Our 247th Dad in the Limelight is author John Pfeiffer. I want to thank John 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 many people rolled into one. I am a dad, son, brother, and husband. I am also an author, blogger, runner, and sometimes the yard service! I am the author of “Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad” and the upcoming sequel.
2) Tell me about your family
I have been married for almost 13 years, and I am still learning how to be a good husband. Seems like I should have it by now, right? I also have three daughters. The oldest is 15, the middle 11, and youngest is 5. I get to teach my kids to drive a car and how to read all in the same day.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
When we first had children, it is only natural to pour your entire self into them. Eventually, I lost myself. All of my time and energy was either going to work or family, but I wasn’t always happy about it, and it showed. The quality of my relationships and interactions with my family wasn’t what it should have been. It suffered sometimes. I learned that there has to be time for self renewal. Once you find a positive activity that you love, that you always find refreshes you mentally, and then you are on the right track. You know, like Mr. Miyagi pruning his tiny trees. Then you build it into the structure of your life, and it will help make you a better person on all fronts. I think men are at a weird time defining who we are and what a “real man” is.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Every family works differently, so instead of advice I can tell you what I think is important. Put your family as a priority in your life, and yes, you will have to make sacrifices to honor your commitment to them. Life can be very messy. Unfortunately in today’s world our families get us at our worst, most exhausted selves. Save some of your best self for them. I like to keep a chart of where I spend my time each week. It lets me know if I am running my life, or if my life is running me!
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 am very lucky in much of my writing activities can be done at odd hours. I like to write when it is quiet, so I often will get the laptop out early in the morning, or after the kids are tucked in. The balancing act for me comes with balancing everyone in the family and their needs (wants), activities, etc. Our oldest cannot drive, and she would have us shuttle her all around town on a daily basis if we were willing. But our other kids of course deserve their own time and activities. It’s a lot to balance.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I have learned just to live in the moment, especially with your children. Kids will really adapt to almost any situation as long as their parents are there to share and love them. They do not care so much about what kind of house you have or what type of car you drive. Until they become teenagers. When you are dropping them at their high school dance, then they care. A very smart man once gave me the analogy that kids are like arrows shot out into the world, and we (parents) are just there to adjust the fletching (I googled it) and keep them on target the best we can. I believe that. The other thing I try to keep in mind is the concept of “celebrating” our kids. They each have different strengths and passions, and they all require very different but special handling.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
It’s the toughest job ever. Thankfully, you get lots of chances to improve your performance as a father. My parenting philosophy is that it’s my responsibility to give my children the skills and some context about the world before I send them out into it. They need to know what is out in the world, both the good and the bad, and be able to recognize situations for what they are. But ultimately it will be their decision. Love your kids for who they are. Try to find special things to do together. Teach them to play a card game, or something you enjoy doing. Make sure they know you love them.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
My children continually amaze me in new and different ways with their capacity for love and life. My daughter is an awesome writer for example. She is 11, but some of her writing makes me laugh out loud. I think the most memorable times for me are when my kids take challenges on themselves. It shows they are growing and believing in themselves.
Specifically, as a family we love our vacations. It is amazing when you pack up the family and get away for awhile the transformation that can occur. We painstakingly organized our schedules to allow us to spend a month at the beach together last summer. It was like a wand had been waved and we all just loved being together as a family.
If you have any questions for John, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!