Dads in the Limelight – Chris Goforth (PapaRocks6)

Our 27th Dad in the Limelight is Chris Goforth of the blog PapaRocks6. I want to thank Joel 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 Chris and I am in the blogsphere as PapaRocks6.  I grew up in Montana but moved out here to Oregon 16 years ago.  I met my wife here and we have settled down and are raising our family here.  I truly love the Pacific Northwest.   I enjoy being outdoors, camping, hiking and fishing. It’s great to be able to drive less than a couple of hours and end up at the beach or up in the mountains.  I try to spend as much time outdoors as I possibly can.
I work full-time in Social Work, working with adults who have been diagnosed with chronic and persistent mental illnesses.  I am in a supervisory role; my job has changed so much in the last few years that I do a lot more then just supervise staff.  I am involved in staff training, quality management and program development.  I really am blessed with an amazing job that affords me the opportunities to explore and enhance my skill set.  I have some truly amazing people I work with, which makes the job so much better.  I can honestly say in the last 8 years working for this company I haven’t had a day I didn’t look forward to going to work.  It’s a great environment and incredibly supportive.  The other bonus to my job is that I get to work 4 days a week, 10-hour shifts.  I purposely don’t work on Fridays; instead I volunteer my time at school with my kids in their classrooms.  I have been doing it since my oldest started school and continue with her today in middle school.  My Fridays are divided up between all 4 of my oldest kids and their classrooms. 

The other big part of my life is my faith and my involvement in my church.  I feel this is a place where husbands, fathers and men need to connect on multiple levels.  I have been able to lead a variety of groups for men who struggle with sexual addictions.  I also plan and set up our men’s activities and retreats each year.  Currently I am heading up a group called “Awesomest Dad’s in the Universe”.  I plan activities each month and then Dad’s have the opportunity to come with their kids, hang out, have fun and meet other dads.  We have nearly 1000 people at our church so having a place other Dad’s can connect I feel is something that needs to be in place.   I lead a Life Group in our home weekly, we eat, catch up on life, discuss a topic and support each other in anyway we can.  Since October I have been going through a series with 6 other men entitled “Quest for Authentic Manhood”, this class has been reaffirming for me in many ways and has played a part a large part in what I blog about.

I initially started doing a blog back about 8 years ago, but didn’t keep up with it and forgot about it.  I actually started my current blog for my son.  The last 3 years I had been doing research about boys growing up and becoming men.  My research has shown most young men continue to struggle to identify what being a man is really about.  I decided with all that is in me I would not allow my son to go down this path and for any other men I had the opportunity to interact with I would be the example I wanted to see.  I began putting together a booklet entitled “Becoming a Man” for my son that we work on together.  It is my goal to help my son feel strong and secure, as he becomes a man.
I’ve started my own website (Real Authentic Men) – in regards to this material.  It’s been really well received.  I am also planning on turning these materials into a book.  My overall goal would be to create a workbook with it and allow it to be used by different groups of men and get them talking about all these issues we face as men and how we can help support one another through the process. 
My other hobby includes photography of which I won a few awards and has had a couple pictures published.  Generally wherever I go, I have a camera in hand and enjoy taking pictures of all that is around me.
Part of what I try and do with my life is be an example to other men of what is possible.  My desire is to go deeper with those men I am connected to.  I look for opportunities to have guy’s weekend getaways or activities so we can connect, hang out and really go deep with one another.  I am not a surface discussion type of guy.  Last year I was successful in creating a community for a large group of guys at my house by playing the game Settlers of Catan.  I had anywhere from 4 –24 guys at my house playing this game every Saturday night.   Being around other guys, sharing our what’s really going on inside and connecting charges me up and helps me to be a better husband and father. 

