We asked some fantastic parents from in and around the city to tell us about the most important thing they have done as parents.

Rakeisha Smitherman-Muiruri | Real Estate Broker, Author and Credit Repair Specialist

I think the most important things as a parent are to teach your children to:  1. Think for themselves 2. Never be afraid to be different 3. Trust in their own abilities These things make the biggest impact because they will carry them through life and are necessary in so many different situations. Read more>>

Seth Martino | Content Creator & Brawn Model

I think the most important impact I will have on my children is to teach them that it’s ok to challenge authority. It’s ok to challenge the status quo. It’s ok to be different and do things out of order and work hard to live outside of societal norms. Above all else, before you have kids yourself, make sure you have worked on yourself so you can give them all the love and attention they deserve. Read more>>

Bobby Brader | Pianist, Composer, Orchestrator and Music Director

My young children, Cullen and Audrina, both love music in Film, TV and Games. Like their nerdy father, they enjoy rudely interrupting [anything] Star Wars to point out, “It’s Yoda’s Theme!,” or rewind an episode of Masha And The Bear to ask, “Hey dad, what is this Classical music being played here? Is it Beethoven?!” I believe I’ve not taught, but fostered a heightened awareness of music while they are enjoying visual media. I love that they love music. Read more>>

Nikki Blak | Artist, Womanist and Anti Oppression Educator

I think that the most important thing that I’ve done as a parent is parent myself. Understanding that I don’t own my children and that my job is to simply guide, affirm and bear witness to their lives allows me to interrogate my own social conditioning. Parenting myself empowers me to resist the urge to control them. I belong to me. No one else does, not even my kids. They belong to themselves. That realization, is incredibly liberating and humanizing and allows me to give myself grace and grow in compassion. When I do that, my children benefit. Read more>>

Shaunte’ Rodriguez | Mother & Entrepreneur

I think the most important. thing that I’ve done as a parent in terms of the impact of my child is continuing to go after my dreams and goals. Having my child has given me more motivation to push harder for what I want to achieve in life. By achieving these aspirations I hope that it will set up a great foundation for my son’s future. Read more>>

Sonya Villegas Kelsen | Co-Founder of Colony Wine Merchant & The Napa Kitchen

The most important thing I have done as a parent is give my daughter the wings to fly. It was incredibly hard for me when she left home as I was constantly concerned about her well being. BUT I also knew she was very capable and wise. I knew she would make mistakes and get hurt, but I also knew she would never get into trouble. As a young adult she supported herself in the most expensive and challenging cities (San Francisco) in California. She grew a lot and learned life lessons most of use don;t learn until we are in our 30’s. She is now our chef and we could not be more proud. Read more>>

Neil Charles | Actor & Comedian

I am a parent. A step parent, and I think one of the most important things I’ve tried to teach is to not be a follower. People love to follow the crowd these days and love their “safety nets”. It’s ok to be different and have an opinion about something even if it’s not of the hive mind. Read more>>

Hanna Donnelly | Personal & Online Wardrobe Stylist

Honesty and transparency. I try to share what’s going on in the world as much as possible with my son (5) in a responsible way. We talk about injustices and how folks are treated differently. I am trying to teach him that at the end of the day kindness is most important. He told me recently “mom, you give me kindness so I share kindness.” That day made me feel like I was doing something right. Read more>>

Kelley D’Angelo | Founder, President & CEO Lark Ellen Farm

Starting Lark Ellen Farm was a big risk as I am a single parent with primary custody of my children. As my company has grown so have my children now 18 and 20. They have matured while this company has matured and have both seen the sacrifices, dedication and hours required to successfully grow a business. Both children have run our Farmer’s Market booth and done deliveries and worked in the factory. They are both so proud of the company and want to see it succeed. They have had to work at times whe it wasn’t convenient for them and perform jobs that weren’t ideal. However, they have learned what happens when someone doesn’t come to work or if an employee isn’t being a team player. This is an invaluable life skill and one that will help them to be successful in their chosen professions. I believe strongly that the best way to teach my kids is by being an example of what I want them to learn. Read more>>