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Learning to Dad with Tyler Ross 008 - Dave Wills

Speaker 2: Hello. This [00:00:30] is learning to dad with Tyler Ross. My guest today is Dave wills. Dave is a long time real estate agent. And before that a real estate appraiser, he was recently appointed to the warrants and branch office as the manager of the long and foster earning great compliments from the president of long and Foster's corporate office. Dave is also the new president of our local realtor association. I've known David for many, many years, and we've grown closer as time goes by Dave and I have an eerie amount of overlap [00:01:00] in our goals and our values yet we pursue them from completely different angles. Might be fair to accuse me of being a little loosey goosey while some might call Dave overly strict, but I admire Dave's work ethic is unrelenting desire to be better. And most of all, while we don't always agree his opinion and his willingness to share it, honestly, on top of this, I know him to be a very caring, very deliberate father. Thank you very much for coming to [00:01:30] let me interview you.

Speaker 3: Thank you for the introduction. What I took from that was we were both a little kind of crazy, a certain kind of crazy

Speaker 2: That may be what draws us together. But, uh, so like as we're raising children, there's really no right way to do it. So my personal goal is to learn as much as I can in from the people that have qualities. I admire, uh, people I know that are high achievers in their professional life, their chosen field people I know that are critical thinkers. [00:02:00] People that I think are good dads. And I think you are all of those things. So again, thank you. Thank you. But the first thing I'll start with is like, just tell me the current state of your family, your kids, what they're doing, what you're doing, your wife's doing just kind of a brief overview.

Speaker 3: We're very busy. And, uh, ironically Fran and I joke, our oldest is now married and, uh, owns a house and has a great job. And our middle daughter is now off to college and our young daughter [00:02:30] who I'm sure we'll discuss, uh, Riley, you know, she has special needs and requires full-time care. So Fran is at home with her all the time. We thought. So we refer to ourselves as quads, IMD nesters. And we thought when Abby went off to college, like, wow, we will have, life will be, we'll have so much more time, like so much more free time. We won't always be running around a tennis matches and you know, everything else and picking her up and going to her events. And ironically, it seems that we are busier now than we ever were before, because when Abby [00:03:00] was home, it seemed like, oh, well, you know, we can't do this obviously going to be home.

Speaker 3: Oh, we've got tennis on Thursday. So we're not going to do that. You know, where there was more of a routine and a schedule, which kept us at home. And now, well, sometimes we'll text Abby, we'll be out on the weekend or we'll be at a friend's house. And she's like, who are you? People? You don't go out. What are you doing? But it's fun. So we are, as I alluded to quasi empty nesters, Taylor, our oldest doubly 25 and April [00:03:30] married her high school sweetheart. Uh, last April, they both graduated from tech together. They purchased their first house already, a very nice luxury townhouse and Manassas, and they both have great jobs. So they're doing exceptionally well. And then Abby is in her freshmen semester at Virginia tech and she's having a blast. This is her second semester. First day of class will start today.

Speaker 3: And, um, she's doing exceptionally well, which is nice because [00:04:00] all your kids are different. And when Taylor first went down to tech, it's a big school and they both came from a small private school environment. And so you never know exactly how that's going to work. And I think Taylor's experiences thus far were very different than Abby's Taylor, I think had to go through a little bit of an adjustment period. And David and I started dating senior high school and he went to Elon for a year, but he would come up and visit obviously like almost every weekend. And then he transferred to tech his second year. So her experience [00:04:30] freshman year versus her remaining three years were almost night and day. And, uh, whereas Abby has been all in from day one, you know, and just loves it. So that's been kind of interesting to see. And then, um, you know, with Riley, she always keeps all of us on our toes. So, you know, Fran's doing her thing and running her to different appointments and therapies and you know, all the rest of it. So it keeps us busy, but everybody's good

Speaker 2: Fully. I want to speak about Riley in a little bit and not necessarily right. [00:05:00] The second, cause I want to get some more background for the people that are listening. He's touched on so many things we're going to talk about from education to like the introduction of a man into your daughter's life to getting married. But let's, let's start with a little bit more background on you like Fran, your wife. When, when did you guys meet, how did you meet,

Speaker 3: Uh, toward the end of high school? We were walking down the hall of Annandale high school and I was walking alongside a mutual friend of ours, Tricia Peterson. And as we passed, she said, hi Francine. She said, hi, Tricia. And we just crossed [00:05:30] paths. And I said to Trisha, who is that? And she said, oh, that's Francy Snyder. And I said, you need to introduce me to her. So if you ever hear of a love at first sight or something, it was pretty darn close to that. It was, it was eerie. Yeah. Was that a,

Speaker 2: Was that a look or was it a feeling like

Speaker 3: It was just, I mean, I just knew that I had to know that I knew I had to know her, you know, so Trish put forth and introduction and um, we started talking a little bit and, and hanging out and, uh, I was a little bit mischievous [00:06:00] and a little bit rambunctious in high school. So it didn't quite work out then. Yeah. And then we reconnected when we were both down at Radford and her roommate used to spend a lot of time over at our house, which was, um, a lot of people spend a lot of time in our house fraternity house. Wasn't a fraternity house, but it was a lot of fraternity. People even spend a lot of time at our house and it was a fun place to be there at college. And, uh, so we used to call it her friend that laid hours and stuff like that and came home for the summer [00:06:30] and, uh, walked in the door.

Speaker 3: My sister said, some girl named Francy called you, and here's your number? And I thought, I only know one Francy and she definitely would not be calling me. And she was, and it was her. And so we spent that whole summer almost every day, hanging out, grabbing lunch and meeting after work and everything else. And to some extent, the rest is history, you know? And then I remember my roommate in college, we were one night and she had come over and then she went back to our dorm and I said to him in the wee hours, I said, I'm going [00:07:00] to marry that girl. And sure enough, here we are, 25 years later this August.

Speaker 2: I absolutely love that. That's amazing. And I actually have a similar story with Sarah. I told one of her sorority sisters before we even started dating that I was going to marry that girl. Yeah. So there is something to that. Like you kind of know.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, I, I believe that for sure.

Speaker 2: Being right and being sure, knowing and being sure. Don't know if there's differences.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Well, I'd say I'm sure we'll go through [00:07:30] some details in our conversation, but I would say thus far we have certainly bucked the odds. Yes.

Speaker 2: Yeah. That's amazing. Um, no doubt. So your life then twenty-five years ago at a house that even the fraternity brothers would go to versus now sales manager. Yeah. You're, I'm looking at Dave right now and a blue button down shirt and a gorgeous tie, just all, all put together.

Speaker 3: And, uh, we had a sales meeting this morning.

Speaker 2: I need to point out [00:08:00] that you referred to your daughter's house as a luxury townhouse, only a real estate agent with,

Speaker 3: Right, right, right. I guess that's true. Well, it is nice. It's brand new, you know, and her husband works for Ryan homes. So it's a, you know, if your ability, if you've ever been into a builder's house or somebody who works for a builder, it's got a few extra bells and whistles. Let's put it this way. It's nicer than the house I live in now.