2) Tell me about your family

I met my wife here the first year I moved here and we started dating and got married 1 year later.  This year we will be celebrating our 15th anniversary.  My wife is probably one of the most amazing women I have ever met, especially in putting up with me all these years.  I certainly didn’t make life easy for her in the beginning, but she has stood by my side and loved me through it all.  I am such a better man for having her in my life.  My wife is a full-time homemaker/wife/mom.  My kids call me Papa that’s where I got the name for the blog.  We have 6 children, our oldest daughter is 13, our son is 11, daughter #2 is 9, daughter #3 is 8, daughter #4 is almost 3 and our other boy is 3.  The oldest 4 are our biological children and the youngest girl is our niece whom we adopted and have had since we took her home from the hospital.  The youngest boy is our foster son and we are in the process of finalizing his adoption.  That will be all the children we are having as I have told my wife, at some point I want to be able to stop telling kids what they need to do.  I know once you’re a parent your always a parent, but at some point I want to move away from making all the decisions.  The nice part about the youngest two is they are only 6 months apart.  I had always wanted to have twins and I feel like this is the answer to my prayer.  For those that don’t know us and know the story they just think they are twins. 
The other part to our family is our exchange students.  We house college age exchange students, which rotates anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months.  We actually had a student from Saudi Arabia who lived with us for 3 years.  It’s been an amazing experience that we will continue with even after our children grow up and move away.
I refer to us as Go4th Empire; we have 10 people that live in our home.  It’s like running a small business, at times it can get really chaotic and crazy, but we can’t imagine our life any other way.  We love it and wouldn’t have continued to do it all this time if we didn’t. 
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
I did not have a dad involved in my life or any other male role models while growing up, so I have had to figure it out on my own and I readily admit I fall flat on my face every single day.  Deciding to have a large family has also brought along its share of challenges.  Another part for me was never even considering my kids would have difficulties getting through school.  3 of my 4 biological children who have been diagnoses with ADHD and so having to put them on medication to be able to get through school took a lot out of me.  Because of my job I am not a big fan of putting people on medications.  We tried numerous other alternatives and it finally came down to having to put them on medication.  They are all doing well now, but the first year was horrible for me in coming to terms with it. 

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
You are influencing your children good or bad, you play a pivotal role in their life.  Step up, be the man and do it.  Engage yourself completely in their lives; be actively involved in all areas.  There should be no area that is off limits.  I have 4 daughters and we constantly talk about “girly” things. I hadn’t ever given much thought to any of this before, but it’s important to my daughters so it’s important to me.  You were put in your kid’s lives for a purpose and you need to fulfill your destiny courageously.  They need you to be their support system. 
5) Seeing that you (or your position) is in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
I actually feel like this is something I am able to do really well.  I am a structured, organized person and because of the size of my family we need a lot of structure and organization.  I divide up my time in so many areas all the time that it’s just become who I am.  I am very aware of taking time out for each person and when I am with them I am fully engaged and enjoy the time we have, once it’s over I am moving onto the next thing.  Many times I wish there were more hours in the day, but I just move with it.  If something comes up and I need to change plans, I change it and adjust accordingly.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
I have learned that we all want the very best for our children.  Those of us that are actively involved in our kids lives do all that we can to impact and shape their lives so that they will hopefully grow up being well educated, rounded people who can actively contribute to society and make an indelible mark on this world.  Dads are really supportive of one another, we know we do it differently and we encourage each other to continue doing our best.  The dad’s I connect with truly inspire me.

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
As I have said before, the military may have coined the phrase “the toughest job you will ever love” but it applies whole-heartedly to being a dad.  It’s more than I ever imagined and so much better then I ever dreamed.  I absolutely love and adore my children and get love in return from them for just being their dad, I still don’t have to do anything for them to love me, and they just do.  This blows my mind.  I have never been in a relationship like this with anyone. 
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Creating life and holding it in my arms.  Each time my wife told me she was pregnant, it boosted my ego in a way nothing else has.  I felt like I was really the man, I had helped create a life.  Then when she gave birth and I got to hold them in my arm for the first time, it is beyond words to describe it.

Even with my adopted daughter, it was difficult because she wasn’t ours biologically; it was awkward not watching my wife go through all the changes pregnancy brings.  When we brought her home I held her, gave her hugs and kisses but I wasn’t connecting with her as I had with my other kids.  She was around 6 months and I was holding her and talking to her and it was just this moment of looking at her that it all changed.  The adoption wasn’t finalized yet, but I connected with her and felt like this child is mine and from that moment it’s just like she’s one of our biological children

If you have any questions for Chris, 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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