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Indigenous, Sport Recreation

Professional NRL player and boxer, Wiradjuri man Joe Williams learnt about trauma so that he could repair the damage he felt his kids had experienced in his early years of parenting – with Maggie Dent on THE GOOD ENOUGH DAD

The Good Enough Dad 3 mins read
Maggie Dent and Joe Williams

I learnt about trauma and the impacts of trauma for one reason – for my kids: professional NRL player and boxer, Wiradjuri man Joe Williams to Maggie Dent on THE GOOD ENOUGH DAD.


Having been both a professional NRL player and boxer Wiradjuri man Joe Williams has had some tough gigs in life, but none have been as hard or as rewarding as being a dad. In an emotional and revealing interview where he talks about wanting to take his own life, the highs of football, his insecurities about parenting, and what his own father said to him in a very low time, Joe talks to Maggie Dent on THE GOOD ENOUGH DAD about the winding path that has brought him to the place he’s most proud of – being an aware and present father. 

Listen here


There are 5.4 million dads* in Australia and for LiSTNR’s new original podcast series, The Good Enough Dad, which launches today, famed parenting educator, author, and champion of boys and men, Maggie Dent talks to some of them about their wins, challenges and stuff-ups, proving along the way that being “good enough” is exactly what our kids – and the dads - need.


Interview highlights:


  • At the height of his fame NRL player  Joe Williams was the most disconnected he’d ever been
    16’16 Joe Williams:
    I actually said to somebody recently who works in the NRL, I said, and I haven't said this out loud a great deal, but the most disconnected I've ever been as a young person were the years that I was playing in the NRL, because I couldn't authentically be who I was. It was also a time where Aboriginality wasn't celebrated like it is now.
  • 18’16 - Joe admits that when he had his first kids his priority was his job
    19’24 Joe Williams: I reflect on now and I just cringe a little bit at who that guy was.
  • Even though Joe Williams has 5 kids, it wasn’t until the pandemic that he finally realised what it was to be a dad.
    26’47 Joe Williams: So this was the first time I'd actually sat in these moments and gone, oh what's this? Yeah. And this is going to sound horrible, but Court got really unwell and she had to spend a week in hospital. And whilst it was extremely challenging, for her I'm grateful for that week happening because it was during the lockdowns and my eldest boy was back home with us. I could not lean on anyone else, and I would, for so many years, I would shirk responsibility, not because I didn't want to do it. Not even because I didn't know how to do it. But because it was probably that I didn't know if I was doing the right thing. I didn't want to mess up.
  • 38’05 Joe Williams: So whilst I can tell my kids I love them a great deal, it's the moments where they feel loved that's the most important thing for me.
  • Joe learnt about trauma so that he could repair the damage he felt his kids had experienced in his early years of parenting.

39’17 Joe Williams: I learnt about trauma and the impacts of trauma for one reason – for my kids because of family separations and the impact of that and the ongoing impact that it has if you don't mend those relationships.

  • The surprising thing Joe’s dad said to him after he tried to end his life.

41’40 Joe Williams: My dad said, I want to talk to you about the little boy that lives inside you. If you're going down a dark corridor and there's a door at the end of the corridor, you need to get through it. What do you do if you're the big parent? If you are the big version of that little boy? I said I've got to kick the door down. He goes, no, no, no, you don't need to show vibrato or toughness. He said, you just need to hold that little boy's hand and show him how to walk through it.

  • Joe went through his darkest days to find his purpose in life.

54’04 Joe Williams: I played football and then I went and boxed, and then I went through the hardest times of my life, mentally and emotionally, which rebirthed me to my purpose. They talk about the two most important days of your life, the day you're born and the day you find out why you're born. I had to go through those dark times to find my why and my why now is just about helping people to be the best version of themselves.


Contact details:

Kath Rose

0416 291 493


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