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Learning to Dad with Tyler Ross 015 - Ronnie Ross

Speaker 2: Hello. Welcome to learning [00:00:30] to dad. This is Tyler Ross and my guest today is Ronny Ross, no relation, but I wish relation maybe back in the family tree.

Speaker 3: So many, I think if you go far enough back, maybe you'll find something

Speaker 2: And then a good scotch Irish blood or

Speaker 3: Something. Exactly. Campbellton Scotland.

Speaker 2: So a and through, I know our people came in through a literal Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Speaker 3: Oh yeah. So, uh, Southwest Pennsylvania is where we're from dairy farmers, coal miners, coal miners, steel workers. Yeah. Worked [00:01:00] on the railroads as well. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Yeah. That's awesome. But uh, well, we're here because you know, the point of the podcast is to talk to people that, you know, I believe are thoughtful and deliberate and honest in the things that, and that they've been successful in their professional life. Cause I think that those are the type of people that are thoughtful and deliberate in their personal life, especially when it comes to raising kids. Yeah. There's no pamphlet on how to raise your kid or my kid. It turns

Speaker 3: Out they're all different

Speaker 2: Than what a, what a thing. [00:01:30] Yeah. I appreciate your coming and taking time to, to be with me.

Speaker 3: Yeah, my pleasure. We're actually on spring break this week, I teach high school. And so it's nice to get in, get early, got a little workout in this morning. Drop the boy off at daycare. And here we are.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Brighton early, still so much day left. Yeah. So we've talked before I admire your ability as a teacher so much, my sister was in your class and she says, you know, that looking back how [00:02:00] difficult your class was, but that you were definitely one of the best teachers and educators that you know she's ever had.

Speaker 3: Well, thank you. And it turns out just like, there's no pamphlet on how to be a dad. There's no pamphlet on how to be a teacher. Malcolm Gladwell has this really great article on and people feel different ways about Malcolm Gladwell, but it's how teachers are like NFL quarterbacks. And the idea is it's really hard to scout a good one because there's just not preparation that translates well. [00:02:30] So, uh, I know we're learning how to dad today, but there's lots of pamphlets. I'd love to figure out how to run.

Speaker 2: No, I think that's awesome. And that, because that's so important too, and it's a similar way. You're a leader. Like you're a leader to your kids, you're a leader to your classroom and in those kids, and I know we've socialized together a lot. And listening to you talk about being a teacher is unlike listening to so many people talk about their professional, do it with such enthusiasm and passion. And I just appreciate it so much [00:03:00] that I had a sister that had you, I would have loved to have had teacher.

Speaker 3: Yeah, well, yeah. Thanks. I mean, it's the best, right? I mean, there, there are a few professions where your job is to take someone and help them get better at a thing that that's what I'm doing. I teach English and I'm teaching them how to be better readers and writers and thinkers. And it's just incredible. And the fact that I get paid to do it is, you know, really, and sometimes mindblowing

Speaker 2: And it's and you have, uh, you, uh, you have a title at Highland. What is, what is that? I found it just [00:03:30] like, it, it suits you perfectly.

Speaker 3: So I am well actually I have to some of the freshmen Dean and I'm also the English department chair. And so I oversee both of those. I've coached 28 sports seasons there, which is fantastic. One for state championships in sports. I didn't play in high school, which is great because it shows that these skills are translatable from sport to sport. And so the sport, I won a state championships in with soccer and I'm actually quite terrible at soccer, but I think that made me a better coach because I was more empathetic [00:04:00] to the athletes when they didn't get it. That's why, you know, I think Michael Jordan probably isn't a great coach because he just gets it. Yeah,

Speaker 2: Sure. That makes perfect sense to me. And you going back to coaching, you come from a line of coaching, like let's talk a little bit about your growing up and what the leaders in your life were like.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So I grew up in Ohio on, in the Appalachian area, Southeast Ohio, both of my parents were teachers. My dad taught history. My mom was [00:04:30] a speech and language pathologist, which is great because I had a speech impediment whenever I was young. And I couldn't say my R's

Speaker 2: For Ronnie Ross. That's

Speaker 3: Taught [inaudible]. He got made fun of a lot, but luckily mom, mom helped me over that. And my dad was a basketball coach. And so I grew up in the gym. Yeah. And watching him the way he led those young men on his team, what was such a formative experience for me, I'm actually Ronnie Ross, the third named after my dad, who's [00:05:00] named after my grandpa. And there's a certain, I think pressure that comes from that legacy. Whenever those are men who you respect so so much, uh, my grandpa right, has a high school education and busted his butt to raise eight kids. One of my aunts, he w one of my aunts is really special needs. She's pretty significantly physically and mentally handicapped. And to see the way my grandpa and my grandma brought those all eight of them still like each other, which is remarkable.

Speaker 3: And so to see that, and then my dad [00:05:30] himself, he has a really severe Crohn's disease. He has about two feet of intestine left and he's in pain pretty frequently. And so one of my values has always been this idea of mental toughness. And I think he instilled that from a young age, because I believe if you have that, if you have that grit, then that's something that'll help get you through life because life can be really hard. And so whenever I think about my own son and how I want to raise my own son, that's at the top of the table and not cheap toughness, not the kind of fake [00:06:00] masculinity that so many people trade in, but a real backbone, a real sense of his values and how he can lean on them to get them through tough situations. And I think that's what my heroes, my, my parents have taught me.

Speaker 2: That's amazing. That resonates so much with me because so much of my reading lately has been centered around vulnerability, masculinity, and grit. And I had conversations about this all the time. And like the context of our lives is so different than, you know, [00:06:30] our parents and their parents that grit almost seems harder to come by, like building a kid that has resilience or coaching a group of young men or women to have resilience seems hard these days. You find that to be the case.

Speaker 3: Well, that's why sports are so great is they allow us to practice these skills in an environment where the stakes aren't as high as life. And that, you know, it's so important. I think for kids to be in an organization like that, because it gives them the chance [00:07:00] to succeed and fail, and they're basically practicing at it for life. Um, is it harder to teach it nowadays? No. You just have the kids won't care and won't do what you ask until they know that you care. And so to me, I think people sometimes want to go in and be like, I'm going to be a tough coach. I'm going to, we're going to break them down and then build them up. Well, that's never going to work. The first thing you have to do is build a relationship. And once they know you're all in, man, kids will run through [00:07:30] a wall for you, you know, but, but it takes that initial investment. So I don't think it's harder. I think it takes, it just takes the work upfront.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. And I know, I know you to be very gritty. I've known you long enough, and I know that you play collegiate football.

