Billy Graham said, “A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”
On this Father’s Day, we celebrate all fathers and recognize their importance. Marietta resident Chris Raabe is one of those fathers and took the time to share his thoughts on fatherhood.
According to Raabe, fatherhood can be fun. “I get to act like a kid again. I get to play,” said Chris, who is married to Kelly Raabe. The couple has three children: Betsy, 12, Jack, 10, and Hank, 7.
There are many lessons that Raabe deems valuable for his children, such as humility and treating others the way you want to be treated. “I love getting to teach and develop my children hopefully into productive members of society,” said Chris, who is the senior director of operations of HD Supply.
Learning by example is important. “I admire my father. He’s self-made, worked his tail off, cares about people and is humble,” Chris said.
Fathers have many roles, including that of a provider. “I need to make sure that my children are given every opportunity and for them to be successful. I have a saying, ‘All you can ask for is an opportunity.’ What you do with it is really up to you,” he said.
But providing is only one role, according to Chris. “Unconditional love and discipline is another. To teach them how to be successful in whatever way that makes them happy. To push them, but not too hard. To challenge them, but also not to a point that it’s unhealthy,” he said.
“At some point, the role of a father is to be a friend, which is where my dad and I are right now,” Chris added.
Parenting does come with challenges. “Slowing down is one of the biggest challenges for me. There are a lot things we take for granted everyday. The back and forth, just to do the simple things. Sometimes you just need to slow down and meet them where they’re at,” he said.
Chris and Kelly parent as a team. “Kelly’s definitely the better half of the equation, for sure,” he said. “She creates an atmosphere that’s just good to be around. Our home is a positive, upbeat environment. She knows when I need my own time and when to create space for all of us to recharge. She can read me when it’s time for her to jump in and help out. We tag team pretty well. She also teaches me patience. We are very different individuals and she brings different things to the table. We are sort of opposites attract. She brings the patience and the calm to the situation. I bring more of the energy and get stuff done quickly.”
Kelly said that Chris’ greatest quality as a father is his eagerness to teach and support his children. “Whether it’s school or sports or even chores around the house, Chris takes the time to coach and cheer all at once,” she said. “He’s even on occasion practiced a cheer or dance move with Betsy. He never misses a chance to throw a baseball or solve a math problem, and believes in teaching eye contact, a firm handshake and a solid golf swing. We’re lucky to call him ours.”