his mom! She taught him how important it is to be a parent that puts your children first, but that gets to pursue their own goals and dreams in their career.

Jason and Spencer love spending time with their son, so much so that it’s impossible to nail down their favorite family activity! They love to play games, race Matchbox and Hot Wheel cars (their son says it’s the most fun he’s ever had!), and their newest favorite activity in the hot Texas weather – swimming! Their family loves to spend time in the water and loves even more that their weather allows for it year-round.

After some time staying in due to the pandemic, Jason and Spencer were anxious to get their kiddo enrolled in swim lessons, as he was nearly 4. They dove into swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School in Webster, Texas and say the team there has quickly become a part of their ‘village’. “Swimming to both of us is such a fundamental life lesson, so seeing him become so comfortable and confident has truly been amazing.”

Q: What phase of your kiddo’s life has been your favorite thus far?

A: “Now! He just turned four and he is at the age where he wants to play and get dirty, but he isn’t too old to not want to cuddle with us and be carried. We know the day is coming very soon when he doesn’t ask, so we are taking advantage of it now!”

We think it’s safe to say that Dads just might be the coolest people ever! Though these dads have different jobs, live in different places, and attend different Goldfish locations, they all have one thing in common – they are fintastic dads to their little ones, and are totally worthy of celebration!

Being a Goldfish Dad just might suit you! The bonding, the splashing, the brownie points if you take them for ice cream after… all things you can add to your list of super-cool dad things. Find a Goldfish near you, and get swimming!