Speaker 3: I played that for two years. That was, it was

Speaker 2: Awesome. They had one of, one of the great lines that I'm sure you were quoting someone else, if not, you deserve great credit for it. But, uh, it was football in a lot of ways is moving another person against their will. [00:08:00] Is that

Speaker 3: Yeah, I heard that. So, um, I heard that at a hall of fame speech and he said, yeah, the best part of football is taking a man and moving them two feet backwards against as well. I was an offensive lineman. Believe it or not. I was, I was 2 85. I was the, um, our, really one of our smallest offensive linemen. I'm not anymore because, uh, I picked up running and like Forrest Gump, I started and I never stopped, I think. But yeah. And, and that's, I mean, I think about the sport taught me so much and obviously football in today's culture. There's a lot of conversations [00:08:30] around concussions and head injuries and things like that. And certainly my body hurts from the sport of broken most the bones in my hand. I mean, that's just how it happens, but the lessons from the sport are invaluable. And the friendships I made along the way, there nothing like sweating through two-a-days to, to build a bond with someone else. You know,

Speaker 2: It couldn't be more true. I had all the memories that I look back on in like high school and college. So many of them centered around sports and intermurals, the feeling of winning and losing, and the idea that you get [00:09:00] so much out of failing, like you were talking about losing, building grit in that way and looking back on yourself, figuring out how to,

Speaker 3: Yeah. And I actually used to teach a leadership class and one of our big units was learning from failure. And because failure, I think in some ways can be fine. As long as you learn it, it's it's whenever you don't take those lessons away. And I actually brought in a Marine who commanded people in Iraq and lost, lost people in battle to help teach that unit. Because [00:09:30] if he is able to learn from failure, when the stakes are literal human lives, then I think we can learn from failure in the classroom. We can learn from failure on the basketball court and the kids always responded so well that unit, yeah. You got to learn though. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Tell me about like you, you graduated from college and you, did you, uh, major in education? Was that your intent from the get-go?

Speaker 3: Um, whenever I was in high school, I thought I wanted to be some [00:10:00] kind of physiological psychologist working with people with personality disorders. And I went into college thinking that turns out I really hated chemistry class. I hated three hour labs and I hated my teacher, but at the same time I was in English 1 0 1. Uh, and I love my teacher and I'm like, okay know, I'll never forget the phone call to my parents. And I said, so mom, dad, I think I want a double major in English and philosophy. And they were like, excuse me. Uh, and I said, yeah, I love [00:10:30] it. And they said, okay. And they sat down and we talked through the job prospects, and this is what you can expect to do. And this is maybe what you can expect to earn. And daddy, I was like, are you still all in?

Speaker 3: And I said, yeah. Uh, and so I graduated in the middle of the great recession. I graduated in 2009. The year I graduated college, uh, only 20% of graduating seniors nationwide had a job offer before graduation. I received my job offer from Highland, uh, the day before I graduated and it was the best graduation [00:11:00] gift anyone could get, you know, I guess it wasn't a gift. Right. I feel like I worked really hard for that. So I came out here, I followed a job and a girl, I still have the job. I have a much better girl who I'm now married to have a son with. But yeah, I, I never thought I would fall into this. I'm so glad I have, because turns out I really, really love it. But yeah, if you had asked even freshman year of college, Ronnie, what are you going to do? I would, I would not have said this. So actually what I did then is I went back and I got a master's of science and education from U Penn because [00:11:30] I had these subject area degrees, but I wanted to continue to learn how to teach. And I had done some professional development up at Columbia and the whole theory behind that was content knowledge, and charisma only get you so far in the classroom. You better know how to do it too. And so that, that's what I pursued. Then at the master's level.

Speaker 2: What point in your professional career life did you have a child?

Speaker 3: So little Ronnie is a year and a half old. So, uh, just actually over a year and a half old. So I [00:12:00] had been into my job for over eight years. By that point, I, one of the things you find with, I think our generation is people put off having kids owning homes a little bit until they have a greater sense of financial stability. And having a kid is expensive, we paid 1265 a month in daycare. And so we wanted to make sure we were set. We were ready to go. Uh, whenever, whenever we had Ronnie. So yeah, I was eight years in. I lived in the area for eight years. I loved it. I knew I wanted to raise my kid out here in [00:12:30] the, in the Piedmont. Right. I, um, I grew up in the Hills. I want to raise my kid in the Hills.

Speaker 2: No, that's perfect. I'm right there with you. I couldn't go. I, I can keep wanting to get further and further out into the,

Speaker 3: No, it's the best I saw on the, my way to, to drop Ronnie off at daycare yesterday. I saw a bald Eagle just flying around. Right. It's an amazing,

Speaker 2: Yeah. So, and we'll get into your running for Virginia state Senate. Yeah. But 18 months ago when you had little Ronnie, like what, what do you think is the biggest difference in your professional [00:13:00] approach between like life is Ronnie Ross without a child and life of Rodney Ross as a dad? Like, did that change your perception of the way you go about your, your work?

Speaker 3: Yeah. I think it gave me a greater sense of empathy for the students. I think I still hold them accountable really well. And I think I still hold the line, but yeah, every night, whenever you go home and you see that kid and you know, the way you feel about that kid is how all, hopefully all their parents feel about them. Then every interaction with that kid, I think [00:13:30] becomes a more empathetic one. I think that's probably the biggest way other than, um, you know, the distinct lack of sleep I'm running on in my professional life and how much coffee I need to, I need to have to, to, to keep up. But yeah, I think it's, it hasn't softened my approach to teaching, but it's made it much more understanding.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Okay. So did was, was Ronnie's birth part of what inspired you to run for Senate?

Speaker 3: Yeah, I mean, I think having a kid has a great [00:14:00] way of focusing and sharpening what you want to get out of life, what you want to do out of life, right? I'm a firm believer that you always want to leave something better off than you found it. And, uh, whether that's a classroom full of kids, whether that's your, your neighborhood. And for me, I started to look farther and farther outward. I began to really worry about even the planet. We were, we were leaving Ronnie. I mean, what was that going to look like? What what's the school system going to look like? And that might be a little selfish, [00:14:30] right? That, that one of the things that instigated me to run was thinking about my own kids' future. But then I began to realize, well, there's so many kids to worry about. And there's so many of us currently here to worry about.

Speaker 3: Uh, and I'll never, I'll never forget the moment it had been half I'd been the, the local party had been recruiting me to run for awhile. And I was driving in the car one day with my wife. We, my, my son was in the back of his car seat two months old and we were listening to something on the radio and I was complaining. I don't know. And Josie [00:15:00] looks over, Josie is my wife. She looks over at me and she goes, Ron. And I know when she calls me Ron, I'm in trouble because I it's always wrong. Right. She goes, she goes, Ron, for the love of God, stop complaining and do something. I am so sick of it. And I said, Joe's, uh, what do you want me to do? Right. I vote, I volunteered. I try to make my communities better. And she looked at me and she said, you're running for office.

Speaker 3: And I said, excuse me. I w w I think I looked over at her. I know I should have my eyes on the road, but I think I look over at her. I said, we have a two month old baby. What, [00:15:30] what in God's name do you want me to do? And, and I'll never forget what she said. So, so my goal Tyler was to marry someone who was both smarter than me and better looking than me. Uh, and I think I did both of that. I agree. So if that's true, I should listen to them. Right. And here's what Josie said. She said, here's what you need to understand when it gets hard. And it's going to be very, very hard. I will always have your back. And you can always just look in your son's eyes. I thought, okay. So every night, whenever I get home, if it's 11:00 PM, if it's, [00:16:00] if it's midnight, I always go in and check on him in his room because, you know, it gives you that energy to keep,

Speaker 2: This is the best, isn't it? We, we stared our sleeping kids every night. Yeah. So is there anything in particular that, you know, in addition to wanting to try and create this better world, that your kid's going to live in the, any particular, uh, topic or, or platform that really speaks to you?

