Idris Elba is familiar with the chaos, joy and laughter that infuse life with kids.
The “Wire” actor has a daughter, Isan, and son, Winston. Over the years, he’s shared snippets of his life as a dad, from his parenting style to his kids’ taste in music.
In honor of his Sept. 6 birthday, here are 13 quotes about fatherhood from Elba.
On His Children’s Births
“Just watching that whole process come to life. Being witness to the birth of my children, happy and healthy, is the biggest, biggest, most best thing ever.”
On Prioritizing Family
“More than anything you have to make time to be with your children. It’s something I battle a lot because of my career, because as much as it’s nice to be busy and working, ultimately children don’t raise themselves. You’ve got to be there to help them and guide them through it. That’s one thing I try my very best to do. I love being a dad, its an important part of my life.”
On A Perfect Day With His Kids
“My 17-year-old daughter, for her a perfect day would be a shopping day. She likes to go shopping. We’d go to a movie and then go to the Cheesecake Factory and then maybe play a little PlayStation. She loves the Cheesecake Factory. With my son, last time we went to Venice Beach and then we’d do something for dinner and watch a movie.”
On Embarrassing His Kids
“Plenty of times. But I tend to be conscious of my daughter’s space. I’m super doting as a dad. Big hugs, kisses, lots of love-yous and all of that. I’m sure my daughter’s like, ‘All right dad, chill out.’ My son, he gets it. But he’s still at that age where he loves a cuddle.”
On Taking His Daughter To The Oscars
“She was NOT chilled out! She was very blown away by it all, especially when we met Ansel Elgort ― she is his BIGGEST fan. She was freaking out, ‘ANSEL! OHMYGOD! ANSEL’S HERE!’ and I was like, ‘Oh my god! Pull it in!’ Obviously he’s an actor and a DJ, so we got on and swapped numbers. She was like, ‘Agh! Are you gonna call him? What did he say? Is he texting you?!’ I love to take her to things like that, because I want to demystify it for her. It’s nice for her to meet Benedict Cumberbatch and Bradley Cooper and just see that they’re really down to earth. She was like, ‘Oh my god! They called me by my NAME!’”
On His Kids’ Personalities
“My children are extremely shy and I’m quite shy in reality. Both my children overthink everything. Sabrina and I have a joke, ‘What’s the backstory?’ Because I’m always asking. ‘There’s no backstory. The pizza’s late.’ ‘But why? What’s he doing?’ And my children share that trait. We just over-analyze.”
On Having Fun As A Parent
“You have to be goofy with your kids. Life isn’t so serious.”
On Empowering His Daughter
“My daughter and I speak about having the confidence to believe in your own journey and not to follow others. We speak about that a lot ― confidence and belief, and not following anyone else’s shine, but rather following your own shine … It’s really important to have that self-belief and that self-heartbeat.”
On Losing His Father
“My dad was here one minute and now he’s gone. You realize … that’s it. All of the things you work hard for and stress about, you don’t take them with you. Then, when you see your child for the first time, you’re like … ‘WOW,’ and you realize that it’s a cycle. That period definitely changed me. I count my blessings a lot more now. The take-away from that time period is that I’m alive, I’m happy and I’m healthy.”
On His Son’s Taste In Music
“He tends to take over the playlist when we’re together. He has a particular type of music he likes. His mum introduced him to 1980s music. He loves house music. My son’s into it. He makes music on the iPad. Anything electronic gets him going. I’m excited by the prospect of him producing music.”
On Working On ‘Turn Up Charlie’
“I wanted to do some comedy, have some levity, and do something less serious. I wanted to make my children laugh. And to me this show is more about parenting.”
“I tend not to overthink it. I don’t have my kids on there all the time. I leave them to their real lives. Everything in moderation to be honest. My son is cute as hell. You gotta take pictures of that all the time ... I love the little guy.”
On His Parenting Style From Kid To Kid
“It hasn’t changed. My parents governed me with an iron fist. Or at least, my mum tried. With my kids, I’m more loosey-goosey. But when it’s time to be strict, I can be.”
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.