Dads in the Limelight – Aaron Conrad

Our 20th Dad in the Limelight is Aaron Conrad ( I want to thank Aaron for being a part of this series. It has been great getting to know him and now sharing him with all of you!

1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

My name is Aaron Conrad and I am the Director of Local Customer Teams for Stanley Security Solutions. We are division of Stanley Black and Decker which is based in Connecticut. Stanley Security Solutions is a nearly $1 billion dollar organization that features security organizations such as BEST Access Systems, Stanley Automatic Doors, Convergent Security Solutions (formerly HSM), and Sargent and Greenleaf. My role as Director is to coordinate the efforts of the sales forces from all of the businesses within Stanley Security to provide a combined solution for potential customers. While it may not sound exciting, I am blessed to say that I love what I do for a living. I look forward to working each day. If I could have written a job description for myself and a role in an organization, this would be it.

From a personal side, I maintain a blog which started five years ago as a means to communicate with family on the upcoming birth of our youngest child. It grew and grew and has become almost like another family member. The timing of the blog and technology have provided me with the opportunity to meet great people across the United States. Business travel has afforded me the chance to connect with many of my “online friends” in person as well. I never knew when I started my blog that it would create lasting friendships and community far beyond our local friends.

Lastly I am a member of the leadership team for a start up church in Dublin, Ohio called “Journey Church“. My family and I are thrilled to be a part of a Church that is literally growing week by week.

2) Tell me about your family
I live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife Heather and our three children Austin (9), Emma (6) and Brynn (4). Our most recent addition to the family is our Basset Hound/Chow mix named “Wubzzy”. We adopted him from a local shelter 2 weeks ago and he has turned our home upside down. We have lived in Ohio our entire lives and in Columbus for the past 12 years. My wife is the grace in my life and the rock in our marriage. Austin is, what some have called “the spittin’ image” of me, but I believe he is a little bit of both my wife and I. We love college hoops and, though we live in Columbus, are die hard North Carolina Tar Heel fans. My daughter Emma is our creative child. She loves to draw, color and will no doubt one day be on American Idol. My youngest daughter, Brynn, is the family comedian. It’s not uncommon to hear her quote movie lines from “Tommy Boy” or anything that was created by Pixar. My family is the greatest gift that anyone could ever give me.

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

My first thought when I read this question was “no instruction manual”. You get a lot of things and a lot of advice when you have a child but there is no instruction manual. We are shaping the lives of our children every single day. The greatest challenge for me is to teach them, train them, give them wisdom and knowledge while never destroying their spirit. My wish is that my children will never doubt my love for them and understand that my wife and I did everything we could to raise them to be who God created them to be. It’s all about balance. More than once I have told my son that “this is my first time being a father too”. This usually came after an apology that I had to give him after reflecting on something I said or did. I can’t say I have it right but we’re learning together as a family.

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Seek good council. Dad’s and men usually don’t share a lot about their struggles. We don’t want to admit or act like we don’t have a clue what we are doing at times. It’s like stopping for directions. The reality is that our best GPS is other fathers. It’s our Dad, our father-in-law, older men at church with grown children. They have been through the wars and can provide great direction and wisdom as to how to get through fatherhood. I would also say to enjoy the ride. It is going by so fast that I don’t want to miss a minute of it. I’m just trying to capture what I can before it’s gone.

5) Seeing that you (or your position) is in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
I have to give a majority of the credit here to my wife. Whenever someone is in the “limelight” there are many other people that make that person appear to have it all together. That starts at home with my wife. She is able to keep our household running smooth and everything on track. Due to the nature of my position and the travel involved, she has to juggle schedules, practices, lessons and school work. I couldn’t do it without her. For my part, I do my best to heir to the side of family whenever possible. The flexibility of my job certainly helps, but there are times when it comes down to work or family. If at all possible I do my best to choose family first. Individual success means absolutely nothing to me if my kids reflect on life and a Dad that wasn’t around. I am committed to their childhood and raising them. Occupational success is fleeting. My kids and family are forever.

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
Many of our friends locally are at the same stage of life with their children and families. It has been wonderful to spend time with one another and share war stories. We often share what is working and what is not. It is interesting to see how other fathers approach discipline, encouragement and balancing work and home. Being involved in sports leagues with the kids also provides an opportunity to observe other fathers. The biggest thing I try to remember with other fathers is that I am only getting a “slice” of what happens with their family. For example, if I see a father discipline a child a certain way, I might quickly rush to judgment based on how I would do it differently. I do my best to not think that way as I am only seeing a portion of what led to that moment. It could be a discipline they have been working on for some time and I only caught 5 minutes of it. Each child is different. Each family is doing what they can, how they can, when they can.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
It has been the most rewarding experience of my life. No one could ever have explained the feeling, the joy and even the heartbreak that being a father is. In my life, I have never been accused of finishing what I started well. I approach being a father as something that I want to finish. I want to finish it well by seeing my children be all that they can be. I want to finish by knowing I gave them an environment to be all that God created them to be. My three children have taught me so much about life. There is no greater reward than to hear your child say they love you. There is no better feeling than having your daughter seek you out during a school play and light up with joy when she finds you. Being a Dad is the greatest experience of my life.

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Mistakes and learning from them as been a very memorable experience. I have never been very good at saying “I’m sorry” so learning to say that and mean it has been very memorable. Being there for all of the “firsts” has been great too. To remember the day that they took their first steps, first bike ride, hit his first homerun. Memorable experiences also included their first real injuries, hard lessons and hurts. It’s all a part of the journey and I am glad that I can rise each morning for one more day to make memories. There is never a dull moment in our home and the memories are created minute by minute. It’s one wild ride!

If you have any questions for Aaron, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

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