Speaker 3: Yeah. So the slogan for our campaign is together. We can [00:16:30] do better. And the reason we chose that is because there's so much, I love about Virginia right now. It's where I'm going to have my family, but there are things we can do better as a teacher. I think about education a lot by, by some metrics. Virginia has the 12th best economy in the United States when you line up the states, but our PR, but our per pupil funding ranks anywhere from 34th to 42nd. Wow. And that seems really out of whack to me until this most recent governor's budget, since 2005, our public school teachers had lost 10% of their income and inflation adjusted numbers [00:17:00] while paying more for their benefits. That's not going to attract the best and brightest to the profession if you can't live on it. Right. Right. You have all kinds of stories about Fauquier county teachers, either not able to live in Fauquier county, uh, or having to live with so many roommates or staying with their parents or things like that. So that's important to me, the environment is deeply important to me. I'm someone who loves to be outdoors. I hike, I camp a lot, right. I think of myself as an outdoors man. Um, and I want to make sure my son can [00:17:30] inherit the same plant and I have. So there's some things that the general assembly we need to do, uh, with solar power, for instance, right now we regulate how much solar you can put on your house. I'd love to, it's

Speaker 2: Insane. We regulate how much you're allowed to put on your

Speaker 3: House. Right. It seems like it's, it's even a property rights issue. Like it's my property. You know, you can't have offsite solar right now. So there's some things I would like to do to open that up. You know, I'd like to look at offshore wind. Uh, right now we pay, we have two offshore wind mills. We pay 74 cents per megawatt hour. Massachusetts only pays 21 cents [00:18:00] per megawatt hour for their off shore winds. There's some things to look at there. And then ultimately, an a place I think a lot of our listeners are going to be able to, to really empathize is healthcare is a huge issue for me. Sure. My family growing up, we had so many issues and without my parents good healthcare, we would have went bankrupt several times over. And I'm deeply grateful for that. I know from my situation, I have a chronic condition. My wife does as well. Healthcare is expensive and access is hard. And so [00:18:30] there's so much to work on there from thinking about telemedicine for the future. But for telemedicine, you got to have broadband at your house. Right. All right. So, yeah. So it's an answer. That's kind of a long winded way. Tyler of saying there are so many things to do, but for me, education environment, health care are one, two and three.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Awesome. Well, I'm going to, I want to back up a little bit, because we were, you had mentioned something about adding value, feeling selfish, and that's something I've been trying to reconcile. You know, the idea of like, like this podcast, like [00:19:00] I selfishly want to learn how to be a better dad, selfishly want to talk to really cool people. But at the same time, I feel like it's a way I can add value. And like you've selfishly pursued, wanting to be a teacher. And at the same time you've made this incredible impact on hundreds of kids. So like, do you think about that in your head? Like, am I being selfish or am I adding value or is the, or, and, and, and is that okay?

Speaker 3: Yeah, I think that's deeply, okay. Selfishness can be really great motivation for things. [00:19:30] Right. We just have to make sure it doesn't get out of control. I mean, you think about all the jobs who have been that have been created by a really wonderful entrepreneurs because they wanted to develop this thing or they wanted money to lead to their own financial freedom and along the way, uh, they created all these opportunities for other people. So yeah, I do think selfishness can be a really great motivation to lead for good. It just can't go unchecked. Right. Because it can also lead to some really bad things. And you think about the robber barons back in the day and things like that. [00:20:00] I think part of it, right as a I'm pretty religious, I'm a pretty, uh, faith-filled man. Uh, and one of the things about my Christianity, I think grounds man is to be aware of putting others first. And so selfish motivations had always kind of rings that bell, right? So am I doing this for me? Or am I then going to help make things better?

Speaker 2: Um, I liked the a 49 51 ruling, as long as you're giving 51 and taking 49, you're still a producer in our economy, in our, you know, energetics [00:20:30] in our love and whatever it is.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Well, I mean, think about your profession, right? You are a realtor and you go into that for particular selfish reasons, but you're helping people find houses and then they'll turn those houses into homes and they'll have so many great memories there and you help them get to that point where they're going to a place they love. And it came out of maybe selfish motivations, but now you've helped people find a place that they can really fall in love with.

Speaker 2: Yeah, totally. And I've struggled with that selfishness versus adding that value. And I wanted to scale it, like I'm [00:21:00] helping one family or one person, you know, maybe three or four at a time, maybe 40 or 50 a year. Like how do I, you know, they say the new millionaire, billionaires, the person that positively impacts millions or billions of PTs. And so like, how do we scale that

Speaker 3: When I think also that's why it's important. I have a really great team around you and team. That's not afraid to give you honest feedback and maybe it's your partner. My wife is a great member of my team, my campaign manager, she's a 20 year Marine vet. So she has no problem giving me feedback. Um, so [00:21:30] whenever you're doing something, they're just, you know, let, making sure that 51 49 is there. And as long as you have people in your life who are willing to be honest with you, I think you're in a good position. Yeah. Which actually has to do with childbearing too. Right. Most definitely.

Speaker 2: Most definitely. So speaking of, that's kind of the point of the conversation that we're having to some extent, but, uh, you know, like what do you feel like your role is to your son as a dad?

Speaker 3: I mean, so many things that are, that are so hard to articulate, [00:22:00] especially cause he's younger. I guess I'm going to go big picture. Think about as he's growing up. I mean, one is to be a role model. I want to be someone that he can look up to and that he can be proud of. Another one is to teach him or help to, I guess, instill my values, even in politics, policy comes out of value. Sure. Yeah. And so, anyway, right. And so I mentioned earlier this idea of grit and mental toughness, but also kindness, [00:22:30] compassion, empathy, a sense of equality, a sense of justice T shelving to show him where those things are important. One of the things I've learned teaching is that kids actually like boundaries. They like knowing where that edge is now they'll push against it. Right. Yeah. And they'll, but they like knowing where that edge is. So part of my job too, is to show him where those boundaries are, um, whether it's in his behavior or, or in other things. But right now, if we're getting down to brass tacks, I guess [00:23:00] my job is changing when he needs change, feed him when he's hungry, uh, helped to entertain him, we're working on. So he really likes balls. Um, and so he kicks a lot with his right foot. So we're working on the left foot.

Speaker 2: [inaudible]

Speaker 3: I know, I know. So, you know, things like that or, or read to them, right. We just went to, um, you know, the new bookstore opened in old town Warrington. Uh, and so he picked out grumpy monkey as his book. And so, you know, we read to him, right? Yeah. So it was kind of a winding answer to your question, [00:23:30] but it's man, there's just, there's so much to do as a father

Speaker 2: Isn't there. And as a teacher, do you feel like that's kind of equipped you in a way differently than a non teacher might be equipped to be a parent?

