This post was originally published on my PhDadBlog.
Happy Father’s Day!
About a month ago, I had the idea of setting up a roundtable discussion among a number of dads I know. I blasted the idea out on Facebook to gather volunteers who would be willing to share their experiences about being a dad and answer some questions about parenthood with the intent of posting it on this blog in celebration of Father’s Day. Thus, the first (maybe annual) Dads of the Roundtable©™ 2016 was born!
If you’ve ever wondered what dads think about being dads, I hope this 7-part series will satisfy your curiosity.
The virtual conversation took place through a shared GoogleDoc that we could all return to at will to add any thoughts, comments, or additional questions. I have to admit I had no idea what to expect but I am so glad I embarked on this little experiment and that so many incredible, thoughtful dads agreed to join me in what ended up being nearly 20 pages of content!
It’s actually pretty cool how it turned out. The dads who agreed to participate – 7 in total – cover friendships made in different periods of my life. Represented among the 7 are: friends I made in grad school (Kyle and Jon), a friend from high school (Thomas), friends I made throughout my teens in various Bahá’í activities (Chase and Vahid S.), my brother-in-law (Vahid N.), and a dear family friend – I consider him my brother, really – who has practically known me my entire life (Jason).
Our virtual conversation ended up being quite a bit lengthier than I anticipated, so I thought it best to break it up into several more bite-sized parts that could be more easily readable in one sitting and post them each day this week.
Part 1: Meet the Dads!
Part 2: What We Wish We Knew
Part 3: Disciplining
Part 4: Victories and Struggles
Part 5: Parenting and Our Relationship With Our Partner
Part 6: The Influence of Our Own Parents and Religion
Part 7: Future Goals and Final Thoughts
In putting it all together for these posts, I’ve edited as little as possible, fixing some minor typos, removing some text that was more formatting related than content, etc. I’ve also rearranged the order of some of the answers so that, for example, I could provide more space for someone’s answer to a question that led to a tangential conversation of its own.
Without further ado, here are the dads!
Introduce yourself! Please state your name, age, number of children, their sex and ages, and anything else you might like us to know about you or that has an influence in your parenting.
MUNIB: Hi! I’m Munib Rezaie and I live in Atlanta, GA. I’m 31 years old and I have two boys, ages 8 and 2. I recently completed a PhD in Communication focusing on film and media studies and am currently a stay-at-home parent full-time. My wife just started her second year of grad school at Emory University’s physical therapy program, which basically keeps her out of the house most days of the week from about 7am-6pm, in addition to weekend study sessions. It’s been an educational experience, to say the least.
VAHID SMITH: Hi my name is Vahid Smith, I’m 33 and I’m from Tampa, FL. I have 5 children ages 7, 6, 4, 2 and 2. All are girls except for one of the twins. My wife and I have a busy life, to say the least. On top of raising our 5 kids, my wife and I both own separate businesses. I have a growing martial arts school and my wife has a new State Farm insurance office. Life is crazy right now but very fulfilling. I look forward to participating in the “Dads Roundtable.”
JASON SABERIN: Hello my name is Jason Saberin hailing from the city of angels. I have one boy, 2.5 years old. I call him regularly Benji and Buddy although his real name is Benjamin. I have a very analytical mind but also really enjoy things kids do. Like to think myself as a 15-year-old spirit in a 35-year-old body. I try to engage Benji in almost everything I do. The best part about being a dad is to be able to see the world in the eyes of my son. I feel like I get excited about the little things again just like he does.
THOMAS RIVAS: Hey, folks. My name is Thomas Rivas. I live in Astoria, NY with my wife, Jane and 5 year old step-son, Rowan. He’s turning 6 next week. I’ve been working at the New York Times for almost 8 years now, doing everything from writing to pagination to tech support. When I’m not at the paper, I’m usually running around to voice over auditions and gigs. We’re moving to LA in December so that I can just focus on the voice work full-time. As a step-dad, I’m curious to see how my feelings/opinions compare with all of yours.
KYLE WRATHER: Hello! I’m Kyle Wrather – I live in Austin, Texas with my wife and our 14-month-old baby boy, Byron. I’m a second-year media studies PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin. Since Byron was born last March, I’ve been a full-time student and my wife (who is a CPA) has been staying-at-home, but she’s now looking for jobs here in Austin for when Byron starts daycare full time at the University in the fall. We also have two little (~10 lb) dogs.
JON VENTURA: I’m Jon Ventura, and I’m working on my PhD in Moving Image Studies at Georgia State University. My wife and I just had our first child, a little boy (now 4 months old), and I’m trying to figure out how to balance being a husband and father while writing a dissertation. My wife also works for the Technical College System of Georgia, and we’re doing the best we can to support our little family.
VAHID N’DOBE: Hi everyone, my name is Vahid N’Dobe, currently residing in Miami, Florida. I’m married to MaySarih Rezaie N’Dobe and we’re the proud parents of two: Anis, our son is turning 5 this month and Asiyih, our daughter is 3. I completed an MBA in global management from Babson College in 2013 and have been a recording artist & entrepreneur since then. I was born and raised in Cameroon, West Africa but have been living in the U.S. since the end of 1998. To me, being a parent has not been the easiest gig, but it’s definitely been THE most exciting and fun experience of my life. I look forward to reading everyone’s comments and hopefully gain some new insights from the experience.
CHASE BLOCK: I’m Chase, from Nashville, TN. I’ve got 4 kids, 8, 6, 4, & 2, all boys except for the 4 year old. Just finished a Master’s in Public Administration last December and have been mainly vegging out since then to decompress. I work for the city water department as a supervisor in their laboratory. My main influence in parenting is straight up instinct, but I’m sure there are certain social cues I’ve taken both from my own upbringing as well as what I’ve seen others do, both positive and negative. Mostly I try to avoid it; The kids are happier when their mother is taking charge of things.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2: What We Wish We Knew!