David Hirsch talks to a special father who’s a media marketing manager, the head of partnerships at Voxnet and Spreaker and a podcaster extraordinaire, Rob Greenlee.
Rob has two children, Michael and Carolyn, who both have experienced the challenges of ADHD. We’ll hear their story on this Special Fathers Network Podcast with Rob Greenlee.
Dad To Dad 14 – Rob Greenlee, VP Spreaker, tells of raising two children with ADHD.
Tom Couch: This is the Special Fathers Network podcast. The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process. New fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for fathers to support fathers.
Sometimes the mentor father is just there to answer a few questions. Sometimes they become good friends. It’s a proven support system for new fathers with special needs kids. If you’re a father looking for support or if you’re a dad who’d like to offer support, go to 21stcenturydads.org that’s 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: Hi, I’m David Hirsch.
This is the Special Fathers Network podcast stories of fathers helping fathers,
Tom Couch: and I’m Tom couch. Today David talks to a special father who’s a digital media marketing manager. Head of partnerships at Box NMest and Spreaker and podcast are Xtrordinair. Rob Greenlee.
Rob Greenlee: Nine evolutions of podcasting in 2017. This is Rob Greenlee and I am doing a quick audio podcast on my blog. Welcome to the Spreaker live show. This is episode 105 my name is Rob Greenlee, the head of content at Spreaker. My career has really been centered around podcasting, so I’ve been very fortunate to build a career around that medium.
Tom Couch: Rob has two children, Michael and Carolyn, who both have experienced the challenges of ADHD.
Rob Greenlee: Just making sure that you’re really engaged in that process of understanding what’s going on with your children and not just jumping to conclusions that the easiest thing is to do is just to throw medication at them.
Tom Couch: It’s the Special Gathers Network podcast with Rob Greenlee. Here’s David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: I’m thrilled to be talking today with my friend Rob Greenlee, who lives in Seattle, Washington.
Rob, thank you for taking time to do a podcast interview for the Special Fathers Network.
Rob Greenlee: Well, David, it’s great to be here. Thanks for the invite and it’s an honor to join you. Thank you.
David Hirsch: You and your current wife, Dana, had been married for 23 years. You and your first wife, Janice, our parents to two children.
Michael, who’s 30 and Carolyn, who’s 28 both who are diagnosed at an early age with ADHD and hyperactive behavior. Let’s start with some background. You grew up in the Seattle Bellevue area. Tell me something about your family.
Rob Greenlee: Well, I had a couple of parents that were teachers, and so I grew up in a. The household that was very much focused on childhood education.
I had my challenges too. I was a, a learning disabled and, uh, had ADHD, which is what they called us, which is the hyperactive disorder. Fortunately, I grew a lot of that stuff, but some of those things kind of ride with you into your. Uh, your adulthood as well. So you kind of have to learn how to learn and learn how to adapt to your, your brain chemistry.
And that also applied to my children as well. They got what I had, I guess.
David Hirsch: Okay. So, uh, you grew up in Bellevue, Seattle area. Your parents were school teachers. How would you characterize your relationship with your dad?
Rob Greenlee: It was good. I mean, my father was a little bit unwell, Lou for a little bit. He was not a, a, what I would call a, a deep emotional father.
Um, as far as. Connecting at that level with me. So, and that’s not necessarily uncommon with fathers of his generation, of not having that type of deep kind of emotional relationship with their kids or their sons or whatever. You know? I knew that he loved me and I knew that he cared and he certainly never treated me poorly.
It was just, there was almost like a little bit of a standoff offish type of. Our relationship that we always have had. But I’ve always been still close to him though. So it’s been this kind of like a balance between kind of being close, but not being that close, if you know what I mean. Sure.
David Hirsch: Well, I know that people of our dad’s generation, cause we’re about the same age, they were expected to be providers.
So if you’ve got a roof over your family’s head, you paid the bills, you know, you send them to school. You know, that was sort of what was expected of dads and, uh, getting involved, uh, emotionally and spiritually, you know, physically being involved, you know, it wasn’t, you know, something all dads aspire to.
