In this conversation Ed and Drew talk with Mike Whitla, the founder of Howdytoons Productions. Mike is a father of two adult boys who lost his wife to suicide in 2019.
In this honest and authentic conversation Mike shares about the family experiences before and after his wife’s untimely death. There are moments in this conversation that may be difficult for some listeners, so please use discretion.
Mike explores and reflects on his current relationship with his father, which has been a source of strength and support as he recovered. He shares about the importance of talking about difficult topics and exploring how people are feeling so they can get the support needed. His example to his sons and the relationship he has with both of them hold significance for any father who wants to help his family overcome loss.
Mike courageously and humbly reveals the challenges that a “lone parent” must go through when parenting after the loss of a spouse. This episode touches on important truths about mental health, and Mike hopes that his story can be the catalyst to remove the stigma and replace it with real support.
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About Mike Whitla:
Mike Whitla is the founder of Howdytoons Productions Inc, a children’s music video company based in Toronto. Springing from the success of Mike’s standout award-winning 2005 children’s album, Dinostory: The Ultimate Dinosaur Rock Opera, Howdytoons now distributes on many platforms, including Youtube and Spotify, in three languages. At time of writing, the Howdytoons suite of Youtube channels has 1.6 million subscribers and 1.3 billion views.
Mike continues to develop new musical cartoon series, including Prehistorica – a show about favourite extinct creatures, and Mythologica – a series about incredible myths told around the world, co-written with his son, musician Jake Django.
Additionally, Mike is the founder & Director of Rainbow Songs, the most successful preschool family music program in Canada. Since 1999, more than fifty thousand families have participated in Rainbow Songs classes, sharing the joy of music.
Including Dinostory, Mike has produced 12 award-winning children’s music CDs, all of which feature Rainbow Songs staff past and present, as well as talented musician friends from Canada and around the world. (Check ‘em out on Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music!)
Mike co-founded the Rainbow Songs Foundation, a charity that brings the same high-quality Rainbow Songs musical programs to vulnerable families using shelters and drop-in centres throughout Toronto.
When he isn’t making music, Mike is a passionate cyclist, environmentalist and the father of two boys, Jake and Kyle.
Link for Howdytoons Productions Inc.:
About The Dad Central Show:
Dads love to see their kids grow into confident and successful adults. The problem is most dads feel unsure how to get there and have nowhere to turn for help.
The Dad Central Show coaches you to be your best, while bringing out the best in your family.
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The Dad Central Show is sponsored by Dove Men+Care. Dove Men+Care believes care is the best of a man, because when men care for themselves and others, there is a positive impact.
Great interview, with valuable insights on relationships between adult fathers & sons. This one also broaches the difficult subject of mental health, suicide, and paternal post-partum depression. The importance of sharing feelings, as well as garnering support/help, are keys to moving forward. The honesty brought forward here is wonderful.