Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dad-er-view with Vic

Here is the first of hopefully many more Dad-er-views. The object is to garner and glean useful real-world tips, traits, warnings, or pearls of wisdom from other Dads, who have either been-there-and-done-that, or are currently embedded in the process. The ground rules of Dad-er-views are pretty simple. While Dads will be identified by first name (unless they wish to remain anonymous), but their kids will only be indicated by initials, sex and age. Therefore RW (b8) would be an eight year-old boy. There are no right or wrong answers in Dad-er-views, as long as they are open and unscripted.

For the first Dad-er-view I wanted to talk with someone who is very conscious of the role of Dads and their vital importance for healthy kids and families. I’ve had the opportunity to watch Vic from up close for several years and can say he is a…great…Dad. Vic’s upbringing and relationship with his own father were strained, heavily influencing the decisions he makes as he raises his own kids. Vic has also previously been a Youth Minister, and as far as teenagers go, has quite literally seen it all. Vic and his wife have four kids:  EV(b12), IW(b9), LW(b7) and AZ(g4). Many thanks to Vic for sharing his thoughts while on a 2-mile hike in the mountains of North Georgia.

DadU: What Dad-rating would you give yourself out of 10? Vic: (pause) Oh, I think I’m pretty good (laugh), 8 or 9 out of 10!

DU: Tell me something unique about each of your kids, something positive, and something you need to work with them on. Vic: EV(b12) has a strong sense of compassion and mercy. We need to be aware of keeping his self-esteem up. IW(b9) is strongly self-motivated and keenly aware of fair justice, but needs to work on patience. LW(b7) is very loyal, but can also need his self-esteem bolstered. AZ(g4) could be described as a loving servant. We work on patience with her.

DU: You have told me you leaned the value of a strong work ethic from your father and are trying to pass that on. Did you have other fatherhood mentors? Vic: God put several guys in my path while I was a Youth Pastor, guys with older kids, now college age. I’ve seen their effectiveness and have tapped them for as much information as possible. One great piece of advice was: “Take one with you”. ie if you go to the hardware store, take one; mission trip, take one; etc.

DU: What was your largest misconception about being a Dad? Vic: I was not prepared for the sense of wonder that kids have, which most adults have lost completely.

DU: What is a tip for babies and U5’s? Vic: Hold them. While it goes against some popular parenting theories, we held them at every opportunity. They are usually crying for a reason. We also read to them a lot, and did not use any baby talk.

DU: How much time do you get with your kids? Vic: A lot, but my situation is not very common. I can include my kids in nearly whatever I do. I don’t have hobbies or extra activities that tax time from my kids.

DU: Best day as a Dad? Vic: I will split that out by child. The best with EV(b12) was a 7 day mission trip to Mississippi, just us, driving down there and back and doing everything together. Likewise, IW(b9) and I went on a mission trip together to Alaska. It’s harder to narrow down with LW(b7), as there are many. He is my copilot on all trips to the hardware store. For AZ(g4) it was her 4th birthday Daddy-date, where she talked non-stop over cake for more than 1 hr. 

DU: Worst day? Vic: Urrgh….there is one clear winner: 16 hrs with two boys who had contracted salmonella and giardia.

DU: Furthest mile you have gone for your kids?  Vic: Being homeschoolers, I’ve made the commitment to do whatever it takes to be in control of who defines their education. It’s a non-negotiable in our home, and I would work three jobs if needed, to enable my wife to be able to stay at home and school the kids.

DU: Biggest “win” lately or ever?  Vic: Several things we do seem to have a big impact on the kids. I’m very intentional about “Daddy-dates” with each one on an individual basis, and these can be as simple as going to the store, or more elaborate. Camping/hiking is always a huge hit, as are nerf-gun wars with friends. Birthdays are a big deal in our house.

DU: Biggest mistake, or desired do-over?  Vic: Inability to control my temper, when the kids have only been childish (not rebellious), and don’t know any better because of their age.

DU: Do you have any specific vision for your kids?  Vic: Of course, for the boys to find a woman to love and raise a family of their own, and for AZ(g4) to find a man to take care of her. Outside of that, no vision to impose on them, just that they would be content within Gods plan for their life.

DU: Importance of a College education?  Vic: Totally dependent on the desires and talents of the kids.

DU: Any comments/thoughts on the importance of financial security/income/life insurance as the Dad/primary breadwinner? Vic: ~6 years ago we made a decision to adopt a “wartime mentality” (aka frugality), and simplicity, or living with an “open hand” (God gives and we share).

DU: Any tips for Dads of teens, what did you learn as a Youth Minister?  Vic: The number 1? The Dad MUST hold and exercise the final responsibility for discipline. Mom can act as a primary/immediate authority, but if the buck doesn’t stop with Dad, it isn’t going to happen.  You don’t need to write that down, you’re going to remember it.

Dad U

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