Speaker 3: I often joke. I think I'll have a better sense of him as a teenager than I do now because I teach teenagers. So I have a little bit of a sense, and I know of course yours is always going to be different. I think what's equipped me is I know professionally how to cause learning. And so that's helped me whenever we're [00:24:00] working on talking or we're working on like skills or kicking a ball is literally the job of my profession is to cause learning to happen. It's a, it's a science. I mean, it's an art, but it's also a science. And so because I've been able to pull back some of that and say, oh, this is how our brains learn. I think that's helped me raise my kid. I just have to make sure whenever we're kicking with our left foot, that I remember he's a year and a half.

Speaker 2: So I do find you have to I've over the years, I've [00:24:30] known you to be a very intense competitor. And do you feel, do you feel like you've kind of come off that intensity a little bit or do you think you're still like right there having to hold it in? Like reminding yourself, like we're Ronnie's 18 months,

Speaker 3: I'm still, I'm still pretty competitive. We have, we have some other little neighborhood kids and I'm always like, oh, how's this going to go? You know? And they were like, and I'm like, so settle down. He's he's a year and a half old. Uh, but my wife is tremendous for that. But even like, you know, we'll be wanting to climb something and I'm like, keep climbing Ron. And she's like, he's going to hurt [00:25:00] himself. And then he's going to learn, right. That's feedback. That's immediate feedback whenever he falls down.

Speaker 2: Right. Cause

Speaker 3: To learn. Uh, and then, and then what she'll say is that's fine, but then you're dealing with that immediate feedback whenever he's bleeding or crying, that's the trade-off

Speaker 2: Well, uh, I'm being interested to get your spin on, uh, education because you're so well experienced. Like maybe from a grander scheme, we can talk about like how you see education changing [00:25:30] and then, you know, the way that it makes sense to you in today's, you know, 2019 context of how you foresee Ronnie's education looking as it gets older.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So I think one of the really smart things that's happening in education right now is it's becoming more skills-based and let's content based. That doesn't mean, so one of the things that really annoys me is whenever people say you don't have to memorize anything, that's really, really untrue because the way learning happens, the simplest model we have is you take information in your environment and in your short term memory, [00:26:00] you hook it to information in your long-term memory. And so if you don't have things memorized in, in your long-term memory, you can't do anything in your short-term memory, right? Like there's just nothing to hook to. And so you have to have a lot, you have to have things memorized. That's why I still give assessments that are memorization it's important. But what we've realized as the world develops as the world changes as the careers, our kids are going to have don't even exist.

Speaker 3: Maybe now, whenever they think about podcasting, when did that, you know, that's a newer skill, but skills are translatable. And so as we think about teaching them, things [00:26:30] like critical thinking, critical reading, how to write, how to communicate the soft skills, scientific thinking, which is different from a, it's a different kind of thinking. I think that's a really smart way to go about it. Um, also with education, we've tried to be more project based because it's this idea you learn when you're iterative, you learn when you're doing things with real stakes and real outcomes. Um, I think about, if I am doing a test what's not really authentic, right? Who's the audience for the test? Why am I performing on this test? What's the point. But if I'm doing projects, [00:27:00] working in teams, working collaboratively with things, well, then that becomes a much better reflection of what you're doing in life.

Speaker 3: And so I think that's a positive thing where I think Virginia really needs to go. And the research bears this out is to early childhood education. Um, we have one of the best collegiate systems in the nation. It's probably us in California, right. Or one or two, and I would give it to us. So, but we don't have a universal pre-K system here, which is really problematic [00:27:30] in a lot of ways because early childhood learning sets the stage for later learning it also incidentally allows parents back into the workforce faster. And so it has economic positive economic outcomes, but I think that's the next move for Virginia. Some states do Florida does DC has universal pre-K for instance. But yeah, it's so important because I think about my mom's job as someone who works with people, little kids that age three-year-olds will come to her a year and a half behind. Right. And [00:28:00] wow. And so that not only is problematic for the kid itself, but it's problematic for the community because I want my community before really thoughtful people who can contribute to our democracy, uh, and can get jobs that will be meaningful for them and contribute to the economic robustness of our area. And so, yeah, whenever I think education is moving some really great directions, but I think we need to think more about how we make early childhood education, more accessible to more people.

Speaker 2: Interesting. So [00:28:30] I don't know if this is a fair question to ask you, but if you could wave a magic wand and, and lay out little Ronnie's education from here through high school, like what's that look like?

Speaker 3: So, um, it would start with pre-K with reasonable class sizes and then you move on to K right? You move through that. I think one of the things that's really important is keeping class size reasonable. For instance, at the high school level, we know even with a master teacher, any class that's over 25, people is going to have negative [00:29:00] educational outcomes. Wow. Because it's just a teacher can't teach a class that size. He's also going to be at a preschool and kindergarten where he's dirty, where he's outside. Loudon county actually just increased how much recess they're allowed to have, which is great. They used to only be able to have 15 minutes of recess a day. It's up to 30 minutes. Kids need to play. They need to be outdoors. I am hyper competitive Tyler. Um, I got my masters from an Ivy league school, but dear God, let kids play.

Speaker 3: Let them have fun. Um, not every minute of every day [00:29:30] needs to be scheduled learning because there's so much you can learn outside too. And so I think his, especially his, his elementary school experience would have a lot of that. He would be to a lot of different kinds of kids from different backgrounds because in today's world, you better have cultural fluency. You better be able to interact with people who are different from you. And so I'd love that to start from a young age, his learning a second language would start in elementary school. I'd love him to learn Spanish. Mandarin is really [00:30:00] important too. Um, but yeah, definitely Spanish, uh, in middle school. So we know children's attitudes about education solidify in middle school. So I want him to have a middle school experience. We as teachers, he loves and cares about him and starts to develop that love of school.

Speaker 3: Uh, I want them to require some, a reading every summer. You need to read six to 10 books in order to not slide back on your reading that you picked up during the air. So I want that required summer reading, but I want them, him to be able to pick what he reads, because [00:30:30] choice is super important. So it was kind of a disjointed answered your question, but I want them to play. I want them to have fun. I want him to learn languages. I wanted to meet different people. I want them to like school.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I'm, I'm totally with you. I, I feel like whatever jobs are existing now, if that's the end goal, if that's part of the purpose of education, which of course there are many other purposes, but like the jobs that our kids are going to have probably don't exist yet. So our kids needs, need to love to learn [00:31:00] how to learn.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Oh, it's the best, you know, they say our, our generation will have seven careers over the course of their life, not jobs, careers. And I can only imagine what it's going to be for our children. And so they need to have that flexibility. They need to love to learn. Yeah. Which is why I listen to so many podcasts because I'm always driving them, trying to learn.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that, that, I mean, not to get political with a political candidate, but that's something that, you know, regardless of your politics, I, I admire your desire to [00:31:30] constantly be learning how many times we've had conversations, where you've cited something from a book that you're reading now, or that you've read a hundred times already. Always, always impresses me. I appreciate it.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, you can learn from anyone. I think about all that. You've taught me from your expertise. I don't know real estate, but you do nothing I'm willing to listen. I can learn some things. Yeah.