Speaker 2: Well, let's, let's, uh, stay in the history a little bit like as you and Francy got to dating. And tell me about when you got married, [00:08:30] what you were doing at the time

Speaker 3: We found out we were, uh, we were in college and found out that we were going to be expecting a baby. Yeah. And so that is certainly atypical. And so we had Taylor when we were in college and rightfully so, all of the parents were very concerned, you know, that we weren't going to finish our degrees. You know, we're so young, statistically speaking, those things don't turn out very well. The financial and emotional challenges that can go along with that, the lack of maturity, [00:09:00] you know, at the time, of course, you know, it's almost like the old saying Hyatt, hire a teenager while they still know everything. You know? I mean, you think you've, you think you've got a fair amount of things, figured out boy at our age now to be able to go back and think of what we could do then with what we know now.

Speaker 3: And of course that's an old adage, but we did. We both went back to school with our baby in tow and we both completed our degrees, which, uh, I don't think anybody thought we would. And then, um, [00:09:30] we got jobs. Fran was working at AOL and, uh, we moved back up to the area after about a year working in Roanoke, down there after we finished our degrees. And then, um, Fran was working at AOL and I started selling it to the air force, uh, with a couple different resellers. And then Abby came along six years later. So we were, life was life, was on track professionally speaking for both of us and two kids. And, you know, moving forward, lots [00:10:00] of goals that we thought, you know, we were going to be trying to achieve professionally. And then, and I don't know if I'm jumping ahead and we can bounce around, but, you know, and then Riley was born two years later.

Speaker 3: And certainly everything from that day forward in our lives, in our children's lives changed arguably for the better, in an ironic way. But in terms of the historical context, Fran no longer was able to go back to work. And then I had to figure out how to find a career where I could make a household income [00:10:30] by myself and be around a lot more, not flying all over the country to different air force bases all the time. So that was my introduction into the world of real estate, as an appraiser, and then evolved into sales. I would share one note with you, which is a little bit of a, a tangental point. You know, when our first there's, there are certain points in your life clearly that you'll never ever forget. And, um, for us, when Taylor was born, I'll never forget. We were so young and I was standing in Fairfax hospital [00:11:00] and we were in the recovery room.

Speaker 3: And I remember looking out the window down the gallows road. And I remember having this thought, which was for us, our world time was standing still. And I remember looking out and seeing all the cars coming and going and the people walking and getting on and off the bus. And I almost had this, how dare they don't they know that the world has stopped. Like this moment in time is frozen [00:11:30] for us. And it doesn't take long that just take a peek out the window and realize that life has a way of smacking you in the face with perspective. You know, as much as our world was standing still just a quick glance out the window and you can see life has just flashing right on by and for whatever strange reason, I've never forgotten that. And perspective is something that I'm sure will come up again in this conversation, because it's something that I'm keenly aware of every single day. And that's just one example, but

Speaker 2: No, but I, I say [00:12:00] to kind of piggyback on your point about, uh, being frozen in time. In that moment, I found that children are like time travel, like to blink your eyes and suddenly five years have gone by, I know your kid is however old and totally different. Of course we're all the same. We haven't made it all

Speaker 3: The beauty of it. Right.

Speaker 2: But yeah, I do want to speak to that moment because that was an inflection point for anybody, like, especially what were you, 1920?

Speaker 3: I was, let's say 23 [00:12:30] and Fran was 20, I guess. Yeah. 1919 when she was pregnant 20. Yeah. So, I mean, we were young.

Speaker 2: So that going from the, you know, the Radford college life to being a parent, like what were the most kind of significant impacts that kind of resonate with you now at that time? That

Speaker 3: The difference, even then we both knew, I mean, we were wild about one another. We knew that we wanted to be married. We [00:13:00] were not married when Taylor was born, she was born in April. We got married in August. Fran's father was terminally ill and we tried to bump the wedding up. And our bumping, the wedding up was to August as opposed to, you know, further down the road so that he could be in attendance and he didn't make it that far. But I think we both knew that we had certain goals that we wanted to achieve, even at that time, you know, having goals and ideals of working toward them was super important. [00:13:30] And the biggest one at that time was that we were bound and determined that we were going to finish our degrees. So there was no shame in how we went about it.

Speaker 3: There was, you know, there was a difference in responsibility. Certainly my grades reflected that as did my, uh, my social life, but I ended up graduating with the second highest GPA in my major and my concentration. And, um, it was a night and day difference pre Taylor and post Taylor. So in many respects, she's the best thing that [00:14:00] ever happened to us at that point. And, um, when we went back down there, we rented a little townhouse, a little bit further, several blocks off of campus where it was a little bit quieter and kind of away from some of the shenanigans. So we thought one of our neighbors ended up having a big party and he was in a fraternity and there were, you know, broken windows and the floor caved in and stuff, and this townhouse next to us. And so after that, we moved completely on the other side of town, over by the hospital and a little single family detached house.

Speaker 3: And we [00:14:30] rented that for a couple of years and finished our degrees. So, and that was great. I mean, we loved it. You know, we held a little garden, we were mowing the lawn and, you know, chopping the firewood and had a little baby running around and friends would come over from school and we would make enters at our house and stuff like that. I mean, it was a lot of fun in so many ways, you know, you think back life seems so much simpler than, yeah. But I wouldn't trade any of the ups and downs that we went through or the hardships, if you will. So the challenges along the way, [00:15:00] cause you know, they make you who you are today, but at that time in your professional life, where you feeling pretty secure at that time. Absolutely not at all in any way, shape or form.

Speaker 3: I didn't know what I was going to do. I mean, I've always had an entrepreneurial bug in me. I realized that I'm different. Like I'm not wired. Like everybody else, I can confirm that for anyone listening. Right. And their strengths and weaknesses in that. But I think that that's, I think that that's accurate. I mean, I remember being in, I don't know, sixth grade or something and subscribing [00:15:30] to entrepreneur magazine, you know, as the kid going through the neighborhood, knocking on doors. And I, you know, I think back, I can't even believe that people let me do this people being my parents and or homeowners, but you know, I'm, I'm climbing on their roofs and hanging over the edge and cleaning out their gutters and raking leaves and mowing lawns. And then that evolved even through college, running a paint contracting business. And uh, I've just always kind of been wired that way, if you will.

Speaker 3: I've never, [00:16:00] the idea of a ceiling to my opportunities is not something that has appealed to me. Uh, despite the safety and security. And obviously that's for a lot of people doing what we do is not for most people, but no, there was no safety or security coming out of college when we finished our degrees. Uh, several people I knew ended up working with this company called Equinox, which was selling water filtration units and, and health, you know, products. And it was by all intents, [00:16:30] I guess what people would categorize as a pyramid scheme if you will. Um, I didn't know that at the time. And I don't really think it was a scheme. I mean, the products were actually awesome in the water filtration. This is back in the day when people thought the idea of somebody paying for water in a bottle was preposterous, right?

Speaker 3: So these filters and everything came out and they were actually really good. Unfortunately the business model, the emphasis was on recruiting and getting people to buy inventory more so than selling product, which I think is the ultimate downfall on any [00:17:00] model like that. So no, there was no security and that was not, that was actually gangbusters right out of college that was wildly successful for a brief time. And then it became more of a struggle. And then we moved back to Northern Virginia where we thought the jobs were in the job opportunities. And, uh, that was leaving Southwest Virginia and coming back, quote unquote home. But having both gone to Annandale high school and been raised on the edge of the beltway and then having lived down in Radford for those years, [00:17:30] we knew we did not want to come back into the middle of the quote unquote rat race. Right. And so that's how we ended up out here in this area. And we've been out here since 1997, I think 98. We rented a house in Wrigleyville on a, on a farm for eight years. Now we built a house and moved in in April of 2005. And we're still there now.

