Break Diver Art Brown
  • DIVER: Art Brown
  • CATEGORY – Adventurer
  • DIVE: Parent
  • LEVEL: 1
  • REQUIREMENTS: Level 1 (Has 1 or more children, biological or adopted, and treats that child well.)

When and Why Did You Decide to Pursue This Dive?

In 1986, at the age of 27, I became a father. My daughter Jasmine was born at home, delivered by a midwife. I looked in her eyes and held her in my arms for the first time when she was moments old. This little person, who’s heartbeat I’d first heard months ago (much faster than you’d expect) was now here in the world. That night, when my sister-in-law and the midwife had both gone, it was just me, my wife, and this tiny, little person, who relied on us for everything. My life had changed forever and my heart had opened to a new dimension I could never have predicted.

It’s said that “we have children so we can continue growing up.” I’ve found that to be so. As a parent, we’re asked to be selfless, devotional, a role model, kind, thoughtful and generous, knowing that we may get nothing in return, other than the satisfaction of a job well done – meaning, beholding a kind, strong, generous, healthy adult, making their way in the world.

Raising a healthy person who loves themselves and other is perhaps one of the greatest tangible impacts we can make. The ultimate pebble in the pond. Ten years later, my wife and I had another child – my second daughter Deva – who I chose to be a stay at home parent with for the first two years. It was an amazing time.

How Long Did It Take For You To Accomplish This Dive At This Level From The Day You Decided To Pursue It, And Why Did It Take That Long?

The short answer would be nine months.

On a deeper level though, I grew up in a broken home. My father left when I was 7, and my mother struggled, doing her best to provide for us. It was very difficult growing up in a single-parent household, particularly with my mother, who did her best, but had a lot of unresolved issues. I think I’d always unconsciously longed to be part of an intact family – even if I were the parent. Over those years, I’d also somehow developed a very nurturing side – which came in handy as a father.

What Was The Hardest Part About Achieving This Dive Level?

I noticed that first of all, both my children, and in my opinion, any child I’ve met, has distinctive needs and personality – from birth.

I’ve often imagined that in the context of reincarnation, upon birth, the child on some level thinks, “that whole death and birth thing was a trip, but now what was I up to before that happened?” In some way, I believe that they somehow pick up where they left off.

I’ve observed that children don’t grow in a straight diagonal line, but rather, hit a plateau, get comfortable with that stage, then wake up one morning on a totally different level. This also meant that who I needed to be as a parent had now changed (and had to change) as well. Today, their needs are different than yesterday.

Life is fluid and changing. It’s a dance with varying songs, and sometimes just a drum solo. Parenting asked me to be kinder and more thoughtful, and to watch my own integrity and actions, because now there were two small people watching me.

What Was The Easiest Part About Achieving This Dive Level?

Loving them, teaching them, playing with them.

I’m fortunate to have a highly developed sense of whimsy and nonsense. I’m a comedian and writer. I’ve consciously encouraged their imaginations. Once at dinner, my daughter wasn’t eating, so I told her, “Eat your spaghetti before it eats you – and it only needs to organize and elect a leader.” Her eyes got wide, imagining that, and she cleaned her plate. She’s now a very prolific playwright.

I’ve always thought that it’s our responsibility as adults to be foolish around children. It gives them hope. They study us, wondering what it will be like to grow up. When we sing and dance with abandon, play wildly, climb trees and dress like a clown, they can breathe easy. They can imagine that adulthood might not be so bad.

What Is Your Advice For Someone Who Is Pursuing This Dive And Level?

Doctor Benjamin Spock (from the book “Baby and Child Care”) famously said, “Feed them, love them, and leave them alone.”

I agree.

Create safety and nurturing, then allow them to find their own path and grow. Their way may not be your way.

Never, ever strike a child. It only teaches them that big people can abuse smaller people and that violence is a way to get what you need.

Teach them to speak clearly and ask for what they want.

Above all, show them they are loved and are perfect exactly as they are.

What Are Some Of The Best Resources You Recommend to Those Pursuing This Dive at This Level, And Why Do You Recommend Them? Please Include Relevant Weblinks, If Applicable.

  • Mothering Magazine. — Mothering magazine was a huge resource for us as new parents. Lots of practical advice about raising healthy and loving children.

Tell Us A Story Of One Of Your Adventures While Pursuing This Dive.

There are so many – helping my daughters learn to read, to take care of themselves and become independent is a great one.

Creating and performing a puppet show in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for my older daughter’s 2nd birthday party (I was a working puppeteer when she was little).

Taking my younger daughter everywhere in a baby carrier – even inside my overcoat on the NYC subway in winter. Having her small body safe and warm against my chest, lulled to sleep by my heartbeat…

Taking them both to so many crappy kids movies, which they loved, and I napped through…

How Did You Prove You Met The Requirements for this Level?

Check out these photos of my lovely daughters from the mid 2000’s. Break Diving Founder Monroe Mann has met them both.

My two beautiful daughters Deva and Jasmine!

Will you be pursuing the next level?  If so, what is the next level, and what is your plan?  If not, why not?

For me, since I don’t plan to have any more physical children, I can use what I’ve learned as a father to mentor, lead, and guide anyone who needs it. Most important, my plan is to to keep giving my daughters what they need. That would be the next level.

And having made this post, and provided adequate evidence to the dive committee, Art Brown is now hereby certified by Break Diving, Inc. as: ADVENTURER – PARENT – LEVEL 1.  Congratulations Art!  Thank you for being an inspiration to others!

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