Normally this podcast is focused on helping my children understand how we made parenting decisions along the way. The reason that I feel like this is so important to them is because as a child, I did not know or have explained to me why certain parenting decisions were being made in speaking with my own parents.
They certainly did not have any of that explained to them. That required a lot of work on my part to go back and understand why I was parented in a certain way in order to enable me and my wife to make better decisions and more conscious choices in our parenting moving forward. In this episode, I'm going to talk for the first time about who I am.
On today’s episode, I am going to be talking about who I am. I have been hesitant to share much about myself because I don’t want to give you, the listener’s, a bias. Although, we are human and we want to connect. Many people have expressed interest in knowing who I am. I do think it’s important that you know a little bit more about me.
For starters, I started this podcast so my kids would have a manual. They will know how they were parented and know what their default setting. I didn’t have that. Because I didn’t have that, I had to spend a lot of time figuring it out.
When it comes to podcasting, or any other platform, people are (largely) broken down into two groups. The first group comprises those who have an academic or industry background.. they want to be seen as a thought leader within their industry. The second group is the group that wants you to know who they are (they want to be internet famous, or sell you something… not that there is anything wrong with that).
I want to be a conveyer of the information and as someone who provides examples, I don’t want the podcast to be about me. Obviously there are overlaps between those two groups. Today I will share a bit about me in hopes of helping this message resonate. I discuss my background, some of my experiences and why my wife and I made some of the decisions we did.
In This Episode
[01:47] Why I’m sharing about me
[3:27] The reason I started this in the first place
[5:05] Craving examples
[7:03]Background on me
[8:43]Determining what I wanted to learn about
[11:12]My first experience as a business owner
[16:15] My time in Hawaii
[17:38]Working for homeland security in Washington DC
[21:15]Being purposeful about my parenting
[23:26]My wife’s perspective
“We’re human, we want to connect.” [00:01:15]
“While we are different, there are many things that are very very similar.” [00:02:42]
“The challenge with the academics is that what people crave today, it's not more information. We're overwhelmed with information. What people crave today are examples” [00:05:04]
“it's not like we have the perfect life. we're making the very best of what we have.” [00:26:30]
Transcript continues below
The reason that I haven't even brought myself up to this point. Is because I wanted to focus on the method and I wanted to focus on the process and also the information rather than focusing on the person. After 10 episodes, I realized that w people want to know who it is that they're listening to.
Ultimately, we're human. We want to connect. That's something that's very important to us. I was a little hesitant to, but any information about myself. Out there because I feel that it biases the listener. When I give you my background and tell you about my education, my life experience, my work history, the history of my family, where they came from, what they have been successful in, where they have failed, where they have struggled, where they've succeeded.
It may bias you, but at the same time, it may make you feel either more or less of an affinity. For me and also for the information, the processes, and the procedures that we've discussed and we'll discuss into the future. I realize it's risk, but at the same time, I think it's very important, not only for my children to hear this eventually, someday, but for anyone who's listening to it to get a better context on not only the value of the information, but also.
As I said before, we tend to like people who are like and similar to us. I think that throughout my experience around, around the country and even, internationally, one thing that I've realized is that, well, while we do have many differences, there are many aspects that are very, very similar.
In terms of desires, in terms of hopes, in terms of dreams, in terms of fears, and in terms of aspirations for the future, regardless of where you are in your parenting journey, or even if you're not a parent yet. I think that understanding the background of who it is that's conveying the information to you that's conveying.
The examples to you is something that's very important. The reason that I started this in the first place, as I've explained, is because I wanted to give my children the gift of knowing what their manual was. Basically, no one gave me a manual to say, this is how you were parented. This is most likely what you're going to repeat in the future.
This is your default setting, so to speak. And I had to figure that out on my own. I want to give them that gift so that they can make better decisions without having to go and do the research. I've done a lot of reading myself, a lot of learning, a lot of research, and what I found is that people are kind of broken down into who, who groups.
Number one are the sort of academic researchers who have a. Academic background in child behavior and development, and the other group are folks, Ooh, I, I will say they want you to know who they are. They're selling information on parenting, but they're also selling a personality. And that's specifically who I wanted to avoid.
I wanted to be a conveyor of the information. I did not want. the podcast or the information to be about me, which is once again, why, why I'm laying low on this. But as I said, I think, I think that this is important. And of course there's overlap between those two groups. There's people who build up the tribe around themselves, and then there's the academics.
The challenge with the academics is that what people crave today, it's not more information. We're overwhelmed with information. What people crave today are examples. And so that's where I think a lot of times in academia, academics fall short because they're great with the research. Where they or not so great is then applying that to the real world to actually help people who are in that situation.