Speaker 2: That's great. So what, how has that, you know, this lifestyle warranting, rixey, [inaudible], you know, more country lifestyle different than the way you grew up.

Speaker 3: [00:18:00] That's very different in, uh, in mainly at all positive ways. I mean, where we lived, you know, typical in a neighborhood, sidewalks and curbs, and we lived on a corner and a lot easier to get into, into trouble up there. And, and there's a lot, it's just the congestion and the traffic, the sort of the crime, if you only live in a good neighborhood, I mean, don't get me wrong. I mean, nice middle-class neighborhood perfectly typical, but you know, going to Annandale high school, there was a lot of stuff, [00:18:30] you know, that goes on in a big public school like that, that your parents just simply aren't aware of. And, uh, whether it's, you know, drugs or violence, we had gone through a merger right before then, at my time when Thomas Jefferson became the, uh, Jefferson science and high-tech school. And so there was some redistricting that took place, which impacted the school pretty significantly.

Speaker 3: And there were some pretty tense years there. And, uh, you know, it was a place where frankly, you know, so to some [00:19:00] extent you had to watch your back a little bit. And um, out here, you know, when you put your blinker on, when we moved out here, people would slow down a wave, you over, not speed up and close the gap, you know, out here half the time, it seems like people don't even, you know, you meet clients, they don't lock, their doors are locked their car. I'm not saying that everybody should do that, but it's just a different, it's a different way of living. You know, I

Speaker 2: Only lock my door when I'm in the long and foster parking

Speaker 3: As well. You should. But, uh, it's, it's just different. I mean, we [00:19:30] like it out here specifically for raising kids. You know, it's like, this is an environment it's family friendly, anything we need in DC or Northern Virginia. I mean, we can get to in 45 minutes to an hour. Um, so, so we have access to all of the benefits of living in Northern Virginia without having to live in Northern Virginia. And that was something that appealed to us in a big way. And then being able to raise your kids in an environment out here, you know, sometimes they would complain that it's boring or there's nothing to do, but for us,

Speaker 2: So worked. So that was a deliberate part [00:20:00] of your decision-making was this is a superior place in our opinion, to raise children. Now question. So would you say that your growing up in a more kind of urban environment had any advantages that your kids didn't or, and then the, my next question will be disadvantages.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So just typical growing up as a kid stuff, I mean, you know, my best friend through high school lived four doors down, right? I mean, there is lake I could take as a park, right. There was probably nine houses [00:20:30] from where I lived on the corner. So we would go ride our bikes around the park all the time, or, you know, the school bus stop was on the corner of my house, you know, so there'd be 10, 15 kids in the corner of my front yard every day. That's a little different, you know, so, so the proximity both good and bad, you know, I mean, you could sneak out at night and go find trouble if you were, if so inclined or, you know, out here, it's, you know, we live on 11 acres in the middle of the woods. Like there's [00:21:00] not a lot of that kind of stuff going on, you know, and I think really sounds like a being maybe overly negative about our experience or Annandale, but so I'm sure we'll lead into this a little bit, but I think it ties in.

Speaker 3: So I went to St. Stephens in, um, basically third grade, third grade through eighth grade in Alexandria, and then went to public school through high school. So I had a pretty unique perspective on the differences between public and private school and my local neighborhood and the kids and everything else versus [00:21:30] some of the others. So having kids on my own, I wanted to provide them what I thought was the best environment to give them the environment would give them the best chance of success. And I did not feel that that was the same exposure where I had grown up in the neighborhood and those schools and kind of the stuff that I saw. I mean, you know, we saw some, I think it was pretty scary stuff, you know, some of the fist fights in [00:22:00] the hall or at a party or at a football game or whatever.

Speaker 3: And it was like, oh my, yeah. You know, I mean, there was some pretty serious stuff that went on and, um, I didn't want my kids being a part of that. I didn't even really want them exposed to that. Now, ironically, most of the people that I was friends with through Annandale are very successful and, you know, they've gone on and achieved great things and stuff like that. So it's not, it's not terrible, but you know what I mean? It's just different. So, uh, yeah, it was very deliberate that we felt that [00:22:30] this was a great place to raise kids.

Speaker 2: So we talked a little bit about the difference in, you know, city versus country growing up, uh, with your experience in raising your kids out in the country. What about like, time-wise, you know, the, the period of history within which your kids grew up and the way you grew up, like, can you think of any advantages or disadvantages that you had being a child of, you know, you were elementary, middle and high school versus your kids?

Speaker 3: Well, I think the biggest difference is obviously going to be technology, [00:23:00] right. And even little things like, as you know, I used to try and when the, I think I was the first one in our neighborhood that had Frogger and I won it by selling the most magazine subscriptions. And I did that by just relentlessly going around, knocking on doors. Can you imagine today that environment, like, I mean, I'm a father of three daughters, but even if I had a son, like, there's no chance I'm sending my son randomly out after school or coming back and after dark doing [00:23:30] nothing but knocking on doors. That's crazy. Now when I say it out loud, no, I mean, I don't know. I didn't think so. I mean, I wasn't the only one that wanted, I was allowed to do it. I did it, but I mean, back then, it was just like, you know, I mean, like I could take just hop on my bike and go ride all the way around the park in the woods.

Speaker 2: What's the difference now? Like why, why do we not feel as calm? Cause I did the same thing as a kid and door to door selling, wrapping paper and candy bars and stuff.

Speaker 3: Well, so I don't want to take you down a, uh, [00:24:00] uh, a dark hole of, of getting into politics and everything else, but I would submit to you that it's a very, very, very different time than we live in. I F I feel like when we were growing up, I think things are far more divisive than I ever remember them being. Yeah. I think that there are certainly pros and cons to technology, but I think the biggest thing of all is there's just, and this is an overgeneralization, but in a lot of areas, there's a tremendous lack of respect for [00:24:30] everything for one another for life, you know, when you see the violence and things

Speaker 2: That's related to technology

Speaker 3: Well, so I think the thing, I think where technology impacts is the speed with which information can move now is unlike anything we've ever seen before. So whether it's people are so quick to form opinions and without facts or without context, and that's dangerous. Yeah. And, uh, and it doesn't take much of a spark [00:25:00] to light a fire today. So I think that that is a negative consequence, you know, let alone social media and cyber bullying and, you know, things like that, that didn't exist. You know, I mean, you passed a note in class, right. To the girl that you liked or whatever. I mean, now it's like, you know, some of the stuff that goes on and the texting and the, I mean, it's devastating. And some of that stuff's out there for life. You get a sixth, seventh, eighth grade boy or girl [00:25:30] to send something that can be hugely impactful for forever, potentially forever. But I mean, on their psyche and everything else that really, I don't really think that existed when we were kids. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Did you kids have like iPads and stuff in high school? Just try and

Speaker 3: Because they were that's because we're the service we're like strict parents. Right. So now

Speaker 2: Tell me about the strangeness associated

Speaker 3: With it. Now, our kids [00:26:00] were not spoiled, or I would say spoiled, whatever. Now our kids did not have all the latest, greatest I-pads and smartphones and all the rest of it, you know, that came later on. I mean, they, it evolved, but we were never on board with the idea of just whatever the latest, greatest gadget was. Our kids had to have it. Yeah. Which was oftentimes a challenge for them because, you know, going to a small private school, a lot of their kids had all of that stuff. And then some, yeah. So, you know, then they would come home and say, wow, you know, I want such [00:26:30] and such, or how come I can't have such and such, you know, as we said, so, yeah,

Speaker 2: That's fine. Actually, that, that boundary the, uh, the relationship, the hierarchy parent and kid is one that I'm interested to really talk with you about because you've confessed to me that people would accuse you of being overly stretched. So I'd be curious to know your perspective as a, as a parent, what the purpose of strictness is and how you instituted it. Like, what were your, [00:27:00] I hate to use the word punishment, but what, what kind of punishment that you use to keep the kids in the boundaries you expected them to be?