So it’s not uncommon at all. So when you think about your dad, is there anything that comes to mind. You know, a lesson that you learned, something that he said, a role model that he was, that you’d say that that was really what I admired most about my dad.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. I think there’s kind of two parts to that. I mean, I, there are parts of my father that I admire and that, uh, or were very good.
He was very calm father. He was very, um, stable. He was very, very much attentive to I think, my basic needs if I, as I was growing up. And that was, that was really important to me. And I think as you look at who I am today, I think he’s definitely had a significant influence on. The type of personality that I am, I mean much calm, generally relaxed confidence.
I get told this constantly by people that I’m around, that I’m a friendly person to be around. I’m generally positive and supporting of others, and those are all common traits that I saw in my father and nothing to take away from my mom, but my mom was a little bit more. The emotional swings type of a mom.
So she was, her emotions were on her sleeve. So I have a little bit of her in me as well. And that’s, that’s what was really interesting about the combination between my father and my mother was that they were, to some degree, from an emotional perspective and a communicative perspective, kind of at opposite opposite ends of the spectrum.
I came out of it. A little bit of a blend between the two of them and in some ways that was a good thing because I think it had put me in a situation where I felt more confident in putting myself out there and, and expressing myself at some point in my life where when I was younger though, I was probably a little bit more like my dad.
I was really quiet and. Reserved. And that was kinda how I approach raising my children too. So there were times when I needed to be, you know, assertive and get in to the situation of being a father. And then there was other times where I felt like I needed to step back and just let things right out a little bit.
Kind of like what my dad showed me to do sometimes.
David Hirsch: Okay. Well, when you were growing up, were there any other father figures in addition to your dad?
Rob Greenlee: Yeah, I mean, I can point to quite a few actually. Um, I don’t know if you can qualify a father figure as someone that would be like a, like a sports coach.
Sure. On the basketball side, I played college in high school and probably a stronger perspective than I think I got from my own father would be from probably three coaches that I had in high school and college that were really, really strong. Men and really, really strong leaders that had skills to gather young people’s respect as well as discipline.
And to help me understand that for me to be successful, I have to, um, do certain things in my life. And those, those guys gave, gave me those examples.
David Hirsch: I’ll pick one of them out and give me a specific example of what your best takeaway was or what you learned.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah, I would say that the coach that coached me in junior high school and really was it a very important time of my life as I was growing up and just being involved in a team and building friendships with other players as well as having a coach that was very, very, um, positive towards me as well because I, I think that was really important at me at the time cause I think I had fairly low self confidence.
So. Trying to build me up and trying to find me some, some success in my life was pretty important. Being in a learning disability kid, uh, you know, with some learning challenges, having self confidence at an early age was kind of difficult. So these coaches were able to funnel my, my abilities and my talent into ’em.
Some levels of success of winning and being able to achieve certain goals and things like that, which were very important to me at the time. Probably even more so than than school.
David Hirsch: And that’s really impressive because, uh, when you look back on it, uh, maybe it was some of the lessons that you learn there about building self esteem and confidence that served you well as a dad.
You know, knowing that your kids were struggling a little bit with some of the same challenges that you had as well.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. Yeah, and they took a little bit of that path too. They both, both my kids played, played sports in school. They didn’t achieve the same type of experience or success that I did, and that would have helped them if they would have had that experience, but at the time and where they were going to school, they just did not have access to the same caliber of kind of coaches that I had access to when I was growing up.
And at the time it was very frustrating for me because I could definitely see. That the caliber of coaches, whether it be male or female, we’re just not that strong. I felt like, you know, over the years that they kind of lost out on that type of experience that I had.
David Hirsch: Okay. So, uh, after college, I think I remember you said you went into the restaurant business, so give me a quick fly by.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. So, well, I could probably talk a whole podcast just about that, but, um, but I should probably keep it, keep it short and concise. But yeah, I got in the restaurant business, I was kind of a family business. What it was at the time, it was like a, almost like a franchise opportunity and within the family that I had.
