Our 245th Dad in the Limelight is Johnny Rohrbeck. I want to thank Johnny 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)
My name is Johnny Rohrbeck. I’m a husband, father, entrepreneur from Macon, GA. I’m the founder and co-owner of Valor Candles & Gifts For Men, which offers a specialty line of masculine scented candles, air fresheners, classic shaving items, and more. Growing up in a musical family, creativity and artistic expression have always been a normal part of life for me. A few years ago, I began the brainstorm and research process for what is now Valor Candles. After many months of development and branding work, we officially launched in September of 2011. Since that time, our company has been receiving an incredible amount of recognition both locally as well as nationally as we’ve been shipping product all over the country. Just last month, our product was chosen to be included in the official gift bag of the 33rd Annual Sports Emmy Awards in New York. As you can imagine, all of our local news outlets covered that story in some form or another. So, years of hard work for me became an overnight buzz for our community via television, magazines, and newspaper articles. And, we’ve recently been invited to attend the Daytime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles this June where I’ve been given the opportunity to walk the Red Carpet.
2) Tell me about your family
I have been married for 14 years to my best friend, Suzii. She is an incredible mother. She’s smart, hard-working, and best of all, patient with me. AND, she’s a total hottie. She is a licensed attorney, yet chooses to invest in the life of our son by staying home full time with him. What an incredible gift! I definitely married out of my league. Our son’s name is Cooper. He recently turned 6. He’s not just the ‘life’ of the party. He IS the party! He is incredibly smart and creative, so thankfully he got the best of mom and dad both.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
I think the greatest challenge for me has been to shut off “work mode” completely, so that I can be completely “dad”. I have to work very hard to be “all the way there” because there are so many opportunities and responsibilities that I can’t let slip by in order to maintain and continue to build the momentum our business has experienced. And, there are always phone calls or emails that seem to come later in the evenings, when I need to be focusing on my family.
Also, finding the balance in order to shape my son’s character without breaking his spirit is a challenge. As a man, my tendency is to just “make it happen”. So I have to continuously be mindful of my boy’s precious spirit and remind myself that he’s tender. He will learn how to “be” and how to treat others by the way I treat him.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Wherever you are, be “all the way there”. And, remember that you Teach what you Know, but Reproduce who you Are.
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 intentional to celebrate my success as “our” success. When I talk about my business with my boy, it’s “our” business. In fact, we even recently launched a line of products called, “Gentleman In Training” that includes my son’s own scented candle. I offered him the opportunity to come up with a scent, and help pour a sample batch. He decided on Fudge Brownies. So, a week or so later we had our first test batch of Cooper’s Chocolate Candles. He got so excited he just KNEW that we’d have to get a bunch of boxes and a big truck to deliver them to all the stores. He always talks about wanting to be on T.V. like Daddy. So for me the balance has come by bringing a little bit of the limelight to my family, and a little of my family to the limelight. That way, we get to be together and celebrate in both places.
Also, whenever possible (sometimes I just have to make it possible) I leave early for the day and take my boy to the park or to the movies, giving mom some much needed quiet time and my boy some much needed play time with dad.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I’ve learned the most from my own father. “Be authentic”. The world doesn’t need more “good parents” for appearance sake. It needs more “trans-parents” who aren’t afraid to cry in front of their kids; to laugh, love, be angry or even afraid while being courageous and intentional with their choices, always mindful of consequences.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Being a father is the most fulfilling experience I’ve ever had. It’s also the most sobering experience. If we make a mistake with a batch of candles, we can scrap them and start
over. With my boy, I get ONE shot. I absolutely love being a dad. He melts my heart every day in some way and reminds me how much fun it is to be carefree and child-like.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
I remember when Cooper was very young, if there was ever a loud noise in the house or from outside and Suzii or I weren’t within view, it would scare him and he’d start crying until one of us connected with him. Yet, one day while sitting in my lap and facing me, a sonic boom shook the house. Because I didn’t act surprised or startled, it didn’t even faze him. I realized that day how powerful my presence was for giving cues to my boy. Even my facial expression communicated volumes to him.
I also have strong memories of our “tickle chair”. At any time of day I could say, “Whoooo’s in my tickle chair”, and Cooper would go running, screeching, to dive into my chair, awaiting a tickle session. He would sometimes flop himself on the ottoman and start wiggling his fingers going “diggle diggle diggle” in order to get me to tickle him. This was before he could even talk. One day the ottoman was covered with his toys. I sat and watched as he “secretly” started clearing the ottoman. I could tell from the back of his head he was grinning. It must have taken him 10 minutes to get all of his toys put away. As soon as he put the last one away, he turned and smiled at me with the biggest grin ever, and started wiggling his fingers….and PLOP! I’ve never been so moved. To see the forethought and preparation he would go through in order to connect with me. How could I ever let this little guy down?
If you have any questions for Johnny, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!