Parenting is an incredibly important responsibility and so we wanted to get a conversation going with input from parents in the community. We asked them: what is the most important thing you’ve done as a parent? We’ve highlighted some of the responses below.

Brian Rickel | Theater Practitioner, Professor and Human

We had our child fairly late in life and this is a subject I’ve thought a lot about as our child grows into a beautiful human being. To date, I believe the most important thing we’ve done as parents is to show our child that love reigns supreme in all ways. Not only do we remind each other multiple times a day that we love each other, but we try to instill “love” as a place from which to lead in every corner of life. The simple fact of the matter is that I am a partner in raising a person who will become (so long as this gender identification sticks…) a white man in America. For many, our son will represent oppression, fear and anxiety. We’ve already had someone comment on how “pure” he looks and it felt vile. While this reality will always break my heart, it is the simple truth and one he will need to face with love, respect and care. Read more>>

Sam & Shermeen Greenmun: Wear It Iz, LLC

We feel the most important thing we do for our children as parents is to give them hope. To be present for, listen to and discuss with our children those topics that are important to their happy and healthy development. To show them the possibilities through our everyday actions, home, work and school activities, and learning experiences in a supportive positive manner. Read more>>

Henry Kellem | Entrepreneur and Self-Help Educator

First and foremost, I’m a father. That comes first, even before Henry Kellem, CEO of Heights Entertainment. Having grown up in a continuous cycle of generational poverty and not knowing my own father, I’ve committed myself to being the best father I can to my daughter, Layla. For starters, I didn’t really have a childhood. I was forced to grow up quickly, but I knew the importance of parental presence during early formative years, so my daughter will grow up into a resilient, caring, and strong individual. Being my own boss, gave me the flexibility to work from home, most of the time, and to be there to support her growth into an intelligent, curious, and wonderful young girl. As I mentioned, I grew up without a father and, therefore, I had to learn a lot about life on my own. I believe in sharing these lessons so that somebody else won’t have to learn the hard way, like I did. When my wife, Dana, and I decided to become parents, we already knew what kind of influence we wanted to have on our child. We have created a safe environment full of mutual trust and understanding so our daughter can confide in us because she knows we will stand behind her, regardless of the path in life she chooses. Read more>>

Judy Stella | Mother of 2 & Entrepreneur

Parenting has been one of the most fulfilling and challenging experiences in my life. I’m a proud mother to 2 beautiful children to whom every day I’m committed to guiding and supporting endlessly. It’s important to me to nurture their curiosity, teach emotional intelligence, instill core values, and provide a loving and nurturing environment. Most importantly, to raise children with a strong sense of self, healthy self-esteem, and a passion to live their lives abundantly. I believe that the most important thing I’ve done as a parent that will have a tremendous impact on my children is my openness to seeking help and support from a mental health professional. As a child, I endured many years of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse in my home; and the abuse came mostly from my mother. I understood the long-term effects that the abuse had on my self-esteem and the choices in my life. I made a pivotal choice to speak about the trauma I experienced and for the first time, feel the pain and sadness from my childhood. Read more>>

Candy G. Foelix | Vice President, Co-Founder, Chief of Strategy & Growth of Child of this Culture Foundation, Holistic Wellness Expert, Live Streamer + Podcaster, Wife, and Mother of 2

Parenting is an adventure. The best advice I was given prior to becoming a parent was to do your best to not take anything your kids do or say personal, regardless if it’s praise or not. I quickly learned how hard that would be. As a caregiver you are given this incredible privilege to witness and support the growth of another life. You have an opportunity to share knowledge and unconditional love on such a deep level. There’s a thought tradition that I am passing on to my kids. That they have the ability in this life to tap into their highest potential. My hope is that they know they are a miracle and that they matter. I think the most important thing I’ve done as a parent in terms of the impact on my children would be to make sure they feel welcomed, seen, heard, valued, loved and supported. Read more>>

Jocelyn Crawford | Event Stylist

I am a mother of two biological children and a stepmother of 3. I think one of the most important things I’ve done as a parent is to allow them to see the hard work as well as the reward that comes from being a business owner/entrepreneur. They see first hand the unconventional hours, the struggle to balance work and life as well as the fruits of my labor. They get to see that Event Coordinating is not all about cotton candy and bounce houses. In between the confetti and balloons there’s client retention and vendor relationships, those are the things of value that you can build a business upon. Read more>>

Ezra Vallez | Tech Guru, IT Analyst & a Mother

I’ve left anything behind that conflicted with the success of my child and his happiness. COVID-19 had a huge impact on my career and my child, finding time for homeschooling full time to socialization was difficult. There were some days where he would get up and dread online learning, he only enjoyed moments where his friends can interact with eachother in virtual class through music or interactive learning. When the parks shut down, it was crunch time to find new creative ways to keep him engaged. I went from being a full time IT analyst to a full time Teacher, school nurse, lunch lady, etc all within an 8 hour work day. Some of the major changes I found myself making were a change in jobs to better reflect his new schedule, hiring a tutor to help in the areas he was falling behind in, creating a community around us that could help offset some of these new growing pains. All of these things required some form of sacrifice in my life and his. Read more>>