Academics are great and helping. A sample set. They're great at helping a population. They're not so great at helping an individual through their particular challenge that they're, they're facing. On the other side of the coin are the folks who are focused on building the tribe. The folks who differentiate bye.
Bringing the group in around themselves. and what I find there is that a lot of times. What frustrated me anyway was it became more about what that person that that celebrity or micro celebrity or whatever you want to refer to the mask. It became about what April people want, wanted their approval basically.
And I don't care if you like me or not, I care that you get the outcome that you desire. That's really all that matters to me. And so. This is, and this is speaking directly to my children as well. Of course, I, I want them who? Two. I mean, of course you want to be liked by your kids, right? But that's not my primary goal.
I want that to be as a result of showing them the skills that they need. I don't want them to like me by being. Nice to them and bye spoiling them. Basically, I want them to like me because they realize that I'm acting in their best interest in equipping them to make the best decisions. Same thing here.
So a little bit of background, on me. So I was raised as an only child. My mother and father were both the first people in their family to graduate from college. My dad, ah. Studied engineering, my mother social worker, and they've been together as long as I've been alive. They've been married now.
Aye. Myself, I was kinda confused about what I wanted to study. It was not a question of you're going to college. It was. It was not, it was not an expectation. But it was strongly recommended to the point where, to me, I had no other example of what one does after leaving high school. So it was just kind of the default thing to do.
Now, I should also say that I left high school early to go study at community college, not because I was an exceptional student and had completed the curriculum, but I discovered that, Hey, you can go and you can get these credits. That you're going to be taking anyway in high school. So why not just get ahead of the game and get credits that you can transfer somewhere else?
So I went to community college, while I was in high school, or in lieu of, of my later years of high school. And that kind of, I guess, grease the skid of me figuring out a little bit more what I wanted to be good at or what I wanted to focus on, learning about. And for me. That was engineering and science.
So I have an undergraduate degree that is in the STEM field, and then I have two master's degrees that are also in STEM fields. And I thought that I wanted to be a researcher in academia. And then, I realized that that's not really what I wanted to do. I will, what was much more focused on being applied then being.
In research. And so what do I mean by that? I was much more interested in helping solve a specific problem. Then studying Pacific challenges and also research and academia. I don't know at the time, you know, this is, this is going back 2025 years now. Mmm. It just seemed like there was. There was too much supplication where your entire career was beholden to who your academic advisor was, and that's like one or two people potentially.
And so they have a very exploitative relationship in that even though you sign a contract with the university saying that you're going to fulfill these requirements in order to get your degree conferred. That can actually be modified to a great extent. Bye. Whoever your advisors, who's ever in charge of that, of that research.
And so what I realized during this time was I actually started a small company and I was basically making some money while I was finishing up my graduate work. And by the time I got to the end of it, I said to myself, well, why don't I just go do this? Meaning what I was working on for my own business versus go down this route because I have way more control over this than I do what I'm doing here at, at university.
And so, I, I finished up, I laughed. Mmm. The first job that I got. Was in helping support urban search and rescue crews following the landfall of hurricane Katrina. That was the first real, experience that I, that I had as a, you know, as a business owner. we were doing work basically helping these emergency search and rescue units bruise.
determine where, cause you have to remember hurricane Katrina was like a, you know, a storm surge of maybe 20 feet or more that lifted these houses in this, these cars and whatnot. And basically floated it sometimes even like two or three or four miles from where the house actually was. It would lift it up off its foundation and just move it.
And so if there was a missing person. They would want to know that that somehow now is between where this house is and where the house used to be three miles away. Well, where's the most likely location that we should send these cadaver dogs to go look for the remains, for instance. So I also was a, it was an EMT.
so that was also a unique benefit at the time. And I learned a lot. I will say that I definitely. I learned a lot. I gained a lot of respect. Four for people of all stripes. Let's just leave it at that. Mmm. When you are in academia for so long, there is, I think, sort of a bias that if someone does not have this degree or does not have this credential.
Then they can therefore not know anything about this subject because they are not credentialed. And I learned the other half of that during my time as a, as a emergency response professional in the Gulf coast following hurricane Katrina. And that was really fascinating to me. That was, Mmm. Gave me a new lens by which to evaluate skill.
And that has served me to this day. And that's one thing that I bring into this podcast here is oftentimes we are so myopic and so focused, we can only look at things through one lands. And it's like having a, a paper towel roll that you take the tube and you just looked through that too. And that's what you get your world view through is from that tube.
So. Over the course of time. What I've realized is that I can collect a lot of these tubes and by having very various life experiences comparing and contrasting them and then end up getting a while wider field of view than if I was just viewing the world from my one. Respect it. So what happened after that?