Married into that family, uh, wanted to expand their stores. And, you know, I went into business with my wife and worked out for five years. Worked a restaurant, was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, um, at an early age, was going into business with your wife and, and also be involved in a family business.
So I’ve been in a lot of different jobs over the years. We’re working for the biggest. Companies in the world, like Microsoft and ConAgra and Chiquita brands to working for myself, being a consultant. So I, I’ve had those complete experiences on many sides of the fence, and I will tell you that there’s no best place to be.
There’s, uh, it may seem like there’s, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but, uh, it’s just different. But I would say, you know, really my career has really followed my passions over the years, and it hasn’t followed sports, but it’s been on the business and marketing side, which there’s a lot of correlation between sports and in business around work ethics and building relationships and teamwork.
So, uh, those backgrounds for me really, I think really helped me.
David Hirsch: So to recap, you started in a family business, sort of the smaller business environment, uh, when and do a big business environment, uh, with Chiquita brands, kind of Agra, Microsoft, those type of businesses. And then more recently have been doing consulting and you also have a relationship with speaker.
Rob Greenlee: Yes.
David Hirsch: So let’s spend a minute just talking about spree car and what that does.
Rob Greenlee: Well, the last 14 years of my working career has been focused on working in the area of podcasting, basically creating audio shows. I created a radio show back in the late nineties that then gave me skills at online distribution of like.
Talk radio shows. And so I’ve spent the last, uh, I don’t know, 17 years actually doing that work. And then the last 14 years being a professional in the podcasting space, working on platforms at places like. A Microsoft podcast, one.com and now Spreaker. And now we’ve kind of rolled into a new company called box nest.
But that’s a whole nother conversation. But, uh, needless to say, my career has really been centered around talk radio and podcasting. So I’ve been very fortunate to build a career around that medium. Um, not that many people have been able to build a. A career to get paid to work in the podcasting space.
So it’s not a space that’s been very lucrative over the years. So I’ve been very fortunate to help build that industry and, and, and be involved in it at a fairly high level for, for many years. So,
David Hirsch: so for somebody who’s not familiar with the podcast industry, who might just be listening to this podcast for the very first time, coincidentally on Spreaker, what do they need to know about Spreaker.
How would you describe the company?
Rob Greenlee: Well, it’s a complete platform for creating a, an audio show, an online audio show that then can be distributed as a podcast or a downloadable audio file can also enable you to create a live type of audio radio show, kind of thing and then have that become a podcast that’s available in places like iTunes or Apple podcasts or Stitcher, or tune in and more and more, even Spotify is now offering audio podcasts as part of their content offering with their music.
All the big companies. You know, like I worked on Zune, which I don’t know if any of your listeners have heard of Zune, but I spent six years working on building the podcast platform for Zune at Microsoft and Xbox live. So I spent a lot of years doing that. But that’s kind of what podcasting is, is just spoken word, audio that’s kind of slowly over time replacing talk radio.
David Hirsch: So. Excellent.
Well, thank you for sharing a little bit with the neophytes, like myself out there on the world of podcasting. So let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about your connection to what I refer to broadly as the special needs community. Michael was born 30 years ago, and I remember you guys got pregnant and then you got married.
Rob Greenlee: Not to make too much of that, you know, within a few months of each other, but yeah. Yeah.
David Hirsch: Okay. So, um, I, I, again, that’s not the focus, but the point is that you became a dad at a very young age. And at what age was Michael and then Caroline diagnosed with ADHD?
Rob Greenlee: I don’t know that I, I remember an exact age. I think it was when they were in, um, junior high school I think is when, when it became kind of more obvious that they had some learning challenges.
Cause you know, through the. Kindergarten. It’s a little hard to tell. I think as you get into kind of more structured school, I think those symptoms tend to expose themselves a little bit more. And that was my experience as well cause I had all those symptoms too, so I could totally relate to what they were going through.
My mom was a really an expert at this and I was really fortunate to have a mom that focused on. Early childhood education, and that’s what she did professionally. So I got a lot of help that probably a lot of other kids would not have gotten because back in those days, back when I, I was diagnosed with it, it was kind of a new thing.
