The Small Things Matter

20 April 2023

2.3 MINS

I’ve never met Nigel Marsh (no relation) but he seems like a top bloke. He’s a committed husband and father of four, has worked in advertising agencies for over 30 years, is a published author and award-winning podcaster, and back in 2011 he delivered a brilliant TED speech that can be viewed here. It’s well worth a watch.


Nigel addresses the prickly issue of work/life balance with humour and aplomb. He gets straight to the point when he explains “certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged on a day-to-day basis with a young family”. This could be a difficult pill for us hard-working Dads to swallow, but Nigel speaks the truth.

Here he is with another truth bomb:

The reality of the society that we’re in is there are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.

Hopefully this isn’t me, and it probably isn’t you, but there are people trapped in the proverbial rat race. As a wise and witty person once said: “Remember, even if you win the rat race – you’re still a rat.”

Nigel points out that governments and corporations certainly are not going to solve the rat race issue for us (‘aint that the truth). Instead, we as Dads need to take responsibility and create the lives, we, and our families, want to lead.

Take it away Mr Marsh:

An incident that happened a couple of years ago gave me a new perspective. My wife… called me up at the office and said, “Nigel, you need to pick our youngest son Harry up from school”. So, I left work an hour early that afternoon and picked Harry up at the school gates.

We walked down to the local park, messed around on the swings, played some silly games.

I then walked him up the hill to the local café and we shared a pizza for tea, then walked down the hill to our home and I gave him his bath and put him in his Batman pyjamas.

I then read him a chapter of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.

I then put him to bed, tucked him in, gave him a kiss on his forehead and said “Goodnight, mate”, and walked out of his bedroom.

As I was walking out of his bedroom, he said, “Dad?” I went, “Yes, mate?” He went, “Dad, this has been the best day of my life, ever!” I hadn’t done anything, hadn’t taken him to Disney World or bought him a PlayStation… My point is, the small things matter.

And that, my friends, is the great challenge set before us as Dads.


So, what is the challenge before us as dads? Let me spell it out.

Resist the temptation of the big, new, shiny things.

Instead, pursue the small things, those precious, special little moments with your kids. You won’t regret it.

Yours for the Small Things,

Nathaniel Marsh


PS: It is a wonderful to upskill in your job, but better still to do so for your family and your children. They are the real benefactors. Nigel would be proud of you!

The registrations are coming in for the Courageous Fathering Course, starting online on Zoom, Tuesday 2 May 2023. Don’t miss out. Ask a friend to do it with you.

Watch this 3 minute video to get the picture.

Checkout the Booking information here.


Originally published at Dads4Kids. Photo by National Cancer Institute/Unsplash.

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  1. Kaylene Emery 20 April 2023 at 8:12 am - Reply

    The intimacy between you and your son is actually painfully beautiful. Painful because in recognising the loving connection between you, I automatically recall the absence of this connection in the lives of my son’s. I ran around like a mad woman trying to do what I now understand, is impossible. No mother can take the place of a father and it should, go without saying that this applies to both sexes .
    I am happy to be a woman but sad because it excludes me from attending those weekends. I miss the joy of experiencing men teach their boys how to be men….good loving, strong men.
    Thanks for all that you are doing for our Nation.

  2. Judy 20 April 2023 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    Dads who are closely involved in their children’s everyday lives make a huge difference… well done!!!

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