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Next up in my #AwesomeDads series is Chris Cunningham. I’ve known Chris for a long time. We’ve played a ton of video games and sports together. Chris and I co-founded the Louisville Video Gaming Association a long time ago and it led to me opening the Louisville Gaming Center. We don’t play video games very often together but we still play a lot of basketball. Our kids are close in age and we’ve experienced a lot of the same parenting adventures around the same time.

chris-cunningham-21) Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’ve been married to my wife, JoAnny, for 14 years as of May 21st. I’m a father of three: CJ (11), Reese (8) and Andrew (6). I’m a Plant Manager at Vivid Impact and have been there 13 years, the last year in my current position.

2) How long have you been a father? 11 years

3) What’s your all-time favorite video game? Why? My favorite game of all-time is Halo. I am mostly a sports video gamer, but this game is special to me because I began playing it at the most social time of my life. I have many fond memories of Halo marathons with the guys.

4) Do you still play video games? What games are you playing right now? I still play video games. Right now, I am obsessed with NBA 2K13. I am in my fourth season of my created player’s career. I have won two championships and was named NBA MVP last season. That’s right. Who wants a piece of Big Daddy?  I also play Mario Kart with the kiddos (Donkey Kong in the Off-Roader in case you’re wondering). 

5) What video game systems do you currently own? Xbox 360 and Wii

6) What’s your favorite activity to do with your kids? Simple, but truly the most fun….tickle monster. I love going home, telling the kids to close their eyes and count to 20 then come find me. When I hear them approaching and it’s inevitable they are going to find me, I jump out screaming before they get to me. To hear the shear panic mixed with giggles is a sound I will remember the rest of my life. Then, once I catch them I tickle them until they are about ready to pee in their pants. Good ol’ simple fun.

7) What’s the best part about being a dad? It’s hard to pick one thing. I guess for me it has been the times when I see my children becoming the people we are trying to raise them to be. When I see them show compassion for people they don’t even know, hold the door for a perfect stranger, say “Yes Ma’am” and “No Sir” without being reminded. Just as rewarding is when you just sit back and watch them when they don’t even know you’re there and seeing them play and laugh. The pureness of that joy in a child is refreshing and helps to recharge my soul every time I witness it.

8) What has been the worst part about being a dad? Any time I realize I have failed them. We know as adults that parents are far from perfect, but small children often see their parents as flawless. When you mess up and see the hurt in their eyes – that’s the worst.

9) What’s your best advice for new dads? Don’t be afraid to set the bar high. We live in a society of “acceptance.” Some of that acceptance is very good and healthy, but much of it is not. Don’t settle for what society says is right. I can’t tell you how many times an adult has told one of my children, “You don’t have to say ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ to me.” Actually, they do. At the same time, don’t be too strict. Let your kids wear that costume to the grocery store if they want to – who are they hurting? Before you say “No,” know why you’re not saying “Yes” and make it a good reason.

Are you an Awesome Dad (or do you know one)? Visit our submission page to be profiled here. We will profile a new Awesome Dad every week.

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