People weren’t really that knowledgeable about it, but I was put on Ritalin. That was put on those. Those early medications as well. I didn’t actually stay on it very long because my mom didn’t really like Ritalin as a solution to it. She was more, I think she was really kind of cutting edge about how people think of a learning disability and the ADHD.
Syndrome, and it seems to be a pretty widespread issue right now in the schools with kids. And it may be caused by a lot of things that maybe people don’t really understand that could be causing it. Um, that could be environmental, it could be how you were raised, it could be your diet. A lot of those things.
And those were the areas that we focused on, at least with me. And also tried to do that. You know, I’m with my own kids, was trying to address the. The root causes instead of just medicating. I think the schools were really inclined to just medicate because it was the easiest thing to do, but it wasn’t really addressing the core issues and being ADHD.
It does not mean that you’re not intelligent or that you’re not smart. It just means that you learn in a different way. And it doesn’t always conform to how the education system wants to structure a curriculum and how it is presented to kids that have that. Um, it’s just cause they, they learn a different way and they maybe learn a little slower and you have to teach them in a different.
Process to actually, um, get, get that education into their head. And sometimes the kids just get bored and a lot of it gets back to, they’re just bored. You know, especially with the hyperactive aspects of it. The kids need to be stimulated constantly. And if the kids are sitting around all day, you know, and not really getting any kind of physical stimulation or anything like that in conjunction with the learning.
Then they tend to drift and start fidgeting and doing other things. And I had all those problems too growing up. So I was just an active kid. That’s why I played sports. I mean, and I was successful playing sports cause I was an active kid. I wanted to physically move. And it wasn’t till later in my life that I was really much more inclined to doing more academic or more thinking activities, right.
In less physical activities. So I think a lot of kids will transition through that phase. Um, so that, that’s kind of, you know, kind of a rough summary of what my, my overall philosophy and my experience was with it, you know, with me in with my kids.
David Hirsch: So, was there any advice that you got when your kids were in junior high or whatever age they were diagnosed with ADHD that you can look back on and say, Oh, that was really helpful?
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. Well, I think. Just making sure that you’re really engaged in that process, um, of understanding what’s going on with your children. Um, and not just jumping to conclusions that the easiest thing is to do is just to throw medication at them. I think really trying to work through the issue and trying to come up with solutions that is not going to mess with their brain chemistry too much than be as natural as you can with it.
Because. I mean a lot of the doctors you asked them and they can’t give you a clear answer. Well, what’s the longterm effect of giving a young brain this psychoactive drug, which is basically, I mean it’s really a stimulant is what it is. So you’re basically giving speed to your, your child and there’s just no clear understanding.
Cause there hasn’t been a lot of research done. Maybe it has now, but on what the longterm impacts on the brain are. By giving that kind of a drug to, uh, you know, a young brain. So I think trying to treat it more from an environmental perspective and behavioral perspective seem to work best for us and in my kids turned out okay.
Uh, not being on Ritalin, but they had their challenges in the classroom and, and learning. Um, both my children didn’t wind up going to college like I did, you know, but that, there’s a lot of factors that go into that with. You know, young people today, it’s not just, I mean, for me there wasn’t any choice. I mean, both my parents were teachers and educators and, and went to college and I just didn’t look at it as any choice.
It was just something that I was going to do and, but my kids felt like they had more of a choice in the matter of whether or not they felt going to college was worth their time or worth their money. It’s a, it’s a decision that each person has to make for themselves. I mean, I, I tried to get them to go to college to some degree and it just didn’t work out for them.
So, and I didn’t push that hard because at some point there’s a, there’s a diminishing return on pushing your kids too hard.
David Hirsch: Oh, absolutely. You’ve got to nurture the intellectual curiosity in them so that they want to do it, not because somebody else wants them to do something. So I’m on the same page.
Rob Greenlee: Exactly.
