– By Jim Cummings
As the father of four daughters, I have much to be thankful for. Just for the record, it’s not the least expensive position in the world to be in. I’ve often told the story of my eldest daughter Livia (who is now in her late 30’s), who was a toddler when I got into the business. She was about five years old when I landed the role of the Big Bad Wolf in Disney’s “The 3 Little Pigs.” As I read to her “The 3 Little Pigs” that night, I could not resist doing the voice of the Big Bad Wolf. Halfway through, she sleepily looked up at me and said: “Daddy, could you not do any voices in the stories tonight. I’m kind of tired and just want to go to sleep.” So much for fame. All of a sudden, I felt like I’m the Rodney Dangerfield of animation!
My second daughter Raleigh brought home a flyer one day from grade school about the Southern California Children’s Musical Theater for kids and their favorite adults. Next thing I know, over the next few years, she and I would co-star in many plays at the Thousand Oaks Civic Center. Willy Wonka, Bye-Bye Birdie, Lil’ Abner and The Wiz. Raleigh caught the acting bug and still has it happily. She is amazing. Of course, with all four of my girls I have always been tapped to appear at the school for book fair week to read in my various character voices and support fundraisers. I think that being a father and showing my daughters what a good and true man looks and acts like is a bulwark for them against any potential, future bad choices. I rely upon my faith to guide me accordingly.
I’ve always loved just being a daddy and providing a level of love, comfort and security for my girls. Seeing your children grow and witnessing their achievements along the way are milestones in a life well lived according to a divine plan. With my two younger daughters, I have been a single father for most of their lives. These last few years, I have been blessed with a magnificent woman in my life and enjoying custody of my girls is such a blessing. The beauty of going forward with yours, mine and ours is a wonderful thing. I am a modern dad, brave enough to weather life’s storms with grace, dignity, laughter and love. Oh, and by the way, on the subject of truth and lies, I teach my children that the truth will prevail. And it will.