Family Values and Ideals
By Jared Rasic
Photos by Maria Fernanda Bay
Life changes when we start a family. Family values evolve, priorities get reordered. We asked three local families some questions about their views on what is truly important when it comes to parenting, as well as how being a parent changes us as an individual. Coming from diverse backgrounds, each family shares a common goal: prioritizing family over individual needs.
Micah and Esme LaVoy
Children: Stillwater 3, Lavender 6, Etienne 7, Eliot 9
Bend Nest: How would you say you’ve changed as an individual since you’ve had children?
Micah LaVoy: I met Esme about five years ago and she already had three children (we later added one of our own to the bunch.) so I had to adapt quickly to three kids that were going through a lot of transition. I think one of the biggest individual changes was I had to pick a different profession that worked with having a family of six. I was a baker before and the hours were insane, so we decided to try opening a little movie theater instead. So far it has worked out great. I definitely miss the zen of baking, but maybe that will be for my later years.
BN: Have your values changed since starting a family?
ML: I don’t think my values have really changed but have become more solid. Kids always have questions when it comes to right and wrong, death, faith, etc., so when you get caught off guard with a zinger, it makes you want think about other questions they might have. So your values are always coming up.
BN: If you could choose a theme for your family, what would it be?
ML: Openness. We strive constantly to show our children how to be open to other people’s way of thinking, beliefs, lifestyle, clothing, music, and art.
BN: What have your children taught you?
ML: Patience, and how to recover from NOT having it. And what it truly means to be an honest human being.
Bend Nest: Have you made any significant decisions as a parent that you might not have made before becoming a mother?
Kathy Morgan: I decided to stay at home with my kids. When I had Abe, I had a career. Scott and I were both working and had careers. I was planning on going back to work. I thought I would get a nanny and do that, but I chose to stay at home and I’ve been home since, well my oldest is 21, so… [laughs]. It’s been awhile since I’ve been a member of the workforce.
BN: Was it the rewarding aspect that made you want to stay at home with the children?
KM: Yeah. I just felt that I wanted to be the one to raise him. I just knew that it might be less hectic as a family to always have one of us around. I think it did help because Scott travelled a ton, and it would have been more difficult if I had a career as well.
BN: Has there been a shift in the people you spend time with socially?
KM: I would say we spend time with more families. Our social life kind of revolves around our kids. [laughs]
BN: What do you think are the most important values to instill in your kids?
KM: Being honest and respectful of others. Teaching them to serve others is also important. We live a good life here and not everybody in the world has that. I want them to see there is a need out there. When you have things, there comes a responsibility to give back and share, to give back to the world.
Stewart and PJ Fritchman
Children: Nick 15, Aidan 13, Liam 11
Bend Nest: How have you changed as an individual since you had children?
Stewart Fritchman: I’m a fairly Type A person and I’ve learned a lot about patience, tolerance and not forcing things. Just the idea that the kids are going to grow at their own pace to become the humans that they are and it’s my job to allow them to unfold instead of trying to pry them open.
PJ Fritchman: I’m a step-mom. Officially married a year, I’ve been in the kids’ lives since they were 3, 5 and 7 and
they are now 11, 13 and 15. So, I went from zero kids to three kids overnight, no ramping up, I just jumped in! It’s been an awesome experience, a growing experience: merging multiple families together with different philosophies towards parenting. I’m also learning to let things go.
BN: How has your relationship with extended family changed since having children?
SF: I have a lot more understanding for extended family and what they experienced as parents. Aunts, uncles, my parents and what they experienced with their kids… there’s now understanding. Where before… you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it. You say “When I’m a parent I’m going to do A, B and C and never do X, Y and Z, but there’s a whole alphabet in-between and you’re just making it up on the fly.
PJF: Stewart’s parents are still together. I’m a product of divorce and I couldn’t have kids. I wanted to be a mom, so
to be a step-mom to three kids was a choice I made when we started dating. We dated for a year before I really started spending a lot of time with the kids. We wanted to make sure our relationship was solid. We were friends for five years before we started dating, and we had a really good foundation for our partnership. Once we started integrating with the kids and once we started integrating with the children’s Mom, I felt like Third Parent on the totem pole, but we all equally share now and communicate. Over the eight years that we’ve been together, we as the three parents, have learned to communicate more and better than in the beginning.