David Hirsch: So. I know that it’s a little bit of a third rail, but I’m going to go there. You were married for seven years before getting divorced, and your kids were relatively young at the time. What were some of the greatest challenges that you faced during that sort of transition period?
Rob Greenlee: Well, the whole process was lengthy and drawn out.
Um, I mean, it was not a, a short experience by any stretch of the imagination things. Built up or over a period of time. And I think a lot of young parents, uh, kind of kind of go through this. Where are things, um, things kind of progress gradually and get, you know, kind of progressively worse and worse as far as in, in like family dynamics and family relationships.
There’s a resentments and. People feel like they’re getting, you know, neglected or not doing what they think others should be doing. And it creates conflict. So that was brewing. And I think it happens in a lot of young families, especially if they have children too quickly. I think it creates a lot of pressure and a lot of struggles so that it can kind of to set it up that those are the core things that tend to drive.
Division between parents, especially when you get into a, a relationship rather quickly with a spouse. Um, that in maybe you don’t have time to understand how they want to raise children. And so you have, sometimes that comes into play too, is where you have struggles between, there’s different parents. Um, processes that, um, two people have and they may not be compatible with each other.
And so you try and work through those things and sometimes they create conflict, then that’s, that’s a, that’s a good nutshell for what, what happened to me as well. I mean, and also I was a. At the time I was working in a restaurant, but I was also starting to transition over to being a traveling salesman of sorts.
So I was on the road traveling a lot, so I wasn’t around that much. So the kids were in daycare and there was just a lot of pressure that came out of that. You know, I just, you know, looking back on it, I, you know, having children at a really young age, I don’t know that it’s necessarily a wise thing. I think he needs to be a little bit more established in your relationship.
You need to understand your partner more. Those are all kind of look backs, you know, that I can see as, as sources of conflict. But as far as the, the impact of the children, um, as far as going through a divorce, um, you know, separation. Um, child custody struggles. That was a very, very drawn out, like two year long process, lots of court hearings, lots of caseworkers coming in, evaluating, you know, who’s the best parent and you know, investigations going on about, you know, home life and talking to friends and family and all sorts of stuff.
So it, it, it created a very complex situation. I had custody of my children for six months. Then the judge made a decision. That, uh, the best place for the kids would be with their mom. That ruling came down and even though all of the evidence pointed otherwise, uh, I think that there is a perspective that with some judges anyway, that the best place for children is with the mother here regardless.
I mean, unless there’s just, you know, really unbelievable situations on the part of the mother that are just totally unacceptable. And so, anyway, I, I wound up being a, um. You know, alternating weekend, kind of a father for my children for many years, for at least 10 to 15 years timeframe. And that was, that was a challenging process.
You know, I was married to a new new wife as part of that process. They were coming into the home and I had a step parent type relationship. You know, the situation with my new wife and my children. And. We chose not to have children. I’m talking about my new wife because I felt that I didn’t want to complicate the situation from the standpoint of having children with me from another marriage and then having my, you know, my first set of children coming into that situation and feeling like my attention was split and I wasn’t all in for them.
And so I was lucky to have a wife that was okay with that.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, it sounds like it was a challenging period of time. Robin, my heart reaches out to you and I appreciate your authenticity and just being able to speak about it because I know it’s difficult for men to express themselves, and I think it’s important for people to have a better understanding about it, not be opaque or.
Embarrassed to talk about these things. I’m hoping that by your sharing that some people gain some additional insights that they might not otherwise have and they can, uh, dig a little bit deeper or reflect on the experience before it gets to a breaking point like that.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. I really think it’s, it’s unfortunately pretty common out there now.
So I’m not really probably saying anything that there’s probably a million guys that have, haven’t been through. So life is very challenging now to be a father, frankly. And to be a mother, you know, trying to be a single mother is not, not an easy thing either. So, yeah.
David Hirsch: So, um, what role has spirituality played in your \life.
