I’m repeating a few posts for my own good. Even though, in every case, families have grown and aged, I hope you enjoy this interview.
KS: Family of origin is two parents (both deceased), biological brother, 18months my senior, and an adopted sister, 6 years my junior. Current family is my lovely wife Linda of 37 years, son David, daughter-in-law Maggie and grandson Eliot in Chicago and daughter Anne Marie and son-in-law Tony in Singapore.
FF: How has fatherhood changed you?
KS: Fatherhood has given me the privilege of looking at life through a lens 25 years younger than my own. In some strange way the world of my children and, now, grandchild has become my world as well. I am now responsible for more than just my world. Fatherhood has energized and motivated me because I want to experience life with my children and not just observe. Fatherhood has also given me an immense amount of hope for the next generation.
FF: Have you made any mistakes as a dad? If you’re not a liar, name one and talk about what it meant to you..
KS: Just one?! I should not have been so trusting of others when it came to the care of my children. I did not protect them the way I should have.
FF: What’s the most helpful advice you heard when you were becoming a father or as you’ve been a father?
KS: Say “yes” as often as you can. Raise your child to flourish in the world not to remain dependent on you. Don’t fight with your kids over their choices of clothing and shoes; just give them a budget and turn them loose.
FF: How do you attend to your relationship with your wife because of parenting? Has parenting changed your marriage?
KS: Creatively. We had to find new ways to connect with each other and it could not always be on our schedule. Intentional conversations about non-kid topics.
FF: Talk about staying in the lives of your children for the long-range. What is that like? What do you do differently, for instance, with your grown children that you didn’t do when they were younger? What does it take for you to stay invested in them and in your relationship with them?
KS: We have communication tools today that greatly facilitate long distance connectivity. We make good use of those but somehow the monitor is not a full substitute for face-to-face time. We make traveling and being together a priority in our time and resources. I don’t worry about my grown children like I did when they were under my roof. That allows space for all kinds of adult interaction that is a lot more fun. As best as I can, I want to understand their world so I try to jump in whenever it is appropriate.
FF: What surprises are there along the way for parents? What do you wish you were told to expect?
KS: Most of the negative stereotypes of child development stages are wrong. They are more likely to manifest if you are anticipating them. Every season brought more joy then stress. Kids understand and can respond to a whole lot more than we give them credit for.
FF: What is one recent memory you made with your children?
KS: Spending a couple weeks with all of us together in Taiwan.