Moms and Dads

How Being a National Athlete Helped Shape This Dad’s Parenting Style

Jamel Pangandaman, a member of the National Men’s Handball Team and who competed in multiple international Ultimate Frisbee tournaments, shares his thoughts as a first-time dad.

Growing up an athlete truly instills a number of values that prove to be useful even in day-to-day life. And it holds true for Jamel Pangandaman, a member of the National Men’s Handball Team who recently competed in the 31st Southeast Asian Games held in Hanoi, Vietnam last May 2022. The team brought home a silver medal, which exceeded their previous bronze medal finish at the 2019 edition of the SEA Games.

On top of this, Jamel represented the Philippines in various international Ultimate Frisbee tournaments that put the country on the map. These include the World Ultimate and Guts Championships in 2012 and 2016 and the Asia Oceanic Ultimate Championships in 2015.

When he’s not gearing up for competition, Jamel’s days are filled with teaching and spending time with his wife Marielle and son Aqui.

Lessons of the Sport

jamel pangandaman

Playing a sport teaches a lot of important lessons—cooperation, compromise, and empathy to name a few. “For me, the three most important things that I’ve developed in sports are discipline, accountability, and flexibility,” shares Jamel.

“Discipline to do what I need to do regardless of the difficulty. Owning up and being responsible for my decisions, actions, and attitude. And being open to change and adapting to different situations to get the best results possible.”

For parents who want to encourage their children to get into sports without forcing them, Jamel advises, “As a teacher, I always tell parents to let their children try different sports so they can find what interests them. Also, trying different sports will help improve the physical abilities of kids—which can help them enjoy sports more!”

Jamel carrying his son Aqui

Jamel Pangandaman on Being a First-Time Dad

Playing a team sport has also shaped the way Jamel navigates marriage and parenthood. He and his wife Marielle constantly work together when it comes to running the household and taking care of Aqui. Jamel isn’t afraid to embrace a domesticated version of himself either. In fact, during the pandemic, he and Marielle started a small business baking delicious cheese rolls and other pastries—and it was Jamel who played head baker.

Marielle, Aqui, and Jamel

As a busy first-time dad, he takes advantage of all the different ways he can bond with his son. “I try to stay as much as I can with my son. I change his nappies, feed him, play with him, read him a story, bathe him, and rock him to sleep. We also go on vacations and staycations whenever possible.”

jamel pangandaman

Jamel Pangandaman on the Importance of Kindness

More than anything, the athlete, teacher, and first-time dad wants to impart one important value to his son. “For me, one of the most important values to teach him is respect. To be polite and to treat everyone with kindness.”

His message to soon-to-be first-time dads? “Get involved as much as you can. Ask for help when you feel like you need it. And enjoy the journey!”

Find similar stories on Modern Parenting:

4 Life Lessons Your Children Learn From Joining Sports

10 Soccer Dads Share What They Miss The Most

Cesar Montano Bonds With Son Diego and Daughters Through Sports

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