Rob Greenlee: Um, I was raised a Lutheran. Um, my parents went to church to some degree, but, uh, you know, fairly early on in my. My upbringing, we, we just, we stopped going to church. Um, I went to a Lutheran university. Um, so I did kind of stay on that, that, that track. And, and I think what it gets back to for me, it’s not so much that I’m a religious person of any great degree, but from a spirituality perspective, there’s some Clemmer there and I, I definitely are inclined to being around.
People that have values like that. And I enjoy it. And that’s, that’s why I went to a Lutheran university and I wanted to be around quality people. And that was what it was for me, being around good people. And I think that’s what was the most important thing for me. And I, you know, I think my children have, have had a off and on relationship with the Lord and, and with, um, going to church.
And, but I. It was never, you know, forced down them. It was always a choice that they had to make and I was always supportive of it.
Okay. So are there any organizations that you can think back on that, uh, played a important role in your kids’ lives when they were being challenged with some of the learning differences, the ADHD, or there are any organizations that you know, were available?
Or was it mostly school-based?
It was just mainly, it was mostly school-based and what we as parents took on as a, as a role in getting them tested or getting them, you know, supported in what they needed to do from a dietary perspective or a environmental perspective. I mean, try different things to see if it worked.
At the time, there really weren’t any organizations per se that were really focused on this area. Okay. I think what I felt was a very strong pressure to medicate from the school level. And I don’t know if that’s still today is I’ve been that kind of out of the school thing for many years now because my kids are well past those, those ages, but I do not see, you know, big signs of those things.
Still being big factors in my kids’ lives. I think they’re starting to, I think you somewhat outgrow some of that stuff.
David Hirsch: Um, with the benefit of hindsight. What, if anything would you do differently? Looking backwards? Not, uh,
Rob Greenlee: I probably would have been a little bit, um. I think I would have been a little bit slower and getting a family going in my own life, um, and, and being, being observant about it a little bit more, being, being more thoughtful about it.
Um, just because I felt like I got started a little too early. But, you know, in some ways I’m thankful that I got started early because it means that my kids are older and I’m not that old. So there’s two sides to that too. So it’s, um. I don’t know. I mean, it’s, it’s hard to look back and question what you did because it’s like you make the best choices that you can at the time.
Um, and it, it’s hard to really regret the choices because I think at the time I thought that they were, they were the right choice. I just have to think back on that and say, I did the best that I could. Um, and, and it was never perfect. I mean, there were problems and things were. We’re challenging. Um, but, but I think given the information I had at the time, uh, and in my emotional state or my knowledge of myself, um, I think I made the best decisions that I can.
So I don’t really have a lot of motto, regrets or things that I would have done differently necessarily. So, um, that’s a tough question for me. I, I, I would have liked to have not been as as much of a, uh, you know, a weekend alternating weekend father. Um. That would have been my, my better choice. I would have liked to have stayed in the relationship and Ben, uh, been a father that was there for them their whole lives.
Um, instead of this there for part of their lives. Okay.
David Hirsch: So let’s talk about Michael, who seems to be very athletic. He’s six foot seven, did you say?
Rob Greenlee: Yeah.
David Hirsch: And he’s married. And you have a grandson now?
Rob Greenlee: Yes.
David Hirsch: Siva, who is a year and a half. Yup. Michael is married to Olga and they live in Siberia. Russia, from what I remember you telling me?
Rob Greenlee: Yes. Yes, they do.
David Hirsch: So that seems like a very distant place, uh, to, uh, live. So, uh, how did that come about? And, um.
Rob Greenlee: Well, it was, you know, it’s a story that’s not unlike, uh, any other story of two people meeting and, and, um, building a, building a longterm relationship with each other. I mean, my son met Olga here in the United States on a traveling work visa that she had here for like six months or whatever.
And they just met and they just, they stayed in contact for like. Three or four years, uh, over Skype, um, and talk to each other. And he went back to Russia to visit with her at various times, spent, you know, a month or two or whatever. And then she would come out here to the United States and spend time with him out here.
And they just built a, you know, a remote relationship with each other, but it spanned years. So. Uh, you know, it wasn’t a rush to marriage type of situation, and it wasn’t something that happened very quickly. It was very deliberate what they did. These were choices that he made very thoughtfully. So I, I can fully respect that.
