As a father of five (Camary, 20, Caron Jr., 14, Mia 10, Ava, 4, Gia, 3) NBA All Star Caron Butler is no stranger to moments of hilarity or mayhem—sometimes a combination of the two. Though his career often takes him on the road, his role as dad is his number one priority. As we spoke, you could hear the pride gush from his voice while he reflected on his proudest accomplishment: his family.
P: You have three daughters in the house. Where do you begin as a dad of three daughters?
CB: I'm always being pulled in a lot of directions. Coming home [from being on the road] is always entertaining. They keep me going. Whether you have a good game or a bad game their energy and their spirit will always be the same. It's fun.
P: What do you think is special about the father-daughter relationship?
CB: I come from a single parent household, being a boy raised by a single mother so that bond is always different. To see the relationships that daughters have with their fathers is second to none. It's just totally different. It's a good feeling to be relied upon and depended upon. Daughters feel like their dad is the big hero and can do no wrong. It's a lot of expectation upon us.
P: What do you hope to teach your girls that you feel they can't learn from their mom?
CB: How a man's supposed to treat you and what to expect in life. I think it's easier for me to give them tough love, as well. I think it's super important for me to get them prepared for the world and circumstances and try to teach them everything that I wish I would have been taught at a younger age. Try to fill the void that wasn't there for me as a man and as a father, in general.
P: Outside of the three girls at home, you have two older kids. How do you juggle teens and toddlers?
CB: You're talking about different age groups and different personalities. At the same time the common denominator is me and love. I want the best for them. Just trying to be in tune and engaged in all of their lives, keep them humble, and teach them the beauty of life—sharing and loving and giving.
P: What's the first thing you want to do with the family when you get home?
CB: Get caught up. Get in tune. Get engaged. What happened at school? What did you learn? Get up to speed is my main thing. My wife has her hands full with so much so when I get back I just try to figure out what's going on in the household, what's going on in their lives and try to help out.
P: You had a tough childhood but that adversity shaped you and got you into basketball. How are you raising your kids to ensure that they stay on the positive side of life?
CB: They're not sheltered, but at the same time they're covered by us. We give them a lot of guidance. We talk to them about everything. Just be honest with them. When there was a question to ask [when I was a kid] I didn't have guidance sometimes or I didn't feel comfortable asking a female something I knew a man should tell me. But we have the best of both worlds with my wife and myself in the house together, so we bounce things off each other and we attack it as a team. You always have to stay in tune and engaged with your kids and recognize when things start to change. You can spot it, or another parent can spot it, and you need to address that change and attack it early.
P: Your foundation works with at-risk youth. What is your message to those kids?
CB: My foundation is very strong on the 3 D's, always being determined, dedicated and disciplined. I always try to tell the kids that you never know what will happen if you don't give up and remain humble. Good things will happen for you and to you. You be able to be a pillar in your community and bless others. They listen and I strongly feel like it doesn't fall on deaf ears. We've seen a lot of positive results.
P: You've had to go through potty-training, what is the funniest thing that happened while toilet-training your daughters?
CB: We use the Potty Watch. It's a watch that has the timer on it and it beeps—I don't know how it knows but it knows—when the kid should have to go to the restroom and they go and sit on the toilet and they get used to going. The funny thing is my youngest, now 3-year-old Gia, said "Dad, I went to the potty! I did it! I did it!" And I go to clean it up and I said "Where did you go?" She went in the corner. She went, but she just went anywhere in the house. That was the funniest moment.
P: What has been your proudest moment as a father?
CB: Just watching them grow and mature and seeing your whole vision for family come together. I see all of them together and hugging and kissing and laughing and even though we're not always around each other, that love is so genuine and it started with us. So that's my proudest thing. I see the connection. I see the love.
Photograph: Mia, Ava, Caron, Gia, Andrea / Courtesy of Caron Butler
Kids Talk About Loving Their Daddy
Ruthie Fierberg is an editorial assistant at Parents. Though she does not have children of her own, she's practically been raising kids since her first babysitting job at age 11. She is our resident theater aficionado and can be found constantly running around New York City to find the best new show, the most awesome dance party, or the hottest Bikram yoga studio. Follow her on on Twitter @RuthiesATrain.