I was saddened to hear of Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin’s death this morning, but the longer I think about it, the more it angers me as a parent. Steve’s shows were always enjoyable and educational, and I spent a good bit of time watching the show with my boys over the year, despite wondering on numerous occasions how a guy with young kids could put himself at risk like that.
Certainly, its easy to say he “died doing what he loved”, as a good friend of mine (who isnt a parent) said today. Dying doing what you love is ok (I guess) when your kids are grown and have learned the life lessons they need to get from their dad. I doubt his 8 year old daughter and 3 year old son will get much solace from that as they grow up fatherless.
From everything you read about Irwin, he loved being a dad and I dont doubt that at all. What blows me away is that he would set aside the needs of his kids, the primary one to be “Stay around and be their dad”, in order to take the risks he took, no matter how well managed those risks were.
This is not, of course, limited to the Crocodile Hunter. I suspect many people see dads taking part in risky activity that might, maybe, someday, take them away from their primary job at this time in their lives, to be a dad to their kids, and eventually, the grandfather that a kid never forgets.
What a waste.