Written by Chris Quinn, President & CEO of The Step2 Company, as part of the We’re Dads Too series.
As we transition from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the values my parents instilled and the challenges we face today to ensure these values persist in future generations. I am incredibly blessed to still have both my mother and father alive in generally good health (for their age). As I look back at the impact each have had in my life I often wonder if I as a father am living up to the standards set by my parents.
As a father in the 21st century the challenges we are facing, I believe, are not necessarily more numerous, but thanks to technology, seem more complex. If we look back at our upbringing and the key influencing factors contributing to our development as children and contrast our experience to what exists today, we have to realize that our children are being bombarded by more external and global factors than we could have ever imagined, even just a few years ago.
The aperture of external content and opinions that influence how our kids think (thanks to the internet and global connectivity) is wider than ever and can seem to daunting at times, yet by taking our responsibility as parents to the next level, can represent an empowering and positive opportunity.
One of the lessons I have learned is that I should have been more strict about “screen time” than I was with my son, in particular. While the internet itself is in no way “bad” nor filled only with negative content, I believe it can impact a child’s development and that more effectively managing/limiting “screen time” is an incredibly important responsibility I personally should have embraced more actively. While my son is doing great and is in college at Boston University studying graphic arts, I think his ability to engage in large social situations has been impacted by the amount of hours he spent on the internet.
On the positive side, I have also learned valuable lessons and, as we look back, am very happy we as parents insisted we eat dinner together, attend church, and take one family trip every year (since the kids were three years old). I have found the time we have spent together has served to effectively detoxify our kids from some of the pollution they are exposed to on the internet as well as in society.
There is no magic formula I would advocate for a father and or parents. As the CEO of Step2, I am deeply and personally committed to ensuring our toys and play patterns provide amazing opportunities for kids to just be kids. As the leader, I pray and hope our innovative products contribute to imaginative play time between mother and child, father and child, and child and peers/siblings. Driving more grass roots fun time, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.
Chris is the CEO and President at Step2. His most important roles also include being a husband and loving father of two. He enjoys spending time with his family and traveling. Chris is a big sports fan and active in community service.