Fatherhood: A View from Some of the Fathers across Gray
If you were to ask 10 different people to describe a father, you would likely get 10 different answers. Fathers come in all shapes and sizes, and they each seem to have their own unique quirks that make them special.
Here at Gray, we are fortunate to have a host of men who proudly fill the father role. These men work hard daily, in the office or on the jobsite, to provide for their families, and then head home to spend time with them.
We took some time to talk to some of the Gray fathers about how they balance working and raising a family, their advice to fellow fathers, and some of the men who inspire them.
How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
Drew Romans, Regional Manager, Southeast Office, father of two boys – “We all need to do better with this, but I try to take advantage of time home with the family, and be fully present when I am there. That is a lot easier said than done! I think the key is recognizing that family is the No. 1 priority and that time with them is irreplaceable!”
Dan Wheeler, Project Engineer, InLine Engineers, A Gray Company, father of two boys and one girl – “Since working for InLine, I have been able to volunteer to coach my kids’ sports teams. Making the commitments to do this has helped me take time with the family and not get wrapped up in work. Pre-pandemic, the kids would also come into the office for visits and for lunch during the summer. I also have worked hard to put the phone and computer down when I am home, unless there is a real priority that needs completed.”
If you could give a new, working dad advice on how to balance work and home life, what would you tell him?
Mike Pflederer, Site Manager, father of two sons and two daughters – “I would say make the most of your time at home and spend that time with your kids and wife. Take them fishing, play ball with them, go to their games, and, without sounding sappy, demonstrate that you love your wife. Show your kids you love her and that she too is a priority. And for me, keeping my relationship with God first helped me keep the balance with my family. When my relationship with God was off, so was my family.”
James Carr, Manager, Graphic Design, father of one son and one daughter – “Don’t be more committed to work than you are your family. Be creative and find the most efficient way to use your 24 hours. When you’re working, be focused on your work, and when you’re with family, be focused on your family. Stressful times and heightened demands come in waves; always be transparent and communicative with your spouse and family whenever demands seem like they’re going to take away from time with them. That way, everyone can be prepared.”
Do you have any favorite Father’s Day traditions in your family?
Wheeler – “Not specifically on Father’s Day, but our family loves to try different donut shops around town and when on vacation.”
Pflederer – “Grillin’ and chillin’.”
Do you have one favorite memory of parenthood that you’d like to share?
Carr – “My favorite memories have been when I’ve seen my children learning or making sense of something, right in front of me. When my son was between 3-5 months old, we were at a neighbor’s house visiting. They had a furry armchair that Landon was sitting in. I glanced over at Landon, in between conversations, to see him feeling the chair, really taking in the texture—the look on his face was like his mind was blown. Just then, it really hit me that I’m going to get to see this little person learn and figure out everything. I am just so grateful to get to experience moments like that on a regular basis, now with two children.”
Wheeler – “We are a Disney family and have been on multiple trips there over the years. I have gotten to spend individual time with each kid at different times. A few years ago, my oldest son and I rode Dumbo during the closing fireworks. His reaction was awesome, and I will always remember his excitement. This year, I went on Splash Mountain with my daughter, and we did a TikTok dance for the picture.”
What men in your life have inspired you?
Romans – “My father. He taught me work ethic, how to never accept anything that was not your best effort, and to never give up. He also made sure he was there for me growing up–from hunting, fishing, coaching sports, and most importantly, to always try to do the right thing, even if it isn’t the easiest thing to do.”
Carr – “My father is definitely at the top of that list. He was a very hard worker, loved all people, and was a jack of all trades. He did a lot with a little, so I do all I can with what I’ve been blessed with. I’ve been lucky enough to score a great father-in-law as well, who has found success in using more mind than muscle and has taught me that visualizing your success can go a long way in achieving it.”
Pflederer – “Naturally, my father, and another man who was like a father figure to me while I was away at college.”
If you could describe fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
Pflederer – “Selflessness.”
Romans – “Love.”
Wheeler – “Priceless.”
Carr – “Enriching.”
From everyone here at Gray to all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day!
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