Our 334th Dad in the Limelight is author R.C. White. I want to thank R.C. for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.
1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers’ knowledge)
I am a career businessman in the petrochemical industry. An engineer by education, most of that career has been in progressive marketing positions, but the culmination was as a CEO of a multi-million dollar manufacturing company in the Houston, TX area. Perhaps the career highlight was being featured in a front-page article in The Wall Street Journal. Prior to Amanda: Papa’s Story, my main compositions had been scripts for short church dramas (and of course business writing – boring!). I suppose my only “limelight” is being fortunate enough for my book to have been chosen as a finalist in the 2012 Inspiring Voices Book Publishing Contest presented by Guideposts.
2) Tell me about your family
My life-long soulmate is my wife of 43 years, and still counting. I have two terrific daughters, a son-in-law that couldn’t be any better, and two precious angels for granddaughters, one of which is the basis for Amanda in the book. (Yes, there will be another book based on Brittany, the other granddaughter.)
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
My initial response to this question is “simply being a father.” There is no greater challenge. The most difficult task may have been maintaining open and constant communications with my children. As long as they were willing to listen to me and I to them, extending each other at least some credibility, then I felt that I had some ability to influence their behavior.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Don’t mistake an isolated event for a trend. Observe the child’s actions and recognize trends. Focus on and manage those activities and don’t overreact to the isolated events. Above all, listen to what the child says, and doesn’t say. I would also recommend paying attention to the little things that may seem insignificant to the father; they may be huge in the eyes of the child.
5) Seeing that you (or your position) are in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? If you are currently not in the limelight per se, please still answer this in regards to how you balance parenthood and outside life.
I have never considered myself in any limelight, although some might equate a successful career as esteemable. However, I view balancing parenthood and outside life, which in my case would be career, as a continuous shifting of priorities. It is all too easy to put our careers ahead of family; we justify it by saying we are preparing for a better future for ourselves and our family. That’s a cop out. We must make time for our families and their priorities; it’s the one thing we can’t take back and it’s the most valuable balancing tool we have. It is a cliché but how many people would say on their deathbed, “I wish I had more time to spend with my work.” In the face of a real conflict where a choice has to be made, I can always resume or even change careers but I would never, never want to change families.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
That I still have much to learn! We never complete the journey to parenthood. Although my children are both grown and working in their own careers, I can still learn what I should have done by observing their successes with their children and perhaps applying that to grandparenting. Many years ago in business school, we learned principles through case studies. I can still observe, analyze and apply. And my granddaughters can now be the beneficiaries.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Paraphrasing a familiar quote, success is when preparation and luck come together. We should never stop preparing. Events do not define us; it’s how we react to those events that defines us, and our reaction is always better when we are prepared. I still incur new events, both as a father and as a grandfather. And regret is a terrible thing with which to live. I’d better be as prepared as I can be to handle whatever my family brings.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
At the top of the list is becoming a grandfather; the thrill of such new excitement entering the family is incomparable. In a pure parental role, however, my most memorable experience has been seeing my two daughters develop into responsible contributors to society, to be givers and not takers. Probably the proudest I have ever been as a parent was on the occasion when my older daughter elected not to “follow the crowd” but to call the police at a close friend’s party when drugs and alcohol were jeopardizing their safety.
If you have any questions for R.C., please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!