Speaker 3: I don't really think we did much in the way of punishment and it's all about perspective, right? So we don't, we don't really think that we're strict until you come until you compare to the way somebody else does something. And then I guess by that standard, you might be considered strict. We're not a fan of what we refer to in our house is free range parenting, [00:27:30] you know, and, uh, it's to each their own. I mean, everybody raised the, you know, do their own thing. Life is not a competition, so it's not a, my kids better than your kid, you know, kind of thing. But that said, if we were to look at the results, that, and the activities and the things that our kids have done versus, you know, some kids that had a lot more freedom and flexibility with the things that they were able to do, I would, I, to some extent, I might say the results speak for themselves.

Speaker 3: I mean, our kids weren't [00:28:00] into the same types of things and getting into trouble and stuff like that, that some of their peers were, and they both did well academically and athletically. And they both continued to do well. They were both very involved in community service early on. They both had jobs early on. I mean, as soon as they were old enough to get a worker's permit, they were expected to have a job. Yeah. I realized that's not normal, I guess. You know, and, and there's a lot of counterarguments [00:28:30] to that. I'm sure we would get to this too, but having, um, and we've told them from day one, so it's no surprise, but it's interesting to us, the reaction we get from other parents sometimes, but both of our kids have to pay for their own college. And, um, we've told them that pretty much from day one.

Speaker 3: And we put both of them through private school, kindergarten through 12th. So that's 13 years, times, two kids. That's, you know, it's 26 years of, of, uh, private school [00:29:00] tuition. So we feel like we have given them an incredible foundation from which the world is their oyster and it's up to them to make the most of it. So we don't feel bad about having them do that. And, um, I mean, Abby just went off to Virginia tech this year with over $20,000 in her checking account money that she earned. Well, she was given $5,000 from the grandparents. So over $15,000 of her earnings. And when I say [00:29:30] her earnings, that's scooping ice cream at Coldstone for whatever, seven 50 an hour, that's working the front desk at Chestnut forks, that's waiting tables over at Harry's, that's babysitting that's dog sitting. That's, you know, that's doing everything that the kid can do to scrape together her money and then having the financial discipline to save the money, knowing that she has, you know, tuition to pay for and 20 grand.

Speaker 3: I mean, what's that get you one year at a PA at a public college? You know what I mean? Some of those, some of these private schools are 60,000 [00:30:00] plus, you know, a year. And, um, so I think that there's a lot of lessons about that along the way. So in terms of where we strict, you know, I don't know. I guess when, you know, we coached, I coached two travel soccer teams for a long time, uh, Taylor, all the way through, from the beginning to the end and same thing with Abby's. So we had a lot of exposure to a lot of families and, and, you know, got to see a lot of different kids and their results and you know, how they achieve, whether it's athletically, academically, [00:30:30] whether it's socially and, you know, some kids did really, really well. And some kids, it was, it was a struggle, you know, from all totally different backgrounds. But the one commonality that we noticed was by and large, you know, the influence that the parenting. So here's something we say all the time. We are big believers that the word parent is a verb, not just announced.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. You've told that to me before, and I appreciate that a lot,

Speaker 3: But you, you can go to [00:31:00] any restaurant, take your kids and go to our restaurant tonight, sit there for an hour. They won't take you long to see people that don't seem like they subscribe to that philosophy or that they're not aware of that

Speaker 2: That's found in conversations with people, the approach with which people take parenting is often a result of the way that they grew up either as 180 degree flip so that they don't have what I had, or, you know, to try to do the same thing their parents [00:31:30] said with them. Um, would you share, you know, kind of how your being a child and parenting affected or impacted your,

Speaker 3: So my parents, you know, my mom had me young and, uh, never went to college. My dad went to university of Richmond for a couple of years and then dropped out. And they both, the greatest example they both provided was their work ethic. I mean, they worked, they worked their tails off and [00:32:00] we were, I guess, looking back and I don't know what a sociology professor would put us, but I would say we were probably lower middle class. You know, we didn't necessarily do without, but we also didn't have much in the way of extra anything, you know, but we were certainly provided for, you know, loving environment and all of that. My dad worked all the time. It seemed like, and my mom, same thing. I mean, she had a full-time job. She worked all the time. [00:32:30] So we had the opportunities. But when I was at St Stephens, Alexandria, you know, we lived in Woodbridge at one point, then we moved to Springfield.

Speaker 3: You know, school is 30 minutes away from you. So there was no after, after school baseball or after-school football or afterschool basketball with two exceptions. One year, our last year in Woodbridge, I was able to play youth football there. And then I think one season I was able to play winter basketball when we moved to Springfield, but I didn't have [00:33:00] those same opportunities that a lot of the, basically that all the other kids in the neighborhood had because I went to this private school and, um, looking back as a parent, it's easy to see the decision my parents were making. They were trying to provide me an above average opportunity through attending the school, which, you know, when you're in fifth and sixth grade, and you're just being a little pain in the rear end, you're not quite recognizing that, you know? And, um, [00:33:30] so there was, and then, you know, through high school and stuff then going, so leaving that environment and going to public high school was a big difference a night and day difference.

Speaker 3: And then, you know, first couple of years there were great that solid foundation and education from private school transferred over. And I was in some of the advanced classes and stuff. And, uh, that was good. But then as the years went by, I started to, you know, have a little more fun and a little more fun and a little more fun. And I think that certainly put a strange relationship on with me and my parents. [00:34:00] Yeah. Which I understand, you know, I would take responsibility for that because, you know, I was difficult to deal with in high school. You still

Speaker 2: Are opinions,

Speaker 3: But, you know, in fairness to them, I mean, they provided, that's all we can do. We all want better for our kids. And all you can do is provide an environment that you think that gives them the best opportunity, the best chance of success, or an opportunity to Excel in. And at some point it's going to be up to the kid to make the most of that opportunity. And some kids like myself, [00:34:30] you know, realize that later versus earlier, and some kids might realize it earlier versus later, and some kids might never realize it at all.

Speaker 2: I did a journaling exercise the other day. And for the first time kind of realized that opportunity is really the big thing I want to provide as a parent. Like you said, you know, I want them to do what I do and I want him to be like I am or what the truth is. The only thing I can control is the opportunities that they [00:35:00] have in front of them. And that's been recently my, my pivot to inspire them, to take action and provide them the opportunities with which they can choose to take action on.

Speaker 3: And truthfully, that's not much different than how I view my role here in the office with all the agents, you know, I mean, try and provide the structure and the environment and the training to give them the best opportunity at the end of the day, they're the ones that have to go make the most of it. And some of them will and some of them won't. And then I recognize [00:35:30] that and you know, I'm okay with that. I know that that's not on me per se.