After hurricane Katrina. we, we did some great work there by the way, but because I was focused on being a scientist, and because marketing and sales is an athema to science and to entry, most scientists, at least 20 years ago now at this point, Mmm. What happened is, is that other businesses came in and marketed that same technology that we were bringing to the forefront at the time.
And they would sell vaporware. They would get a contract without actually having the ability to deliver on that contract because they would hope that they would be able to develop it over time. Meanwhile, we actually had the technology and the ability, but we didn't have the capacity to market, or I will actually say that in my youthful hubris, I thought that marketing was below me and I paid the price.
And so, I was out of business. I was on a high, and then I was on a low because aye, I didn't know what I didn't know and it bit me. So from there, I had made many contacts, obviously during that time. And, and, a Lieutenant Colonel that I had run into who I had, I had helped and we had worked together for a little bit.
contacted me afterwards and basically said, Hey, you know, I see what's going on over there. You know, is there anything I can do? And I said, well, you know, I don't know. I would just like to get my act together again and start again. Well, he said, well, Hey, you know, I know that, out in Hawaii there are some openings for positions that I think you'd be a real great fit for based on.
What we saw in the Gulf coast that you should die. You should put in for one of those. So I did. And about two months later, I was on my way to Hawaii and spent a couple of years working in Hawaii, mostly on, the big Island and also on Oahu. And that's where I met my wife. And as my time in Hawaii came to a close, I got a call from the U S department of Homeland security person there.
I don't know how they actually got my information because they said that now, if you've ever applied for work with the U S government, you know that it's a process. And. It's very challenging for them to go and find people as opposed to if you're not already in their system applying for a specific job.
In any event. So yeah, I found your resume and we have this branch chief position, this lead scientist position open here in DC, working on basically a national level version of what I had done in the Gulf coast. Would you be interested in interviewing for it? And of course I said yes. So we moved from Hawaii to Washington, D C and I got that experience in Washington D C working for department of Homeland security headquarters, helping to keep the nation's critical infrastructure safe, which was a amazing experience.
I got to understand what goes in. To protecting large scale events like Superbowl, like playoffs, like giant NASCAR races where there are a quarter of a million people present. What goes in to protecting our nation's critical infrastructure? The stuff that make sure that we have food on the table, that we have electricity, that we have gasoline to run our day to day business.
I got to travel overseas. I got to travel actually to Ukraine. Before. It was a contentious place as it is right now. And several other, area, countries in, in that area. And I will say that I definitely learned a lot by doing that. It opened my eyes up. Who other aspects of the world, other positions, other viewpoints that people might have on how they see the world . The reason that I'm bringing this up.
The reason that I think that this is important is I don't live in Washington DC anymore. I don't work for DHS anymore. It was an amazing experience. First of all, I'll say this, the reason that we don't live in Washington D C anymore at the time, Mmm. If I drove to work at six o'clock in the morning, it would take me 12 minutes to get there.
But of course, anyone who lives in the national capital region knows that many highways, they're turn entirely HOV at six 30 or they did at the time. If I drove there at six 30 it would take me two hours to arrive at the same location. Same thing coming back and because my job was not focused in a specific building, but all over Northern Virginia, Maryland.
National capital region. Oftentimes I would need to be in Washington DC in the morning, and then I would need to be somewhere out in the Hill country of Virginia that afternoon. Sorry, I couldn't even take public transportation to get from place to place, had to have a car, which means of course, that you have to obey the HOV rules.
So the reason that this is important is that my wife and I decided, but that was not going to be conducive. For raising children two and a half hour commute. I was not going to be conducive to raising children the way that we wanted to raise them. Now we thought about this and if we were not going in and out of the city, whatever city that happened to be, if everything we needed, it'd be located within a mile, then it becomes a different story.
It becomes potentially much easier. However, since we were going to be going in and out of that zone multiple times a day, requiring transitions from different forms of transportation, meaning, okay, you take a car to the Metro station, you get in the Metro, then you go from Metro. Then you have to walk where the Metro is not exactly conducive to raising children who might need you to come pick them up or take them to various.
Events, that sort of thing like that. So we moved, we moved across the country again. once again, this caused a lot of reflection on my part. This caused me to really think about why are we doing this things? This was the first time, perhaps in my life that I, I thought about being purposeful.
About my parenting. Why am I making this decision? How will that decision impact things in the future? What would my default choice have been had I not thought of this from that was born this show, because I thought it was really important for me to walk my kids through the thought process that we went through to arrive at the decisions that we made.