And he’s, he’s had children, you know, inside of a marriage and, and he’s done everything what society views as the right way to do things. You know, I think he’s done fantastic. So, um, though he’s a long ways away. Being a Siberia is not exactly right around the corner and it’s hard to see him on a regular basis.
I mean, he was out here, here for Thanksgiving and spent like a month and a half here. So I was able to spend quite a bit of time with my grandson and they would like me to come back to, to Russia at some point. And, uh, I will definitely do that. Um, just to meet her side of the family and, and now he’s expecting a second child, so
David Hirsch: Congratulations. That’s exciting.
Rob Greenlee: So there’s more grandchildren coming.
David Hirsch: So out of curiosity, did they get married in the States or did they get married back there? In Siberia,
Rob Greenlee: they got married in, in the United States, and they had the baby in Russia. So he is a dual citizen, so he’s got a passport for Russia and a passport for the United States.
David Hirsch: He’s quite a cosmopolitan guy at such a young age,
Rob Greenlee: and he’s learning both languages.
David Hirsch: Have you visited Siberia
Rob Greenlee: I have not yet, but my life is, has not given me a free moment to go to Russia, so, but I definitely want to hear soon. Okay,
David Hirsch: well, I’d like to circle back with you afterwards because everything I know about Siberia is it’s like really cold and really remote and it’s gotta be a warmer place and that is remote, but people actually live there and would live there by choice.
Like your, your son and your daughter in law. Olga. Yeah. So that’s exciting. So thanks for sharing. And Carolyn is a little younger. She lives in Phoenix. And, uh. She’s single and she’s also expecting, from what I remember you telling me?
Rob Greenlee: Yes, yes. I just, actually just this past weekend, had a baby shower in my house.
That’s where I’m at. She’s here right now, so, okay. Yeah.
David Hirsch: So that’s exciting. You’re going to be a grandfather for a second, and then when Michael and I’ll go have a second child for a third time in relatively short order here.
Rob Greenlee: So I’ll have three young grandchildren here very soon.
David Hirsch: That’s very exciting. So, um, I don’t know much about Carolyn’s situation, but, um.
What would you want to share about that?
Rob Greenlee: Oh, she’s been really a active person, um, doing modeling and has been doing a lot of traveling. She’s been involved in, in, uh, in doing kind of marketing activities and promotions and things like that for many, many years. And, you know, I think in some ways, a little bit follows kind of my.
You know her, I think she is attracted to very similar things than, than I am. And because I was a marketing and promotions kind of person too. So, you know, there’s a lot of commonality there that I see and, and her, her passions and her drives and things like that. So she’s, she’s really kind of followed my lead, I guess, to some degree.
And, and, and has been a. Been an amazing daughter. I mean, she’s achieved a lot in her life, and, um, and she’s grown up. She’s, um, you know, she’s an amazingly smart person and she, I’m just really, really proud of her. Um, and she had a fairly challenging upbringing and, and you know, you know, with their ADHD learning disability, but she seems to have marched right through that.
And as. Building a successful life for herself and in this, you know, she’s going to have a, going to have a baby here. It’s going to be a little boy. And, uh, I’m, I’m, I’m proud of her and I think she’s going to be a very successful mom.
David Hirsch: Excellent. Well, I’m wishing them the best of luck as young parents. And you as a new grandfather.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah, thanks.
David Hirsch: And everybody tells me that being a grandparent is like the best experience. My mom actually said, if I knew how great grandchildren were, I would had them first.
Rob Greenlee: You have a lot of control over that one. Right? So, uh,
David Hirsch: I’m thinking about advice that you might give, uh, young parents. About raising children with, uh, differences. So, uh, what advice can you share with dads or parents for that matter about helping a young child with learning differences reach their full potential.
Rob Greenlee: Ooh, that’s a, that’s a mouthful. Uh, I would say just, um, patience and consistency and building confidence in them are the key things. And don’t get too wrapped up in the, the emotional swings that can come about. I think one of the things, I mean, at least with my daughter anyway, was, um, you know, at times when she was a little older.