Speaker 2: Well, I'm going to make a hard tangent in the conversation. I want to talk about Riley. Tell me, tell me, tell us about, uh, Riley. She has special needs.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So she, she, her diagnosis, if you will, uh, her, what she has is a Cardi syndrome, which is something that, of course nobody's ever heard of because at the time I think there were 500 known, [00:36:00] diagnosed cases in the world. And, um, it carries with it, a host of other issues, namely being, uh, ACC, which is aging is of Corpus callosum, which means she was born missing the main bundle of nerves that connects the right and left side of the brain. So she doesn't have one it's like being born without a finger and it's not going to grow, you know, so that, and then there are all kinds of other, there's some skeletal abnormalities with, you know, she has some butterflying [00:36:30] of some of our ribs and, you know, development things. And there's a wide range of spectrum. If you will, of kids that have this, a Cardi syndrome in terms of their functional abilities.

Speaker 3: But the pregnancy, you know, pregnancy was completely normal. Delivery was completely normal. Everything was normal. Birth was completely normal. And about an hour after she was born, unbeknownst to us, she stopped breathing. And then thank God the nurse was in the room and the nurse basically just whisked [00:37:00] her whole crib contraption out of the room, said, dad, come with me, grabbed me by the arm and just tore us out of the room and Franz left sitting there, not knowing, having any idea what's going on. And, um, I think we spent 12 days in the NICU in Fairfax and they don't just come and say, oh, your child has a Cardi. You know, it was, uh, a long process. It took several months for them to actually figure out the full diagnosis and, uh, a doctor with not the best bedside manner came [00:37:30] in and told Fran and I what she had and that 95% of the kids with her condition don't make it past the age of six or seven, then properly left the room.

Speaker 3: So we are, you know, left there with more questions than answers, not knowing what, what we're even looking at. And the worst thing you can do is get on the internet, right. And play doctor. So of course we did that because that's a good idea. And most of what you see on there, it doesn't give you the warm [00:38:00] fuzzies. So there was a lot to take in and a lot to deal with. But she, um, when she was real young, I mean, so, so her condition, she doesn't, she's now 16 years old, she'll be 17 in March. She doesn't walk her talk. She really can't use the right side. Uh, very much like she can't use her right hand or right arm very much. She could use her left. She used to be able to what we call scooch. Cause she used to be able to scoot around on the ground.

Speaker 3: And you know, [00:38:30] she does have cognitive ability. She can let you know if she's happy or sad for sure. And she can play with toys and she has favorite toys and there certain sensory things that she likes and certain things that are, that really capture her attention. So you learn all of these things and they have changed. She had a major back surgery because she had scoliosis that if I showed you the x-ray, doesn't even look like it's human. Yeah. Before the surgery. And they had to, um, put two metal rods. I mean, to the point where she was [00:39:00] so bent over, it was crushing her, starting to crush our organs and affecting organ development. So it wasn't a, like the need for surgery was a critical need for surgery. And so they put two rods in and I think she's got, I don't know, 32 screws and umpteen wires and the sun and the other that keep her basically straight up.

Speaker 3: Well, since then, she doesn't, uh, she can't scoot around on the floor anymore, but she's still, you know, she has her favorite, uh, types of toys, which are mainly things that make noise and, [00:39:30] or that as I make this, everybody can see when I'm like this crinkle paper, things that are texture, whether it's different balls, um, things like that, things that light up. So if you put her bag of toys next to her, she'll reach over to them. She'll knock them over. She'll pick out her favorite. She'll play with them. She'll throw them. Yeah. You put it back, she'll play with it again. She'll throw it again, you know? Yeah. All on her left side. So her, you know, in terms of her ability to function, it is limited. Many kids with her condition [00:40:00] are fed through an IgE tube. We don't have that. Although the gastroenterologist has, uh, several times suggested that.

Speaker 3: And my wife is adamant against that because eating is one of the few things that she can do. And Fran's not willing to strip her of that. Now, when I say eating sheets, mashed potatoes and like a Gerber strawberry banana oatmeal. Yeah. That's the extent of her diet and then pedia shore. So when I say it's limited, that's your diet. [00:40:30] And, um, you know, Fran has to put her in a special high chair saying that we have, and will you have to hold her left hand because she always wants to put it in her face. It's like a century texture thing and Fran will have to feed her like you would treat a baby, you know? So we refer to our affection are big baby.

Speaker 2: Well with a cartese you had two children on the ground already. Uh, I guess they would've been 12 and six or something.

Speaker 3: [00:41:00] Yeah. Abby, well, no, Abby and Riley are two years apart and Taylor was eight. I think when Riley was born, I think Abby was six. I'm sorry. I think Taylor was eight. Abby was

Speaker 2: So for the benefit of anybody who might during pregnancy or after birth realized that their child is going to have special needs. Yeah. Let's say the first two or three years, could you kind of help set some expectations on what that does to the,

Speaker 3: My dynamic? Yeah. So, well, we didn't know [00:41:30] until after she was born. Right. So I can't speak to what that would be like, planning ahead of how we're going to deal with this. You know, this is one of those deals, um, like many things in life. It's, you know, you take it one day at a time, it's all you can do. And, uh, you know, you ask Fran something several. She says, I don't know. I can't think past tomorrow, like for us, it's literally one day at a time and there's a certain uncertainty that we live with knowing that she's, you know, [00:42:00] 16 going on 17 and, uh, that's kind of a weird thing to live with, you know, you can imagine, and yeah, but you know, so again, that's you do things one day at a time. How did, how did Riley's welcoming into your family affect your kids?

Speaker 3: Well, Abby was two. So I don't think she necessarily knew, you know, any different, she's always been incredibly. I think it's impacted them both tremendously, uh, [00:42:30] as they've grown up, but for Abby, she's always been so loving and, and so compassionate. And I don't know that she's that same person without these challenges. And Taylor is also very loving and compassionate, but Taylor was a little bit older. So I think the adjustment, I think there was more of an adjustment for Taylor. Abby was too. So she kind of grew up not knowing any different, you know, Taylor was eight, [00:43:00] so she was old enough that it, it was very different for her, you know, and I'm sure she could probably answer better than I, about how, you know, to some extent how that impacted her, but you know, it wasn't, there was a lot of sacrifices to be made by the whole family, just in terms of, I mean the biggest, one of all, you've got two parents with, you know, career paths and trajectory looked good and, you know, working at AOL and I'm selling it and you know, you think life's going to be a certain way.

Speaker 3: And then all of a sudden, [00:43:30] you know, there are no guarantees and then you've got to figure it out all by yourself and you gotta be around a lot more like, how are you going to do that? You know? And so certain opportunities for the kids we wanted to always make sure. And this is, um, you know, just giving thought some thought since you originally asked me about doing this, you know, there are certain things that, again, I realize we don't think like everybody else and you know, we've done some things that would arguably be crazy, [00:44:00] but we've done them for our kids. So some of the sacrifices that we have made along the way we never wanted, despite the challenges that we had to deal with with Riley, we didn't want that to limit what Taylor and Abby could do. So whether that was, you know, playing soccer or travel soccer or Taylor playing AAU basketball or whatever it was, you know, Riley was just always Intel, you know, with a couple exceptions along the way of, you know, some periods of medical [00:44:30] stress, if you will, where she couldn't be there.

Speaker 3: But the kids, we didn't, I don't know if we achieved it or not, but our objective was always to afford them the same opportunities that they would otherwise have in terms of activities and stuff. So we, you know, we always did that. Now. I say that, you know, when Abby's given a speech in high school and the rice theater, you know, we're either in the very, very back row or sometimes Fran is just outside. The rice theater was Riley and her stroller. And they would put on the little TV so that Frank could watch it too, [00:45:00] because we couldn't be in the theater because she might start making noises or acting up or something like that. You know, when we go to restaurants, uh, growing up, you know, we have to, what restaurant we go to and what time we go is all, it's all about what's Riley friendly, what's Riley conducive.