Speaker 2: And I think that's probably an important part of education is that every single person on the planet has a uniqueness about them from which they can express something that you don't know or that you can learn from.

Speaker 3: [00:32:00] And it requires a humility on your part. I think, to be able to listen

Speaker 2: Perfectly perfectly said, I think, and that's something I'm trying to keep in, check

Speaker 3: Off. We're always working on things, right. We're always working

Speaker 2: So more about being a dad. I could talk to you about education or we could do a whole new podcast on education, but, um, I'd be interested. Uh, we'll get into kind of like what's, what's a quality of yours as a father that you're particularly proud of

Speaker 3: [00:32:30] My willingness to constantly be surprised by my own son. Yeah. And my willingness to, to experience wonder, I think wonder is such an important thing to have in life. Whether you climb a mountain and you look out and you go, wow. But my willingness to, to look, you know, look at my son and the first time he said, please, I was like, oh my God. Yeah. That, that to me is the thing I'm the most proud of because I think oftentimes love can [00:33:00] also be rooted in wonder and surprise. And you know, every day when it can feel the same, okay, get up, change the diaper, eat breakfast, take them to daycare, go to work, pick them up, finding those little moments of surprise and wonder and, and being willing to be surprised at just how magical your kid is. Yeah. I think that's really important.

Speaker 2: I might suggest to you that, to be available to that wander, you have to be super present. You can't be thinking about the hundred other things [00:33:30] that you have going on, your coaching, your, your, your relationship, your, your Senate run. Like. So is there anything in particular you do to like stay grounded when you're around your son or to be present?

Speaker 3: So one is actually believe it or not. My campaign manager schedules, family time on my calendar. And that's great. Cause that's, I know that's all I'm supposed to be doing then. So when I look at my day on my calendar, every hour or half hour is regimented. And so she schedules workout time for me. And she schedules family time for me. And [00:34:00] that's one because I know I'm not supposed to be grading essays for work or answering emails or talking to folks that that helps me stay present. And also earlier we talked about that feedback. My wife, if I'm, you know, if I pull up my phone to do something, she'll say, Hey, Ronnie, let's play, let's play with your son in her giving me that feedback helps. And also he's just kind of cool. And so I like being around, you know, are you just kind of a cool dude?

Speaker 2: Well, somebody, if you, um, if you haven't heard of them already, [00:34:30] I think somebody that you would really enjoy is Jason Silva. Are you familiar with them? He's like a modern day philosopher that, you know, cast this wide net of ideas and brings them all in together to his own little thing. He's got a YouTube channel called shots of awe. And his whole thing is we need to be available to be in or seek out experiences. I had a guest actually suggest to me that, you know, all the things he had done into his twenties and thirties, that once he had a kid, he could do those things again and experience the awe because [00:35:00] he's seeing them through his kids' eyes.

Speaker 3: Oh my, I, I, the first time we, I went hiking with Ronnie, I was like, oh my God, can you imagine when he thinks about that waterfall, you know, cause how many waterfalls have we seen in our life? But then this is the first one Ronnie seen. And I'm just like, oh my God. Or the first time you went into snow, just to watch him figure out what is this? And snow's really cool if you think about how weird and wonderful snow is, it's just, yeah, you could get so surprised and the world's pretty great.

Speaker 2: We've, we've [00:35:30] conditioned ourselves to not appreciate it, any it, but I think kids bring you to that a little bit. Yeah. That's so cool. So what's, what's one of your, what's your greatest hope for, for Ronnie

Speaker 3: That he finds something he loves and he does it. I'm going to say something a little bit controversial. Maybe I think, I think happiness is overrated. Um, I think people who base their lives around being happy, uh, and we actually have good research that backs us up often find themselves really unhappy, but people who base their lives around meaning [00:36:00] end up being quite happy. And so what I hope for, for Ronnie is that he finds something that helps him make meaning out of his life and he's able to pursue and do that thing and love that thing. And I think everything else will come from it. It doesn't just have to be one thing, you know, I get meaning from my faith. I get meaning from my family. I get meaning from my work that I think more than anything else that that's what I hope for for him.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I love that. I think that's a wonderful answer. No, no controversy on this side of the table. [00:36:30] Uh, so as a, as a dad, what do you feel like you're preparing your son for

Speaker 3: Life is really hard. And so I think part of it is I'm preparing him for the resilience that life requires. I love life. It is wonderful. We talked about surprise at all, but there are moments that are really, really hard. And so preparing him for that and part of her in him for that is letting him know that it's okay to ask for help. In fact, sometimes it's necessary to ask for help. Uh, you know, we've talked a lot about grit, but part of being gritty is saying I'm not embarrassed [00:37:00] to go seek the help I need. And so I'm preparing him for that. I'm also preparing him to enter a world that he doesn't know and to try to navigate it and make sense of it. And so, uh, I think those two things are the things that I most frequently think about. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I had a conversation this morning with a 92 year old German lady who, you know, uh, probably, and we had just got to talking and she [00:37:30] in her German accent was talking about being 14 or 15 years old during world war two in Berlin. And that she was so fortunate that the soldiers there who were raping the people around them, that they could obviously identify that she was not, she was wanting to be left alone, I guess she was German or whatever. And she went on to continue about like, compared that to today [00:38:00] and went on to talk about, I don't know if I I'm so glad I grew up in that time, as opposed to this time going, that sounds crazy. Like she preferred to grow up in as miserable in a world that was like, she said, she'd be scared to have kids in today's world. Like the context of that just blew my mind. So I wonder, like, do you feel like there's an advantage or disadvantage to the context that you grew up in the era that you grew up in versus today? Like what did some of the differences that you think about

Speaker 3: The biggest [00:38:30] advantage is we didn't have smartphones and I think that's so clear.

Speaker 2: That's an advantage to us that we did

Speaker 3: Not exactly that, you know, we grew up with the internet, the internet wasn't there whenever we grew up, which I think is hugely important. I grew up in a neighborhood where my parents would let us run all day and then come back at night, uh, because we felt safe enough. And I'm not sure that parents feel the same way today that you can just go have the run of the neighborhood. I don't think they do. I think that I [00:39:00] interacting everyday, like I do with students. I see how hard especially social media makes it on them. And it's no wonder that we have mental health issue and why we need to invest in counselors in our schools, uh, is because of the constant feedback. Often the, your inadequate feedback that social media can give. So I think that that was a huge advantage. And I think a lot, my wife and I have a lot of conversations about what boundaries, barriers, [00:39:30] and rules are we going to put around our son in technology? Um, what do we allow? What do we not allow? God, it's tough to navigate. It's really, really hard.

Speaker 2: And it changes so fast. Yeah. I mean, trying to relate to, I mean, just trying to keep up with the language, you know, I'd imagine you hear the high school kids talking to like a language that you hardly decipherable exception to you being around it. Like that's so extra. I'm just this probably old now.

