Our 249th Dad in the Limelight is Stephen Rocco. I want to thank Stephen 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 middle school teacher in an inner city, a writer and web designer on the side. Before teaching I was a professional comic and a writer. Once I had my family, I needed to settle down some and finally used that college degree my parents pushed me to earn. Thankfully they did. I went into teaching thirteen years ago after hopping from one job to the next while working the “club” scene at night.
Now I have three awesome kids that keep me on my heels and sometimes spinning on my head. Once our lives settled I decided to become a “daddy” blogger. However, as time passes, I find that I enjoy blogging about more than family life. I think it would be awesome to make a living as a professional blogger. I am working on it, that’s for sure.
2) Tell me about your family
My children range in ages between four and fourteen. My little man enjoys all those cool super heroes and running around the house chasing me with light sabers as we duel it out in true Star Wars fashion. I think he is going to be a lot like me when he gets older because he is very creative and loves making up stories and acting them out.
My princess is eleven going on twenty five. She is all that and a bag of chips. I can’t believe how fast my daughter is growing up. It seems like only yesterday that I was cradling her in my arms. She loves dancing, playing all kinds of sports and has become somewhat of a Moshi Monster guru on the computer.
My oldest, the Big Guy, is a perfect mix of his mother and myself. He is extremely athletic. He plays football during the fall and baseball during the spring and summer. Thankfully he takes a break in the winter. He has entered that age of “being cool” so I need to stay on top of his activities more than in the past. However, he is an awesome kid.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
I am a forty three year old guy who was thrown into a tailspin two years ago when I “discovered” my marriage was truly over. Since that time I have been raising three great kids on my own. The biggest challenge for me has been the “juggling” act I have needed to do in order to see that my kids stay healthy and happy. They range in ages from four to fourteen and each has a different interest, sport and circle of friends. Thanks to my fantastic family and friends, I have been lucky enough to get through the tougher times because of their support.
I think the other major challenge I have had so far has been when the change came down the pike. I spent many nights comforting my kids and reassured them that everything would be okay in the end and that no matter what happened between their mother and I, both of us loved each of them with all our hearts. We still have those moments on occasion, but they have subsided with each passing month.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
The best advice I can give to fathers is to… Stay the course. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Praise constantly and be stern when necessary.
Being single I have found it tough at times to bite my lip and not say anything negative about my ex when a lot of misinformation and bull is coming at you from the other direction. However, it doesn’t benefit our kids when we start bad mouthing the other parent. Be clear about honesty, hard work and good values and demonstrate those things through example.
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.
For me there is no outside life besides blogging. My blog is how I vent and that’s usually where the line is drawn. I don’t let the kids read the blog much less know about it and as they get older I am sure they will stumble across things that I post, so I am very cautious about what it is I publish.
I am always a father first and even when it’s not my “weekend” with the kids I am very involved in what they do with their friends, activities and so forth. My balance comes by having “Daddy Time” when needed and since I am a home body, I can say I enjoy those few nights to myself watching a ball game or having friends over the house.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I have learned to not be so extreme with my kids. Some fathers I know push and push their children in a direction that the child may not want to go. A good example would be some of the “sports” fathers I have met through coaching. It seems as if they want to live their youth all over again at the expense of their kids. One more example is the extremely passive parent, who thinks everything their child does is fine.
I want my children to be who they chose to be. As long as they focus on their school work and demonstrate good values, I let them make their choices. When I see things going in a direction that may hurt them or someone else I step in to guide them.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
Patience. Over the past few years I have learned that patience is a valuable asset. Give your kids the space to make their own mistakes and allow them the time to self correct. Also a major thing I learned is to listen. Sometimes our kids just want us to listen to what they have to say whether we agree or not.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
The milestones of my children have definitely been my memorable experiences. I can never forget the first time my son hit a homerun, my princess’s pre-school graduation as she had this look of accomplishment on her face or my little man’s singing Christmas carols on the way to see Santa. There are just too many to recall, but each have a little quirky thing that jars my memeory over and over again.