Speaker 3: So there are places that we can't go with her. One of yours, of mine, favorite restaurants in town is Claire's well, that's not exactly a Riley friendly place, you know, so we, if we want to go there for my birthday, which is in July, [00:45:30] we will go early. Like when they open and we will sit on the back patio where we can bring her in and out by the caboose, we can't bring her through the front door. And even if we could, the tables and everything is so close together, you can't fit her in there with a wheelchair. You know, we can't go to Outback on a Friday night at seven. O'clock like, that's not an option for us. So maybe we would go to Longhorn at four o'clock or four 30, you know, before it gets crowded. And then our, [00:46:00] even within the restaurants, there are certain tables that we know that are conducive, where we can get her in and get her out.

Speaker 3: So the kids have always grown up with those sorts of, I want to say challenges, but in awareness, if you will, and you know, they're not deprived of opportunities to go out. It's just that we have to do it a little bit differently, you know, but I think that, I think that they would tell you, I hope that they would tell you, and I know that Fran and I were very deliberate about it. We did everything we could to try and make sure that they had every [00:46:30] opportunity that they would otherwise have, that the impact to them in terms of their opportunities was not going to be felt, or at least minimize to the as great as we could minimize it. Yeah. And I think that we, I think that we achieved that. I mean, we didn't, you know, we didn't take ski vacations and stuff like that because you can't do that. That's not Riley conducive, but you know, I think we've done okay with it,

Speaker 2: For, for anyone that you've mentioned, you know, when you find out you have a child that has special needs like that, and it [00:47:00] automatically turns your expectations to the future around, I got to believe that that was traumatic in the sense that my life's already kind of planned in my head. Now it's total blank slate. Like anyone's staring at that as a prospect. Do you have any advice for somebody on how you kind of manage through that?

Speaker 3: And it's a little bit of a reset and, um, you know, I always hear people talk about, you know, [00:47:30] different life circumstances and they say, you know, I guess some people say that everything happens for a reason. Some people say, all you can do is one day at a time, you know, for us, the re you know, people will say, woe is me, or why me, why did this happen to us? And some people would say, oh, well, you know, so-and-so is so great. They never asked why me, why that never happened. I find that hard to believe. Yeah. I think that it's only natural to, [00:48:00] I have a little bit of what is going on and why is this happening now? You can't dwell on that. That's not going to get you any farther in the future. I remember we had a health scare with Taylor when she was a freshman in college and we got a call.

Speaker 3: They thought she had meningitis, which she did not, but they thought that she did. And we got up, we got the call that basically says, you need to get down here right now. And we, so we did what you do. And we rushed down there. And, um, I do remember talking to a friend of mine on the phone at that time. And, [00:48:30] and just saying, I refused to believe that she had that just blanket refused. And they're like, well, why were you so adamant? And I said, cause there's no way that God, like we already have this challenge. There's no way that God would put that on us. There's just, I just refuse to believe it. I don't know whether that's just completely naive or why I felt that way, but I just refused to believe it. So I guess I try and tie that back into what would parents do, you know, trying to figure [00:49:00] out why me is pointless.

Speaker 3: That doesn't matter. It is what it is. You know, it's one of the things that I've learned kind of as I've gotten older professionally and personally, that has been a great asset to me is trying not to basically trying to focus on that, which I can control and not that which I can't control. Right? So Brandon, I can't control that Riley was born with the condition that she's born with, but what we can control is what we do about it or how we handle it, that's within [00:49:30] our control. So I would encourage any parent who has a child with special needs, you know, focus on that, which you can control and then take it one day at a time and you do the best you can with it. And it's not, there is no blueprint and there's no right or wrong per se. You know, I mean, you do what you think is best for you and your family and that child to, you know, continue to give your family unit the greatest chance of success and to do everything [00:50:00] you can for that child along the way.

Speaker 3: You know, so Taylor, we had not this summer, I guess, about a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago now summers ago, Fran and Riley spent 19 days of the month of June in the hospital in Fairfax hospital. And, um, that's not our first trip like that, but yeah. Um, but this one was weird because they couldn't the whole time. They couldn't figure out what was going on. So it was a little bit scary and long and short as she had an allergic to an antibiotic. So it seems silly that something so small [00:50:30] could have been such a deal, but anyway, where I'm going with this is unbeknownst to us Taylor during that time, uh, took it upon herself to apply for a Make-A-Wish trip for Riley. And, um, so our family vacation last summer, I say vacation in quotes. Cause it's not that we plan for a vacation, but it was fun.

Speaker 3: It was cool. We went down to Atlanta, Georgia to the Georgia aquarium because one of the things that we have discovered through time is that Riley [00:51:00] loves aquariums. She loves, you can put her real heart right up to the big tank and she will just sit there and watch the fish and the sharks and stuff go by. You could leave her there for hours. She's mesmerized by it. So the Georgia aquarium is the second largest aquarium in the world and they have this tunnel that goes underneath and everything. And you're just basically in the middle of this tank, how how'd you feel watching her look at all that it was amazing. I mean, it was absolutely amazing to see. So what can you do about [00:51:30] it as a parent? You know, you provide that, you do everything you can for your family, and then you provide opportunities specific to that child as best you can.

Speaker 3: And that whole trip was all about her. And so while that's not what I would pick for a family vacation, it wasn't about me or what I would pick. It was about her, you know, and it was really such a great thing that Taylor did putting that together. And, um, it was amazing. I mean, the pictures that we have and everything, I mean, she is absolutely in awe and [00:52:00] um, so the girls are already plotting to try and do like a big 18th birthday party for her. And they said, oh, we should have it on an aquarium. And one of the cool things is, I mean, it it's the second largest aquarium in the world, so it's kind of a big deal. And because it was through Make-A-Wish and everything, we were able to go, I think it was for 30 minutes or maybe an hour before they opened and have like special private tour and private access, like this whole bubble tunnel thing.

Speaker 3: We were the only ones in there for like a half hour. And it was really neat. And then we did stuff the rest of the day, we had [00:52:30] seemingly strangers coming up to us. They were diverse. They were in there feeding the animals and they were like, oh, you guys were the ones down in the tunnel this morning. We saw you, oh, she looked like she was having so much fun. And she was laughing and the look on her face and everything and the pictures, you know, they say a picture's worth a thousand words, but the, and I'm sure you saw some of them on Facebook and stuff, the pictures of her during that trip. And during that time were unbelievable, you know? Cause there are certain things that don't do a lot for her, you know, interestingly with her condition. [00:53:00] So I said that she has seizures every day.

Speaker 3: So the, the slightest thing, just to consent her into a seizure, if you're at a restaurant, somebody drops a plate. If a quiet restaurant, somebody drops a plate where he drops a fork on the table and it hits a plate that can send her into a seizure. If we pick out a frying pan out of the cabinet too loud, and it Jostle's the other pants that can put her into a seizure. So we are conditioned. So where Fran and I could be at a restaurant and somebody drops a plate, we both kind of cringe. [00:53:30] And it's like, Ugh, because we're so conditioned about that. Interestingly white noise. So if we're in a busy restaurant where it's really loud and there's people everywhere and somebody drops a plate that won't even impact her because she just it's, it's not a startling noise. So we took her when we were in Atlanta on this trip to Georgia aquarium, we took her to an Atlanta Braves game to a professional baseball game and we were apprehensive about, and she doesn't [00:54:00] know cognitive ability to follow the game of baseball.

