Some call him mayor, others call him dad: A Q and A with Mayor Cook

Westfield Mayor Andy Cook, center, with his large extended family. (Submitted photo)

How many children do you have? What are their names and ages?

I have three children, Ben, Susan and Brian. They are all married with children of their own. I have nine grandchildren. Six of my grandchildren are in the Westfield Washington School District and three of my grandchildren live in West Lafayette.

Do you remember what it was like when you first became a dad? How has your vision of fatherhood changed from that moment until now?

Fatherhood is hard work. It is my most joyful accomplishment while at the same time being the hardest and most important thing I’ve ever done. My vision of fatherhood has evolved as my children grew.

What are the top qualities you hope to embody as a dad?

I believe being a teacher to my children and grandchildren and be supportive yet a gentle guide through life’s lessons. A protector by making my family feel safe at all times and lastly I hope I have led by example and that I continue to be a good role model for my family.

What is one thing you want your children to always remember about growing up with you as a dad?

I believed in you, I loved you and I was always fair.

In the chaos of work and life, many dads get caught up in being the providers for their family. In light of that, how did you, over the years, find time to connect with your children?

There was a point in my children’s lives that their mother was the sole breadwinner and I was at home guiding them through life’s obstacles. During that time I was able to focus on my children and their wellbeing with few interruptions. Although it was brief it showed me the value in slowing down and taking time for your family. Your children are only young once.