I think there’s a tendency of parents to kind of give their kids everything they want to kind of appease them or to try and satisfy them by just giving them everything that they want. And I think it’s created a whole generation of children and in mind, we’re a little bit like this too, where they felt a fairly, a fair amount of entitlement or that the world owed them something or that they, they just had to show up.
And, um, and they would be successful. I think trying to drive personal responsibility. And I think especially as they get older, um, and, and maybe having to do some tough things with your kids to kind of influence them to make responsible choices and not just expect the parents to, to always pick up the pieces and to put, put things back together again or to.
A hundred percent financially support everything that happens in their lives. That would be one thing that I would, I would say that if you want to have a responsible child that grows up into being a responsible adult, you have to put them in situations where they can learn how to succeed. Um, in being a, a responsible person that takes care of themselves, um, and as well as is helpful to others.
And, and, and I think those are, those are key traits. It’s not just about just getting whatever they want, um, as easy as it’s possible. I think it’s, it’s about earning what they get and taking their, the responsibility that comes with. That, um, that freedom. And, and in a lot of ways it’s, it is about freedom because if they’re empowered to be successful and taking responsibility, they will achieve freedom of their own existence and not be dependent on others.
And I think that those are key. Characteristics that, um, you know, I’ve, I’ve tried to drive home with my kids, especially as they’ve gotten older or over the years. It was hard. Sometimes it wasn’t easy to, to force kids to be responsible sometimes because they, you know, naturally don’t want to be, they want to find the easy way out.
Um, so teaching them ways to solve problems for themselves will pay off dividends in the long run.
That’s very well said. I’m going to ask you a very specific question about the special fathers network. Why did you agree to be a mentor? Father. As part of the special father’s network?
Well, because I think there is, you know, a certain amount of experience that, that our father gains, or over the many years of raising kids and, and it’s, it may be helpful to others.
You know, it’s just like what I’m doing, you know, I’m with my own kids now as they become fathers or mothers or whatever is sharing experiences and ways for them to look at their. Parenthood just based on the many years of my struggles of being a parent and not really knowing how to do it. I didn’t really have mentors that was really, really sharing with me how to be a parent.
All I could take as examples that were given to me from coaches to my own parents. If I can help others, then, then I think that’s good just by telling my own experiences.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. Thank you. So is there anything else you’d like to say before we wrap up?
Rob Greenlee: Um, let me say, just love your kids. I mean, just be there for them and, and just do everything that you, you can, but yet at the same time, hold them responsible because in the long run that that’s what’s going to make them successful adults.
David Hirsch: Excellent. So if somebody wanted information on speaker. Where would they go?
Rob Greenlee: Just go to spreaker.com and that’s spelled with an R as a speaker. It’s the combination of speaking and a speaker. So spreaker, if you want to have your own audio podcast show, that’s a great place to go to do that. And you can do it live or you can just record it.
Um, so. That would be all. I would really say,
David Hirsch: Rob, thank you for your time and many insights. As reminder, Rob is just one of the dads who has agreed to be a mentor. Father, as part of the special fathers network, a mentoring program for fathers, raising a child with special needs. If you’d like to be a mentor father or are seeking advice from a mentor father with a similar situation your own, please go to 21stcenturydads.org.
Thanks again, Rob.
Rob Greenlee: Alright, thank you.
Tom Couch: The Special Father’s Network. He’s a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children. Special needs through our personalized matching process. New fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for fathers to support fathers.
Sometimes the mentor father is just there to answer a few questions. Sometimes they become good friends. It’s a proven support system for new fathers with special needs kids. If you’re a father looking for support or if you’re a dad who’d like to offer support, go to 21stcenturydads.org that’s 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And thank you for listening to this Special Fathers Network podcast stories of fathers helping fathers.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network podcast was produced for 21st Century Dads by Couch Audio. And again, to find out more about the Special Father’s Network, go to 21stcenturydads.org. 21stcenturydads.org.