Speaker 3: Sure. But, um, you know, we used to take her to Highland basketball games and stuff like that. Sometimes we'd have to cover her ears with the buzzer or water that the buzzer was coming by making noises ahead of time so that it was more like white noise. She loved it. The sounds, the ballpark, the fireworks, the big screen, all the lights, she thought the bear man was hysterical because you it's a handicap seating and the guys coming up and down the stairs and she's on the top at the top of the stairs and on the right-hand side. And every time he would yell bare man air [00:54:30] man, like she thought that was funny. So she's laughing and having a great time. So it's interesting, you pick up on these different things that resonate with her that would not resonate with anybody else. And you know, you try and highlight those and you try and make those things available to her.

Speaker 3: And um, but it's very different. You know, the motivations and stuff are very different. And then, you know, we just took Abby back down to school this weekend and we went to a basketball game at, uh, Virginia tech wake [00:55:00] forest game. Well, if we were to have taken Riley for this weekend for this trip, now it's a whole production for us to do something like that. Sure. You know, we had to call France parents to come out and watch Briley during the day on Friday till Taylor could get off of work. And then Taylor and David have to come over after work. And then they stayed Friday and Saturday night till we could get back Sunday. So there's a lot of logistical pieces and doing that. If we were to have tried to take Riley on that trip, we wouldn't have been able to stay in the Airbnb that we stayed in because of the stairs.

Speaker 3: Um, we wouldn't have [00:55:30] been able to sit in the seats that we sat in at the basketball game because they're not handicap accessible. We would have had to make special arrangements through the athletic department to get handicap seating. And oh, by the way, whenever you can get handicap seating, you're only allowed one accessibility partner. So we are a family of the, that case. There was three of us down there for either was there, it would have been four. So that would've meant one person would sit with Riley than then two other people would sit over in these other seats, wherever you could get them. So there's just weird things like that that you need to consider that you would not otherwise [00:56:00] have to consider for us. It's our normal. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I mean, let me, let me jump in real quick. I want to ask another question for the benefit of parents. So are there like communities of parents of special needs that can relate to each other and talk to each other, like maybe when Riley was first born, did you get introduced to other parents of children

Speaker 3: Cardi a little bit. I mean, Riley's condition a cardia so rare, you know, that it's very few and far between there was a specialist that ironically was in Fairfax [00:56:30] hospital. He's now in Boston, but people used to, from up and down the east coast come to see him. We did go meet one other family whose child had it, but a very, very mild version of it. I mean, this girl was running around up and down stairs chasing her brother. So where's the one with the Aicardi and Riley was just an infant. Um, was that helpful? Nonetheless? It was, it was interesting because it was so different than where we were, but again, she was an infant in our case. I almost, I don't know if false [00:57:00] optimism is the right word, but you almost thought, well, maybe she could be like that someday, or Riley's never going to be that like that level of functioning, you know, would you recommend to special needs parents something to help them recognize really?

Speaker 3: Haven't done a lot of that. There is a Cardi conference each year. We've never gone. Fran doesn't do much in the way of like support group type stuff. I mean, there are certain services available through the county or whatever, and certain programs that Riley's in, where there are certain mandates where somebody [00:57:30] I'll have to come for a house visit once a month or whatever, things like that. But it's not something that we have done that we have a lot of experience with. I don't think it's a bad thing. You know what I mean? I think that conceptually it's certainly a good idea, but it's not something that we've taken much advantage of. I can't speak to it, but with such intelligence, I will say one thought was, everybody's always amazed. And Fran does. I mean, train someone that does it all. You know, I sent her a jokey thing on Facebook or whatever I saw on it said about a mom's job is [00:58:00] something like, oh, you know, you work eight hours, 10 hours, 12 hours a day.

Speaker 3: Like lucky you, because mom's hours are from what our eyes are open to when her eyes are closed and Fran replied back and she said, and in the middle of the night, these are, these things are true. Right. Because Riley will still get up in the middle of the night, sometimes crying and stuff. And it is true. So Fran is the one that does everything, you know, for Riley. I mean really. And uh, so people always say, I don't know how you guys do it. I don't know how you guys do it. And there was a time when I don't want to say Frank took [00:58:30] offense to that, but she didn't like, when people would say, I don't know how you guys do it because in her mind it was like, how do you not do it? Yeah. I mean, that's just what you do.

Speaker 3: Yeah. And so that I bring that up because that's our norm. And so I think any family dealing with any thing, like special needs or having a child with special needs, is it different? Yeah. Is it impactful, but it becomes your norm, like anything else? So for us, you know, that's our norm, [00:59:00] even people looking at you funny when you're in the store, you know what we're pushing Riley through the stroll and France gone through several iterations of strollers and they always have to be red because she says we're known around town as the red stroller. So whether it's on the Greenway where we're walking or at eighth year at Safeway or at Walmart or whatever, or don't as the red stroller, but you even get used to the looks that people give you. Yeah. You know, because people look especially little, little kids, you know what I mean, little kids they stare and because they don't [00:59:30] there, it's not computing to them. Sure. Why is this teenager being treated like a baby or have a pinky clip to her? You know, that kind of thing. But for us, it's our norm. So we just, you know,

Speaker 2: You get used to it. I've always known you to just do it.

Speaker 3: Yeah. There's no, what's the alternative. Well,

Speaker 2: Let's another hard pivot. Yeah. Let's get into some super short answers and then we go super, super short answers. And like I kind of a light 42, [01:00:00] Like that. I'm not, am I supposed to put, give the answer to your question? Okay. So is there something about your kids that you're proud of?

Speaker 3: Uh, just about everything. Yeah.

Speaker 2: What is something you're particularly proud

Speaker 3: Of both of their work ethic?

Speaker 2: What is a milestone that you've had as a dad that pops into your head?

Speaker 3: Uh, milestone as a dad? I would probably have to say Taylor's wedding was, you know, certainly a milestone as a dad. I mean, as a father [01:00:30] of a daughter, you know, that's a day that you always see off in the, in the future. And then, uh, so not only really, I guess that's the one that jumps out because not just Taylor and getting married, but the entire event and seeing Abby's participation in that as a bridesmaid and seeing her give her speech and seen what Fran did with Briley and how she was done up and how she was able to participate in the ceremony and everything. And it was pretty cool.

Speaker 2: So with that in mind, from raising your children [01:01:00] to now them being, uh, you know, more or less adults, particularly Taylor married in, in a luxury town home, right. Has your role to tailor, how do you see that changing your role as a dad?

Speaker 3: I think that you, I hope, I think that you become more of a friend and more of a consultant. That's not the right word, but it's less parenting and more just discussions, you know, [01:01:30] be more, I mean, consult is probably not the right word, but that's the word that comes to mind, you know? So winner winner a big issues, whether it's promotion or job or problem she's having at work or when they were going through their house stuff or, you know, just whatever

Speaker 2: Guidance or counseling.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, it was just talking things through and trying to point out the potential pitfalls or the pros and cons and how to analyze a situation, looking at the pros and cons and, um, you know, just longer deeper [01:02:00] talks probably, you know, I mean, we spend a lot of time together because we'd go down to the football games and stuff like that. So we'll be tailgating. Or we went to the military bowl and Annapolis and you know, we, she and David and I probably spent two hours sitting by the fire and just talking.

