One Day You’ll Thank Me: Jason Gunn’s Brilliant Parenting Hack – New Zealand Herald | Wonder Mind Kids

Kiwi entertainment icon Jason Gunn has written a children’s book hoping to encourage parents to be more present with their children. Photo / Included

Welcome to The Herald’s Parenting Podcast: One Day You’ll Thank Me. Join parents and hosts Jenni Mortimer and Rebecca Haszard as they navigate the challenges and triumphs of modern-day parenting with the help of experts and well-known moms and dads from across Aotearoa.

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Jason Gunn knows what it’s like to be a busy parent all too well. As well as a legendary television and radio career, he has raised four children and is now also happy to be a grandfather.

This week, in One Day You Thank Me, he’s sharing a clever trick to accomplishing something when it comes to parenting that’s crucial but often overlooked due to the distractions of our devices: being present.

“I remember someone taught me, and I did this with my kids and they loved it, and I urge all parents to do it,” he tells the podcast hosts.

“You’re in the car, the phone is ringing. Your kids give you a look to say, ‘Just drop it, eh?’ You pick up the phone – obviously you’re on speakerphone, everyone – and say, ‘Hello, hello.’ And you watch your kids [roll their eyes].

“And then you’re like, ‘Hey, listen, can I stop you there? I can’t chat right now because I have a VIP in the car… Can I call you back? Very important person in the car with me, so I have to let you go.

“And you’ll see your kid say, ‘Are you kidding? Who is the VIP?’ And you’re like, “Dude… you’re the VIP. You are the very important person… I will not take a work call right now.’

“Honestly…it’s the most amazing thing, and your kids are like, ‘Shut the front door.'”

Gunn says it’s important to “do whatever it takes to make our kids feel like they’re the most important thing in our lives sometimes.”

It’s a lesson repeated to him by his own son who, after Gunn suffered a heart attack and considered returning to his radio job, tore up his father’s contract, urging him to focus instead on spending quality time with to spend with his family

“My son Louis often says things like that to me. At critical times in my life he would say, ‘Dad, what does success look like?’

The question led Gunn to end his radio career and start his own company. And when his son got the First IV and Gunn got to travel around the country and watch him play rugby, “he would come up to me before every game and say, ‘Hey Dad. This is what success looks like.’”

Those moments of Gunn experiencing the joy of being truly present with his children are part of what inspired his latest endeavor: writing a children’s book. He and his brother Andrew dreamed up the story Jason Mason and the World’s Strongest Itching Powder.

Jason Gunn with his new children's book Jason Mason and the World's Most Powerful Itching Powder.  Photo / Included
Jason Gunn with his new children’s book Jason Mason and the World’s Most Powerful Itching Powder. Photo / Included

“I want parents to be present with their kids, read this story with them, make silly voices with them… I think when kids look back on their time with their parents, they’ll be looking for it… quality time.”

Gunn describes Jason Mason as an ordinary kid who finds himself in extraordinary situations – his favorite premise for a good story.

“This is what I love the most. It’s not famous people who tell me what they do for ordinary things. Cool story bro. What I love is when ordinary New Zealanders tell their extraordinary stories. Well, that’s a story I want to hear, right?

“The best stories are about ordinary people who have experienced extraordinary situations, and that’s Jason Mason. It’s as if he’s just an ordinary kid and discovers something extraordinary about his great-uncle. And that’s why he can go on and do some extraordinary things. And that’s what I love about it.

“I want kids to realize that they don’t have to be extraordinary. Extraordinary things can happen to normal people.”

Gunn, who mastered the art of entertaining children in his early years on television, hopes his new book, like his VIP tip, will offer parents a chance to ditch their devices and engage with their children.

And he says Jason Mason has already had great feedback. “I love it when I hear, ‘Hey Jase, I read this book with my kids every night and we have so many laughs.’ I’m leaving, job done. When a parent reads to a child and gets that valuable time, the job is done.”

One Day You'll Thank Me is a parenting podcast from NZ Herald with new episodes released every Sunday.
One Day You’ll Thank Me is a parenting podcast from NZ Herald with new episodes released every Sunday.

  • To hear more of Jason Gunn’s clever parenting tips and find out which Kiwi reality show is making him physically ill, listen to this week’s episode of One Day You’ll Thank Me below.
• You can follow the podcast on, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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