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Dad Advice from Figgy Cofounder, Chris Roepe: Navigating Parenthood with Heart and Wisdom

Chris Roepe is a Madison, WI co-founder of Figgy and proud dad of two kids!  Read his parenting advice and lessons learned here.

Parenting is an adventure filled with its own set of challenges and rewards. As the founder of Figgy and a father to two wonderful boys, Lucas and Jacob, I've navigated the waters of both entrepreneurship and fatherhood. Here are his tips that he wants to share with you.

Dad and his two sons standing by a lake at sunset

1. Embrace Your Parenting Age

Understanding Your Parenting Journey

When your first child turns five, you, as a parent, are also five years old in that moment of your parenting journey. It's essential to recognize that parenting is a learning process. Just as your child grows and evolves, so do your skills and understanding as a parent. Give yourself grace and room to grow. Mistakes are not failures; they're opportunities to learn and improve.

The Importance of Self-Compassion

Being hard on yourself serves no one, least of all your children. They benefit from a parent or person who is patient and forgiving with themselves. This, in turn, teaches them to be kind to themselves and others.

2. Cultivate Open Communication

The Power of Small Talks

Engaging in casual, everyday conversations with your kids lays the foundation for open communication. Talk about the clouds, the weird shape of a rock, or the storyline of their favorite cartoon. These seemingly insignificant discussions make it easier for your kids to approach you with more substantial topics as they grow.

Building Trust Through Dialogue

Consistent, open dialogue fosters an environment of trust and safety. Your kids will know that they can come to you with their thoughts and feelings, no matter how big or small.

3. Reflect and Share

Learning from the Past

Reflect on your own upbringing and the parenting styles of your parents. Acknowledge what you appreciated and identify what you might do differently. Sharing these reflections with your children can be incredibly powerful. It shows them that it's okay to question, learn, and grow from past experiences.

Breaking the Cycle

If you find there are parts of your own childhood that you wish to improve upon, discuss these with your kids. This openness can help break negative cycles and foster a healthier, more understanding family dynamic.

4. Prioritize Mental Health Education

Understanding Common Struggles

Educate yourself and your children about mental health. Understanding that feelings of anxiety, weirdness, or struggle are universal can be a great comfort to a child. It's crucial they know they're not alone in their feelings.

Coping Mechanisms

Teach your children simple, effective techniques for managing their emotions, such as deep breathing or mindfulness. These tools will serve them well throughout their lives.

Kid with dog

5. Keep Fun in the Game

The Value of Play

Remember, sports and games are meant to be fun. While it's natural to want to instill a sense of competition in your children, it's essential to balance this with the joy of simply playing and being part of a team. Of course, I think the Figgy a great choice!

Learning Through Leisure

Encourage your children to enjoy the process of playing a game or participating in a sport, rather than focusing solely on winning. This approach can help them develop a healthier relationship with competition and success.

Dad and son skiing

6. Introduce Business Basics

Early Lessons in Entrepreneurship

Teaching your kids how a business operates can be both fun and educational. Use simple concepts to explain how to start a business. I explain how I started Figgy, from the initial idea to the creation and sale of the product. This not only educates them about business but also about hard work, creativity, and perseverance. They see my ups and downs and all the work that goes into building something meaningful.

Practical Life Skills

Understanding the basics of business can equip your children with valuable life skills, such as budgeting, planning, and critical thinking. These lessons will serve them well into adulthood, whether they choose to pursue entrepreneurship or any other path.

Growing Together

Parenting is not a journey you have to embark on alone or without guidance and support. By sharing your experiences, learning from your past, and engaging with your children in meaningful ways, you can foster a nurturing, supportive environment where your family can grow together.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. What works for one family may not work for another. The key is to stay connected, be open to learning, and cherish the moments, big and small, with your children.

I hope these pieces of advice resonate with you as they have with me. Here's to the ongoing journey of parenthood, filled with learning, love, and lots of mistakes. #figgyplay


Chris Roepe is the cofounder of Figgy and the father of 2 kids. He lives in Madison, WI and enjoys hunting, fishing, and fort building!