Speaker 2: That's wonderful. And I think that's Richard Branson, I think was Richard Branson said, um, I will have succeeded if, as a parent, if my kids like me when they're adults. Right.

Speaker 3: So they have fun too. Cause they don't want to admit that their dad's cool. [01:02:30] We have fun. We dance in the timeouts, in the stadium and stuff like that. Sometimes we're like, dad, seriously,

Speaker 2: What's an attribute of yours as a father that you're proud of.

Speaker 3: I hope I'll probably, I would probably say work ethic. You know, I mean, if there's one thing that I could, you know, we could point to all kinds of highs and lows and we've been through them, you know, financially and professionally and everything else. Um, but through it all, I don't think that anybody could say that [01:03:00] I didn't work my tail off. And I think that that above all has hopefully served as a great example to them that you're going to have highs and lows. You're going to have challenges. And the best advice I could give them is to just work your way through it. You don't have to be the smartest guy in the room. And if you are, you're in the wrong room, but you know, if you can work harder than everybody else in the room, you're going to, you're going to get, you're going to make it wherever you're trying to go.

Speaker 2: What [01:03:30] are three adjectives you would use to describe somebody that might be a super dad,

Speaker 3: Certainly loving or caring to some extent ambitious. And it's more of a phrase than an adjective, but I would say, you know, having integrity, like it's, it's great to have the work ethic. It's great to have the ambition. It's great to do all that stuff, but if you do it without integrity, then I would submit to you. You've, you've defeated the whole purpose. You've done the opposite of what you hope to achieve.

Speaker 2: [01:04:00] What are some things or what is one thing that's on your not to do list as a dad?

Speaker 3: Well, I don't think you ever want to let your kids down. I don't know. You know, that can take many shapes and sizes, but no matter what, as a father, you don't want to let your kids down.

Speaker 2: What gift would you give to all the dads? If you could give a gift to every dad on the planet, what gift would you give them?

Speaker 3: Like of like a material gift, a physical gift of wisdom,

Speaker 2: Wherever [01:04:30] your mind goes?

Speaker 3: Well, you know, I like to read which unfortunately I haven't had as much time to do. I think that I would, and I've said this to my daughters because I give them these books or I suggest titles to them. And they're like, whatever, you know, but ironically, Taylor's in a book club initial say, do you have a copy of, so matter of fact, I did read his Marty peanuts. I would be inclined to say my collection of books. I said to them, if something happened to me [01:05:00] that they, instead of fighting over who got what collection that takes some of the money and replicate the collection, they could each have a full, a full, full collection of all the books I've read.

Speaker 2: Well, that's a great segue into asking you this question. If your professional and parent life was a book, what's the name of two or three chapters

Speaker 3: Get back up. Cause you're gonna fall like get back up would be one of them, probably see the future would be another one, you know, [01:05:30] about looking forward and having goals and goal setting. And then I would have to have one, you know, not to borrow the phrase from Nike, which has also a great book on that, that I should tell you about. But, uh, at some point you just gotta do it, you know? So probably just do it

Speaker 2: Your greatest fear as a

Speaker 3: Dad. I mean that says it right there. Am I on

Speaker 2: Don't wish for it, work for it. Be too much for some people.

Speaker 3: No, not that I know. This [01:06:00] is a segue, but I'll make it brief. That is one of my favorite signs. And I have sent that to both of my daughters and they gave that to me for Christmas. And it says you will be too much for some people. Those aren't your people as a father of daughters in particular, looking to carve their way into the world.

Speaker 2: I love that. I like that a lot. It resonates more and more. The more I read, the more I think about my kids

Speaker 3: Is that what, I'm sorry, what was the question? Greatest

Speaker 2: Fear as a father,

Speaker 3: That probably that my influence on my kids [01:06:30] is not like wasn't enough, like the positive influence. So you try and have on your children if it wasn't enough. So based on really, I guess the decisions they make and the people that they become, if I was to look back on that and they struggled in those areas, I don't know how I wouldn't have to look in the mirror and say, my, my influence wasn't enough.

Speaker 2: What's the greatest hope you have for your

Speaker 3: Children. Oh, that [01:07:00] they've just achieved the best, you know, that they achieved their maximum potential, which is, you know, none of us will ever do that. We're all a work in progress, but that as long as they are continually striving for that, I want them to have freedom. I want them to have choices. I don't want them to go through the struggles financially and stuff professionally, personally, that we have gone through per se, but that's part of the process. So they're still going to have to have their bumps along the way.

Speaker 2: It resonates heavily [01:07:30] with me who is a TV dad that you like.

Speaker 3: So the sarcastic part of me would immediately jumped a red foreman. Right.

Speaker 2: I don't know. Oh yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3: Right, right, right, right. So, you know, I always liked to watch Andy Griffith and I always thought that his, uh, the way that he would try and impart his words of wisdom on Opie was fun. Um, I don't even know about leave it to beaver. They don't even show that anymore. Ward Cleaver. [01:08:00] What a great dad.

Speaker 2: This is one of my favorite questions that Tim Ferriss asks his guests, except that of course change it to apply to this. If you had a billboard on 95 and all the dads on the planet were driving north and south could read billboard and you could just populate it with one message. Advice to dads,

Speaker 3: Advice to dads on a billboard

Speaker 2: That's fit on a billboard, gotta read it at 80 miles an hour, driving back. That's an

Speaker 3: Interesting question.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I love [01:08:30] it.

Speaker 3: Well, the one that I'd like to have more thought on a billboard for dads lead by example.

Speaker 2: Perfect. All right. This is my last question. This is recorded. It may last forever. So your kids, their kids, their kids, their kids may listen to this, right. Would you like to say something to them?

Speaker 3: You know, I think that when you get old, [01:09:00] certainly for all of us, you get older, you get wiser Fran. And I just talked about this on Sunday on the drive back, we hope that at some point your kids will look back and understand and appreciate everything you tried to do for them.

Speaker 2: You want anything unprompted? No more questions.

Speaker 3: No, that's good. This has

Speaker 2: Kept you for another two hours, [01:09:30] but yeah.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Well, I mean, there's, you know, there's so many, there's so many different topics on the general thing of how to dad or how to be a father, how to be a parent, you know, some of the struggles that you go through, you're going to make mistakes. You're going to have challenges. Riley obviously is, was it presents unique set of circumstances for our family to deal with, but I would submit to you that I wouldn't, I'm sure I wouldn't be the father that I am. If it wasn't for her, I'm sure Fran and I wouldn't be the, [01:10:00] the husband and wife or the mother and father that we are without her. And I don't think that my, the Taylor and Abby would be who they are without the influence on her. I mean, the, you know, the, uh, how involved they are, you know, Taylor is now a wish granter for Make-A-Wish David for, I have two cases, you know, Abby has always been involved in this top. Soccer was won a national award for it, one kid in the entire [01:10:30] country for her volunteer efforts and stuff, hundreds and hundreds of hours of volunteer work. I don't know that Taylor and Abby are those kids, if it wasn't for Riley. So while some people might look at a situation or, you know, circumstances like that and think that it's a tremendous challenge and oh my God. Oh my God. Yeah, there are challenges with it. But the upsides far outweigh the challenging sides. Yeah. So anyway,

Speaker 2: This is fun. They [01:11:00] had a lot of fun, Dave. I really appreciate your taking the time to do it.

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