The world keeps moving faster. The pressure to be more productive, more efficient, and get more done is one that we all feel. In a hectic world where it seems like measurable achievement is all that matters, it is refreshing to see a neighbor celebrated for something that we all know is important but can be tough to measure: fatherhood.
Few know that Father’s Day day was started by the YMCA in Spokane, Wash. in 1910 after a member heard a Mother’s Day sermon and wanted his father, who had raised six children, to have his own day to be celebrated. To reflect that tradition, the White Rock YMCA picks an annual Father of the Year, and this year it was awarded to Travis Stein.
Stein was nominated by his wife Megan Stein and chosen by the staff at the YMCA for being “a member that demonstrates caring, honest, respect, and responsibility in their character and community,” according to Stacie Renfro, associate executive director of the White Rock YMCA.
Travis, who owns Dallas’ oldest commercial printing and promotional product company, The Odee Company, says being around his children makes his day. “I vividly remember wrestling with my dad, playing sports with him, fishing with grandfather and hunting with my uncle. I want my kids to experience those special moments as well,” he says. In addition to his own family, Travis draws inspiration from his friends’ parents and coaches growing up. “They were supported and treated all of us kids like their own.” You can see Travis working towards creating those special moments while coaching his son’s team, the Little Rascals, in a variety of sports.
Megan is probably her husband’s biggest cheerleader, and it was her essay that separated Travis from the other nominees. When asked why he was nominated, Travis deftly deflected the credit. “Apparently my wife can write really well,” he said.
She wrote to the YMCA, “Travis is dedicated to raising strong, independent, caring and honest children and never lets a teaching moment pass…it is unmistakable that Travis takes his fatherly responsibilities to heart and loves being a dad.”
Travis is not without help, and lives by a philosophy that allows him to focus on his children. About his wife, he says, “We make a heck of a team. We believe in being where our feet are. When we’re home we set our phones aside and take a needed break, but we also need to be present with our kiddos and they need to see that as well.”
Fatherhood required a number of adjustments for Travis, but they were changes he embraced. He is a father of two boys, Henry (5) and Edward (1), and their entry into his life has made him a more selfless person. “I had a friend who really woke me up before Hank was born. He told me bluntly, ‘A father can’t be selfish.’ I didn’t really know what he meant until those first two months where I couldn’t hang out with my wife like we used to or put in the amount of work at the office like I needed to. It was a real challenge at first.”
Travis and his family will receive the award at a ceremony on June 15, and his family will enjoy a free family night at Dave and Buster’s, where his trademark parenting will be in action along with all the other Father of the Year winners across Dallas.
In an accelerating world, Travis knows when to slow down and focus on what is important. He is an intentional father who makes the most of his time with his kids. “I don’t want to just play with my kids. I want them to learn and grow.”
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