Speaker 3: And it keeps me really cool. And hip it'd be a high school teacher. [00:40:00] Yeah, it does. Yeah. It's I worry a lot about that. I think that was really a great, a great advantage. And there are advantages to social media and smartphones. I, our advantage advantages, the fact that if I wanted to know what's the deepest lake in the United States, I could look it up right now, incidentally it's crater lake. Um, but also, you know, when I open Instagram and I see everyone else's fabulous Instagram life, and I think about my own.

Speaker 2: Yeah, it's talking to one of my best friends. Who's got a 13 year old son and uh, he said that he came home, opened up his phone, showed a picture [00:40:30] and said, dad, I only got four likes on my photo. And it's like, his self-esteem was tied to how many people double tapped on whatever picture he did, which is that false feedback. Yes,

Speaker 3: Yes. Right. And it's, it goes back to that idea of finding meaning, right. That's not a meaningful experience posting the thing. And then if someone likes it, there there's no meaning there. So being able to route yourself, I love that your logo is actually a tree trees are really important. And I think they're great symbol being able to root yourself to something deeper than that is so, so important. And you [00:41:00] know, there's a famous quote in leadership. I don't know. Some people attribute it to Abigail Adams, but the idea of leadership as planting the seeds of trees under whose shade, you will never sit.

Speaker 2: It means so much to me. It's my, yeah, go ahead.

Speaker 3: And that just ties it back to, to what I want to do for, for Virginia, for my son, for my students, just plant those seeds that will, that will bear come to fruition, you know?

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. That's one of my favorite quotes truly. [00:41:30] Uh, I don't know who said it, but it's been attributed to a couple of different people, right? So what's, you know, in addition to what's, what's an advantage you think they have that Ronnie's going to have, that you didn't have. And I know you said the internet is both an advantage and disadvantage, but is there anything else that you can think of

Speaker 3: The hyper-connectivity of the world, which plays to the internet, but he'll get to grow to grow up, interacting with so many different kinds of people than what I did, which is really phenomenal, whether [00:42:00] that's over the internet or in real life, the world's just become a lot smaller since, since I was young. And I think that is such a huge disadvantage, sorry, such a huge advantage for him. I think another advantage he'll have is we've been getting, you know, clearer and clearer about what good learning is about, um, things like that. So he'll benefit from that. But I don't know, you know, so one of the things about being in some ways, a historian, because those were some of my focuses [00:42:30] is you see how often the things we think about just perpetuate like every generation, right. Is, is worried about the generation coming after them and thinks that they have it easier than they had it, you know, and, and all that stuff. One of my favorite examples is in ancient Greece, people were worried, some of the philosophers that writing was going to make people dumber, because if you could write something down, you didn't have to remember it. And we have these great pieces of actually writing, describing the people's fear that writing the art of writing [00:43:00] was going to make people dumber. And so yeah, you have this, this cycle, but yeah, I think Ronnie's biggest advantage is just how small the world has become. Um, and that that's really wonderful. Yeah.

Speaker 2: The new globalization to have always have been like playing strains automobiles, how fast can you move this thing to another, but now it's it's information. And the ability to collaborate with anybody is going to propel us into this future that is going to come upon us so fast. I'm fascinated to see what comes. I mean, you [00:43:30] think about what Thomas Jefferson would say, sitting in a plane today.

Speaker 3: I know which by the way, pivots us back to that early conversation about being present and finding those moments to go slow. When the world moves fast, how do you root yourself, ground yourself? And so, yeah, I can hop on a plane and fly to Seattle, but sometime I should probably take a train and sometime I should probably drive because you experience the world differently whenever you do that. So I think finding the slow moments in life is something else that's important to me as I, as I raise Ronnie and helping [00:44:00] them experience those with me,

Speaker 2: Finding the slow moments in life. I I'm gonna, I want write that down so I don't forget.

Speaker 3: Yeah, no, it's one of the things that blows my mind is how quickly we went from the Wright brothers learning how to fly to being on the moon. Right. Whole things move fast. And so, so we got occasionally be slow.

Speaker 2: Yeah. The, the unfathomable bull speed is only increasing. And so the things that we couldn't even conjure, [00:44:30] we'll be here in five years, that our mind is not capable of understanding. It's going to be here before you know it. Yeah. So in this world that Ronnie is going to grow up in, what are some of the characteristics that you hope that he will have?

Speaker 3: So I, I think it goes back a little bit to that, to the grit, to the empathy. Another one is openness. I haven't, I haven't said that yet, but I think that's really openness to experience openness, to different kinds of people. And I hope he, I hope he does have a strong, moral compass, [00:45:00] something he can come back to that he can be grounded in that will help him make decisions. Right. Cause when you don't know what the future is going to look like, one thing you can always fall back on to help you navigate it are your values.

Speaker 2: So vulnerability is a word that I have this kind of plus minus relationship with, but the way that, I mean, it is the way most people interpreted. I think so when I ask you, like what, what role does vulnerability play in your life? Uh, maybe in general and then maybe as a, as a parent.

Speaker 3: [00:45:30] I it's one of those words, I'm glad that that we're reclaiming because I think for so much of certainly my childhood being vulnerable was being seen as a negative thing. Right. And maybe in some ways, because whenever you're vulnerable, you can be taken away. But boy, I think it makes you have a much healthier emotional life when you're willing to be vulnerable. And that means recognizing your limits. And so part of my being vulnerable is recognizing my limits as a father, there are things I do well and there are things I do poorly and I need to work on the things that [00:46:00] I do poorly, but it also means being vulnerable with yourself and being kind with yourself and not beating yourself up whenever you make those mistakes, the same is true. As a teacher, there are some lessons on my holy God, that was terrible.

Speaker 3: So I need to be vulnerable enough to get better, kind enough. With myself. I had a professor in grad school who said every week, every Friday night, he would have what he called a cognac moment. He would pour himself a cognac. And [00:46:30] he would think about all the things he did right during the week. Cause we can per sever on the things we do bad. And so he would then drink the cognac and think about the positive things he did that week. Um, and so I think I I've tried to allow myself cognac moments. Uh, so, uh, yeah, I I'm really interested in vulnerability. I think it's really important. We we've seen the destruction that can occur whenever we're not able to articulate our emotions. And that's the way I was raised. I mean, I was raised the son of two really tough [00:47:00] men. And so there's a particular code that comes along with it. And I think I've tried to take the best parts of that code and it's made me stronger, but also, and I have to tell you, seeing my dad get more vulnerable with age growing up, I never saw my dad cry. Now he can be like a weeping mess. And I think that can be really good once you get over how awkward it is.

Speaker 2: No I'm right there with, I know since having children, I cry at everything. Yeah. Yeah. So as a, as a dad being vulnerable [00:47:30] and open, you certainly allowed yourself to accept feedback like in the last 18 months, how do you feel like you've become a better dad?

