Our 313rd Dad in the Limelight is Joseph Caplinger. I want to thank Joseph 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)
Not sure I think of myself as being in the lime light per se. If I am it’s not because I try to be.
I am a Client Support Specialist for a large bank. I post on my blog A Cup of Joe at www.joec0321.wordpress.com. It’s a blog which I have labelled to be about Children, Faith, Sports, and Other Common Sense Ramblings From Your Average Joe. I am actively involved in my church. I teach Children’s Ministries once a month, help lead a group of 4th through 6th grade students, and mentor a student through the Confirmation process. I am also involved in various other areas of the church where needed. I serve through my local YMCA as a coach in youth sports. I have coached baseball, 2 basketball teams, and 3 soccer teams so far just since this past July.
2. Tell me about your family
I married my soul mate 13 years ago this March. We were together for about 3 and a half years prior to getting married. I could not imagine my life without my lovely wife. We have an adorable daughter who is turning 5 in a couple of weeks. She is the absolutely perfect blend of both of us. It’s like someone took all of the best qualities of both of us and combined them into one wonderful, precious little girl.
3. What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
My daughter is a very easy child to parent so I don’t have a lot of challenges as a father. I would say the largest challenge I face on a regular basis also happens to be what I would consider a huge strength. I am a very laid back, relaxed individual. While that is a great asset to have, it also means I have to be aware of the things that my wife has asked our daughter not to do and also enforce those things. My wife is not overly strict, but there are things that I see her asking my daughter not do that I may not have thought to be an issue because of my laid back personality. I don’t want to set the expectation for my daughter that she can do something when she is with me that she can not do when mom is around. But I also don’t want to be overly strict so there is a fine line there that I always have to be cautious of so I don’t leave the impression that mom and dad are not on the same page.
4. What advice would you give to other fathers?
I would say I would pass on three points of advice to other fathers:
First, remember kids will be kids. They are going to be loud, they are going to be messy, they are going spill things. Kids are not perfect, just like we are not perfect. You need to relax and enjoy their youth. There is nothing more heart warming than watching kids at play and the crazy, imaginative things they do. While it is important to have boundaries and expect them to respect those boundaries, I have also seen a lot of situations where the behavior of the child is just typical child behavior. The parents react by stressing out because they are afraid of what others think or because they feel the child is not living up to the “perfectly behaved child” they think they should have. The parent then starts to get upset and portrays that to the child who will then also get upset and start behaving worse.
Second, lead by example. It’s easy to preach and lecture kids and then ask them to do as you say, not as you do. But there is a lot more of an impact when you get out there and lead by example. The children imitate what they see. You want them to be kind to others? You want them to place importance on their faith or education? Get involved in those things. Let them see you being kind to others. Let them see you helping them with their homework, helping tutor other kids in their school. Let them see you going out and living your faith. You are going to be a lot more successful in getting them to accomplish what you are asking when you set the example you want them to follow.
Third, cherish every single moment and take an active role in parenting. Don’t just leave it to mom because you are responsible for being the bread winner and parenting is a mom thing. You will have a greater impact on your children’s life and a better relationship with them as they grow. They grow very quickly and before you know if they will be grown. You don’t want to look back on their childhood and have regrets for things you have missed out on in their life.
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.
It really comes down to setting priorities. For me, I realize that all the other things going on in outside life will still be there when my daughter gets to the point that she wants to spend time with her friends instead of her dead old Dad. My career will still be there. The sporting events that I am missing out on being able to watch all day every Saturday or Sunday will still be there. The greatest impact I can have in the world right now is by spending time with my daughter. Helping to mold her and shape her. Helping her to accomplish becoming the greatest person she can become. That doesn’t mean spending 24 hours a day 7 days a week with her. I have time after she goes to bed set aside to do things like update my blog, catch up on DVR’d shows or sports, even interact with my wife. Occasionally she goes away to grandma’s for the weekend so the wife and I can have time to ourselves so we can keep our relationship from getting lost in all that we do for her.
6. What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I am always trying to watch the interactions of other fathers as well as reading different articles and blog postings of other fathers. I don’t have all the answers or do everything perfectly. I believe the best way to learn is by watching others in action. I have seen fathers who are excellent at interacting with their children. I like to remember those experiences and use them as learning examples to mold how I interact with my own daughter. I also see a lot of examples of things not to do. Sometimes some of the most powerful examples you can learn from are the bad examples. I am always trying to watch and learn. Sometimes this can be good examples I want to incorporate. Sometimes seeing examples of things I have done or said or could see myself doing or saying and realizing that watching from a distance that may not be the best way to handle a situation.
7. What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
I would say being a father has been the absolute most rewarding experience of anything I have ever done in life. For many years I knew I wanted to be a father and would love every moment of it. But until it actually happens, there is no possible way to know what a great experience it is. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have all the answers. Sometimes I make things up as I go. Sometimes I realize after the fact that something I said or did earlier could of been done better. But that’s alright. Don’t be afraid of it, embrace it. Get involved in your child’s life. Read to them, play with them, talk to them. I promise, it’s the most rewarding thing you can ever do in your life.
8. What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
I think the most memorable experiences would be the experiences where she learns something new for the first time and the great joy and pride she shows in doing it. When she accomplishes something she is really proud of. She gets the hugest smile on her face and jumps up and down with excitement. It may be something simple to others, but just the look of complete joy and satisfaction warms the heart. She is so happy and excited to tell me about it and for me to show that same pride and excitement right back to her. Currently it’s working on cart wheels in gymnastics. When she does them and does a really good one, she can’t wait to come leap in my arms for my encouragement and positive comments.
I also cherish the moments when I just sit quietly and watch her as she plays. She may likes to get her dolls and stuffed animals out and play with them. There is always an amazing story she is telling and acting out with them. When I can sneak in and just overhear the imagination at work. When she does something with them that is something that we have done together it lets me know that it has had a positive effect on her. It’s just so very memorable and heart warming.
If you have any questions for Joseph, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!