We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Felsen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
The most important thing I’ve done is to meet my son where he is. It’s often said that children don’t learn from what you say, but from what you do. But children learn from both of these things. They listen to what you say – and then they go and do what they think will give them the greatest pleasure and cause them the least pain (and what they think they can get away with). And children certainly watch your actions – while deciding whether they even want to live a life like yours, and evaluating whether your words truly are congruent with your actions. More than any particular words and actions, the most important thing I’ve done is to monitor and modulate the words I use and the actions I take with my child – to meet him where he is. For words, I found that he was responsive to some types of commands, wishes, requests, and suggestions, but not to others. I continually listened for what love languages were most important to him, and I spoke in those languages. And I guided him to be the one to suggest and take ownership of extracurricular activities that he would take joy in, instead of foisting on him the ones I wanted him to do. At the end of the day, I think that the life I live and the example I set are what I would have done anyway, and they are just a baseline for decent parenting – so I think that spending time, speaking loving words, looking him in the eye, and meeting him where he’s at has more of an impact than any one particular thing. But I’m not “at the end of the day” yet, so my thoughts on the matter may change.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve had a mixture of entrepreneurial roles (founding a major music conference and now an ad agency) and executive leadership roles (including President of CD Baby and AdRev). None of it was easy. The difficult part is that every 6 years I need to take an artist sabbatical to fulfill my artist side – which has led me to release record albums, direct documentary feature films, and perform all over the world in dance and theater. Switching gears is always a little bit bumpy, but I feel like I don’t have a choice.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I’d take them to the Museum of Jurassic Technology, to some hidden beaches, to the usual sites, to some ethnic food (probably Ethiopian and Szechuan), and to some of the wacky themed bars. That is, if there’s not a pandemic.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Since the question is about parenting, I would have to say my parents.