For the past five years, Chris Grady has been drawing his experiences as a dad and sharing them in a web comic called Lunarbaboon.
Grady has a 7-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. His comic offers a humorous take on classic parenting struggles, from noisy toys to toddler tantrums.
Many of his drawings, however, also feature more earnest messages about tolerance, empathy and being a force for good in an often dark world.
Grady, who works as an elementary school teacher in Toronto, told HuffPost he created Lunarbaboon as a form of therapy to deal with his anxiety.
“I needed a positive place to focus all my thoughts and found that when I was making comics I felt a little bit better,” he said. “After posting the comics on social media for a few months, I began getting messages from many people about how they connected to the comics and it gave them hope and strength as they went through their own dark times.”
As Lunarbaboon gained a bigger following, Grady decided to use his popularity for good. He often draws comics with positive messages that touch on social justice, gender issues, xenophobia and more.
“I think it is impossible not to be influenced by the world around you. There is a lot of bad things happening in the world, but there is also a lot of good,” he said. “I try to find the good or humorous in the difficult things that happen to us every day.”
Grady noted that his wife influences his work as well. “I am very lucky to be married to a very smart, strong, opinionated person who is constantly fighting against injustice,” he explained. “A lot of what she and I talk about on a daily basis makes it into the comics.”
The response to Grady’s work has been positive. “People like knowing they aren’t alone in life’s daily struggles,” he said.
As a teacher and a father, Grady aims to mold young minds into caring, thoughtful members of their communities.
“I want both my kids and my students to grow up to be good people,” he explained. “Kids are always watching adults, and they look to the adults as role models. I try to show them that even with all my flaws and weaknesses, I am still a good person, and I can still make a positive change in the world.”
“Nobody is powerless in this world, as humans we have the ability to change another person’s day by what we put out,” he added, noting that this mindset sometimes seeps into his comics.
Grady told HuffPost he hopes his comic brings people joy and inspires them to spread positivity to those around him, even in difficult times.
“Although we don’t have complete control over our thoughts and emotions as we go through life, we do have control over our actions,” he said. “So do good things with your life.”