Speaker 3: I think one way, uh, I've become a better dad is, uh, been more patient, you know, working with high schoolers, you say a thing and you expect them to do it more. You expect them to eventually do it. Uh, kids don't work that way at his age. And so having more patients with Ronnie is really, really important. Having less fear about him, the best thing was whenever we [00:48:00] were taking him home from the hospital, seeing how the nurses were kind of like really rough with them and I'm like, oh, he's not going to break. So, but yeah. And patients is not something I do. Well, I am not a particularly patient person. Uh, my boss can tell you that. And so having to learn to be patient with Ronnie has been really important. And I think that's, that's the best way. I've, I've the best thing I've learned. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Awesome. So what kind of dad would you like to be remembered as?

Speaker 3: So I'm going [00:48:30] to start by saying, I tell people all the time. I wonder as a teacher and coach, I wonder what kind of parent I'll be whenever my son is the student and the athlete Josee and I, my wife and I laugh about that a lot. But you asked what kind of parent do I want to be remembered as someone who was, who was, who was there and could always be leaned on and who Ronnie knows, loved him very, very deeply and everything I did right [00:49:00] or wrong, good or bad was born out of that. Love. I'm going to make mistakes, but I hope there are mistakes made out of love. And I hope that Ronnie will forgive me when he sees why I did the things I did and my successes will be born out of love too. I hope, you know, we share a name, right? He's the fourth. And I think that that's a really wonderful bond and I hope that's one that, that will persist. Um, P I hope, [00:49:30] I hope he understands that everything I did, I did because I love him so dearly. Do you,

Speaker 2: You remember, um, I'm making an assumption on this question but do you remember when you found out that your dad was human?

Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. Two different ways. So my dad has, like I said, really advanced Crohn's disease. And so whenever we were young, you know, you'd like fight and wrestle as you did. And I learned I could win any wrestling match by hitting him softly in the stomach. Just a little tap. Cause [00:50:00] he would double over in pain. Yeah. Because, um, it just hurts so bad. And so physically, I was like, oh, this man can be hurt because you think of, you know, your dad's like Superman. Yeah. And so that was kind of shocking to me. And then another one is so I'm in high school or I guess whenever I was in middle school, my dad had to work several jobs to make ends meet. And so he would teach by day and work in a garage door factory by night and he would still make it [00:50:30] to her sports games.

Speaker 3: But what that meant was he was just ragged and run down and to see this mountain, at least in my mind, even on bigger than he is this, this, this mountain of a man just be worn and chiseled down was another time. And then really the first time I disagreed with him, like politically about a thing where I just realized I saw the world differently from him and I thought I'm right. [00:51:00] And I think that that was really stunning to, yeah. Um, I think our relationship has gotten deeper and better because I've realized how fallible and human he is. Um, but it was a shock to the system

Speaker 2: That shock. Do you think that you would want to accelerate that earlier into Ronnie's life or later or let it happen organically?

Speaker 3: I think let, let it happen organically. There's so much to plan for. Yeah. I don't think I'd plan for that. I [00:51:30] think my goal with him is to just be authentically me and let him see that authenticity is a thing that should be valued. But when you're being authentic, you uncover all your warts.

Speaker 2: This is something that I think about and we're talking about now, but that moment, when you learned about your dad being not necessarily infallible in the moment in the future where Ronnie's going to learn that about his dad and I learned it about mine, do you feel like that's going to give him a particular [00:52:00] type of, uh, I F I feel like it gave me permission to be anything other than perfect. It felt like it gave me permission to fail in the good way, the way that you can learn from you share that experience.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Because I love my dad and I'm proud of him and the fact that he can mess up and still be that person I love. And I'm proud of is really gives permission. I think for, for me to be that way too,

Speaker 2: That my desire to try to be perfect in my [00:52:30] parents' eyes. My dad's eyes was, uh, I think detrimental, detrimental to my growth. I think it was probably overly conservative. Wasn't authentically me. Yeah. So I think about how quickly I want my kids to see that I'm, I'm human and that I want to give them that permission to be human and be themselves instead of living up to some conjured concept that they believe I expect them to be.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Knowing that I think we're always [00:53:00] becoming ourselves that I don't, I don't think that yourself is a fixed thing. You're always kind of reaching to make yourself better for what it's worth arrow, Ariela, Aristotle called a teleological conception of self that you're never a finished product. Right. And you just keep working to be better if you can do that, man. You're going to be, I think you're going to be fine.

Speaker 2: I know, you know, the Vince quote, pursuit of perfection.

Speaker 3: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's [00:53:30] all I'll, I'll, uh, I'll let you say it for our listeners, but

Speaker 2: The I'm sure it's a paraphrase of some sort, but it's like, you know, perfect perfection is unobtainable, but its pursuit is, you know, a worthy cause to continue to try to be better.

Speaker 3: And, and in fact that is the cause. Yeah. Right. Like you got to find the moments in the joy. And I know it's a cliche in the journey because our destination is we're going to be dead. And

Speaker 2: So we're born

Speaker 3: [00:54:00] Into the grid. Right. And so we might as well, boy loved that. Loved that. Loved the time there. Yeah. Yeah. It's so true. And as a green bay Packers fan, I have no, I have no problem supporting events on that one.

Speaker 2: All right. Well, I want to, I want to jump into their kind of the more short answer kind of rapid question, answer stuff. So what are some, uh, traits that you hope little Ronnie's going to have grown up? I think I've asked that already, but we can,

Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. I'll give, I'll give you maybe my, my [00:54:30] top, top four, whatever toughness, empathy, openness, curiosity.

Speaker 2: When you think the best vehicles for, for those things to be instilled in him are like education, sports, friends at home.

Speaker 3: Uh, modeling I think is really important. I think, I mean, I'm a huge fan of sports. I think sports teaches a lot of it, but I think a lot of it comes from modeling what you, and then your, your expectations that you set. And so if you yourself make curiosity [00:55:00] of value and you model that for your kids, I think that that'll help. It'll go along.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I've never felt a greater sense of obligation to the world or my kids to be as best as I can then since I had kids, because it allows them that at that example. Yeah. So what's, what's a great piece of parenting advice that you've been given

Speaker 3: A great piece of parenting advice that I've been given. One of the first things my dad said to me was to be kind to yourself. Another piece of advice is to sleep when the baby's sleeping really. [00:55:30] Right, right. Practical piece of advice. Uh, another great piece of advice I got was ask your wife how she needs you, like how she needs your help. Because I think so much of the early stages, especially, especially if you're breastfeeding can feel like your wife's doing all of it. So just letting being available and saying, how do you need, how do you need me to help? But honestly, the best piece of advice I got is no one can give you the perfect advice for you, but everyone can be there for you when you need their advice. Yeah. [00:56:00] And I thought, I thought that was the most useful thing. So

Speaker 2: Cool. So if you're going to write a book about your life over the last 18 months, plus nine months of Josie's pregnancy, what would be the name of some of the chapters?

Speaker 3: Adventure can still happen? Um, all through all through Josie's pregnancy, we went out, we hiked, um, we went canoeing. Um, in fact, one time we were canoeing out on lake Huron and uh, this woman had fallen out of her canoe. And so we got out to help her and Josie hopped out. She goes, you're pregnant. [00:56:30] And Jesse says, yeah, now let's get you back in your commute. She was like seven months pregnant, nine months pregnant. I accidentally, so we were taking a hike and it was suppose to be a mile hike. Um, and I got us lost and so three and a half miles later, Josie, I remember goes if I have this baby in the frickin forest. So, but even since then, you know, we we've taken Ronnie to national parks, Mount Rainier. We've gone hiking with them. Uh, I've ran five Ks with them.