So I hope that this has been useful, not only my kids, but also to you, the listener. I hope that you have a better understanding for who I am, potentially what some of my values are, how our values are similar, how our values are different, what you agree on, what you disagree on. But the most important thing that I ask is that you evaluate any process that I've shared with you, independent of , you resonate with me, or if you don't resonate with them, that's the end of this episode.
We'll see you in the next show. Okay, so this is actually not the end of this episode. Every time I record a episode, I send it to my wife first to review it. And she gave me some really good comments on this particular recording, and I was gonna make an addendum and maybe re-record a bit of it, but then I just, well, why don't I just play the recording of her comments?
Are you, because I think that this will benefit not only my kids, but I think that it will help if any listener, a more rounded picture, where I'm coming from. From my wife's perspective as well. So let's hear that. And at the end of her that will really be the end of the episode.
Hey honey. So I just finished your podcast.
I really like it. I want more though. I would like just another couple minutes before the last. You know, final few statements when you talk about us moving from Virginia Cross country, largely because we didn't want to raise a family in Virginia. I just like to know, you know, a little bit about that, like that you still work for the government, but that you're using more, you know, you moved with the intention to use more of your science background, natural resource background.
and, and. The positives of where we've moved to for raising a family, like what we were looking for. cause we didn't have kids for three years. And you know, we were here three or four years before we start, before we had Isaac. and I think it would be cool to hear like, you know, we really, when we moved out here, we were like looking for kind of the polar opposite of where we had in DC.
We wanted land, we wanted sort of the. small homestead, blah, blah, blah. And although we tried, like, you know, we did the chickens and we did grinding our own wheat and we did food storage. We've sorted sort of, our day to day is sort of. a step or two towards D C from that, but not, obviously we don't live in a condo or anything, but that like, we really value the fact that our children have place to play outside where we don't necessarily have to go with them, that they spend a lot of time climbing trees and digging in the dirt.
you know, our parenting research has shown that. Unstructured play is important and we feel like we've given them a place to do that because we don't have to interject when they play outside because their safety isn't at risk the way it would have been in Fairfax. I just want a little bit more about the place we ended up so that it, it's speaking to people maybe who live in a city and are making that work.
People living in a city who want to move people who made the same choice we did and are like, yeah, that's cool. Or people that maybe haven't even thought about the fact that like, yeah, I can't let my kids go out and play by themselves and that is important. And. How could I stay where I am and make that happen?
Or could I move? I just think it would be nice for them to know sort of the, the pros of why we are where we are. and honestly, I think you should mention the cons too. And the biggest con is that you're not stimulated at work. and that you feel like it's been a fairly big sacrifice.
our kids deserve to hear that. and since you're choosing to share this with the world, I think the world deserves to hear that. That like, it's not like we have the perfect life. we're making the very best of what we have. But I think the reality checkup, we made this move and gained a lot for our children.
but personally have, you know. Maybe not as many opportunities. I think that's important. I don't know that I had to make that many sacrifices when we came here. Certainly, if I wanted to be more career driven. You know, right now I'm pretty driven to figure out how to be there for our family.
But if I was more driven for my career, I don't live in a place where there's a children's hospital, like, you know, like Washington DC had like three children's hospitals in the city limits. or maybe just to, to, but you made the sacrifice of leaving, you know, a job that at the time, I don't think you knew you liked as much as you.
When you think about it, I feel like the reflection of it is that you really did enjoy it. and you certainly, I don't think are going to reflect on your forest service job and say that. And I think being transparent about that is good. I also think, You know, it's being transparent to your audience, being transparent to our children.
It's also being transparent to you. And I think that there is an ounce of healing that this podcast can do for you. and so I think talking about that, I think it's interesting that you will admit it, first of all, but I think that talking about it is important. So that's my only feedback.
Otherwise, I think it's great. I think it's good for people to know. It's interesting that you didn't say your name in there, which I think is totally fine, but it's just interesting. but yeah, so good job. this thing should be able to be posted now cause you've done like nine or 10 of these things.
So, I'll be curious to see what happens. I also wonder if you, If it comes up when you go out that you're doing this, it might be fun to have him on an episode and have a conversation about something parenting related. I mean, you guys have a lot in common. Both have two young kids.
You know, you're both working dads. You both, You know, have sort of a similar background just in that you're only, you're both only children and have wives who have sister issues. but I don't know. I think it would be fun to start at some point doing interviews, not necessarily with this Stefan's of the world, a K a famous people, but just regular dad's like, dude, how do you handle.
This. What's your philosophy on this? because I don't know, every podcast I've ever listened to, when they bring on a guest, I get like 10 times more engaged. And it doesn't even matter if that guest is like the most famous or the most rocking guests. It's just, it changes it up a little bit.
So, that's my feedback. So anyway, I love you. Bye. Bye.