Speaker 3: So I think adventure can still happen is, is one of the chapters. [00:57:00] And another chapter is learning to say, I'm sorry. Um, both to my wife and to my kid and to me, uh, w w would be definitely another one. Another chapter would be stop letting your grandparents spoil him so much because it just makes it harder. Uh, you know, Josie's an only child. And so her parents spoil him so to mine, but then the next chapter would be, but lean on your grandparents and love them. They're there to help. They want to help. [00:57:30] But yeah, I think my biggest thing is it's okay to still have fun with kids.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. I know. How about, how about a working title for the chapter you're writing right now?

Speaker 3: That's a fantastic question without getting too cheesy. I'm doing this for you. Awesome. I don't get to see them every night, but I'm doing this out of a love.

Speaker 2: I love that. That's awesome. What is something that is on your not to do list as a dad? Something that is non-negotiable you're not going to do it.

Speaker 3: So this is interesting and [00:58:00] shame him for when he tried something and failed is non-negotiable that, that, that, that will never happen because the fact that you tried in battle is worth it in and of itself. I think that's

Speaker 2: Wonderful. Who's your favorite television dad.

Speaker 3: Oh, Phil Dunphy on modern family.

Speaker 2: Nobody said that and that's I love it.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah, because he's him, right? Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. Philadelphia.

Speaker 2: Cool. So Lewis [00:58:30] house. I don't know if you've heard of him. He has a podcast called school of greatness. Go hundreds of podcasts. It's top, top one. I enjoyed a lot, but I had the, he asks a question and actually recommended that I ask the question. When do you feel the most loved

Speaker 3: During family hugs? Whatever. All the three of us hug each other in the morning before we go to work or at night, whenever we come home, honestly, probably during family hugs [00:59:00] or whenever Ronnie's plane and he'll bring me a toy over to play with too.

Speaker 2: Yeah, that's great. All right. Uh, this is one of my favorite questions. Also, Tim Ferris has asked this question. It's the billboard question. If on 95 you've got a billboard and all the dads on the planet are driving 70 miles an hour past it. So you've got a billboard to share a message with them. What's a, what's a messenger, a piece of advice that you might put on that billboard for everyone,

Speaker 3: For every, [00:59:30] for every dad to read, sign your kid up for a sport. But if he doesn't like it, find something else. That's a group activity.

Speaker 2: We figure out how to convince. I

Speaker 3: Know, I know. I know. I know, right? Yeah. Size 12 times new Roman on a billboard. I just think sports are so powerful. And I know not, I know not everyone likes sports. Like I, I get that, but there are group activities out there for them. My wife was in the band that was hugely, uh, formed her. Um, for other people, it's the robotics team. [01:00:00] Like find that team. Cause there's so much like put your kid in the team. I don't care what they're doing. I don't care if they're their competitive tiddlywinks. I don't care. Put them in a team.

Speaker 2: Um, um, I've thought lately, you know, school, as much as school educates your kids, it's the stuff that happens after school. That really makes them who they are. So I don't, like we talked about, we look back at school and such and sure there are some great teachers, but really it's all about like the community with your supports and the teams and your coaches like made [01:00:30] you the human.

Speaker 3: Yeah, that's true. And with teachers, you know, teaching starts with relationships. So the teachers, I remember aren't the ones who had the best content info, or maybe even the ones who I learned the most from they're the ones I knew cared about me and the same thing with coaches in high school, my football coach assigned to summer reading. And so everyday during two days in between practices, we'd have to unpack a chapter together. And it was always summer reading that was like life lessons. Um, one was called the Traveler's gift. I remember, and I had all my football coaches sign the book for [01:01:00] me, and I knew he cared because of that.

Speaker 2: Amazing. Uh, what is a gift, a physical gift, a thing. If money was no object and you could give a gift to all the dads, what's a gift. Something that you might give to them.

Speaker 3: My first thought was a fully funded 5 29 plan for your kid because college is expensive, but you know, college isn't for everyone and not everyone's going to go to college. That isn't a particularly good gift, even though it was the first thing on my mind or the first gift I would give [01:01:30] to every single dad. My next thought was a bottle of really nice whiskey, um, as cause I like whiskey, but, uh, as the chance to have that cognac moment to celebrate yourself, to take a minute and look back at the week. So I guess, okay, so here's the gift I'm gonna give my dad something and a box that you enjoy that will cause you to stop for a moment and think back on everything you did right. For your kid that week. So maybe it is cognac. Maybe it is whiskey. [01:02:00] Maybe it's a nice piece of cheesecake. I don't know. But just something that allows you to say, I'm good at this thing. And I failed all these times, but look at all these other times, I was great. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Uh, wonderful answer. I'm going to call this our last question. And it's one that I really like, so this, this is recorded. It may last forever and perhaps Ronnie's great. Great-grandkids will get to hear it. Like what's a message that each generation might [01:02:30] benefit from or something you'd like to say to the line of Ros's

Speaker 3: Especially being the third in the line. That's

Speaker 2: Yeah. It could be anything from practical advice to, uh, messages of adoration.

Speaker 3: So I'll tell you the most important thing. My dad, my dad told to me, um, I was having a particular bad week. I was in grad school. My girlfriend had just broken up with me. My car had just been totaled. My student loans were coming due and I talked to him and I was [01:03:00] just being, I mean, I was at rock bottom. And what he said to me is good thing. You're tough enough. And it made me pick my head up and know that I could do it. Um, and so what I would want to say to that, to that, to the line of Ross is, is if your parents are anything like mine, you will be tough enough. But beyond that, you are enough. One of the first presidents [01:03:30] I got, my wife was a piece of art that said you are enough on it.

Speaker 3: And whatever you are, whatever you might think about, you're good. You're bad, you're ugly. You're beautiful. It's enough because you're you and you being you is good enough for this world. And you being, you has something you can contribute to this world. You know, all of us were born onto a stage that wasn't of our choosing. We're both authors in our own [01:04:00] narratives and characters and other people's narratives. Right. But wherever you are on that stage, man, you're you, and that's pretty fricking cool because everyone else is already taken. So you might as well be you.

Speaker 2: I think that's beautiful moving, thanks. Being here for the benefit of anybody listening, it is campaign season. Now it may not be in five years when somebody's listening to this, but like you have a website that you could direct people [01:04:30] to, that, uh, they could learn about you and your campaign, your platform.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So it's Ronnie I spell Ronnie, R O N N I E. Ronnie Unclear how that domain was available, but it was so, yeah, go there. You can find out about me, find out about my positions and you know, we've talked a lot about what inspires me and my values, and now you'll see maybe some of the policy things that came out of those values, but yeah, this has been a real pleasure, Tyler, thank you for having me so much. This is a much better morning and grading essays about the Odyssey. I promise you. So I've really enjoyed our time together. Thanks.

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