The Metro: WDET dads discuss what fatherhood means to them

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II also shared his thoughts on being a dad ahead of Father’s Day.

Wooden blocks with letters printed on them that spell out happy fathers day

We live in a time of shrinking families. Less people are having children, and for those who are having kids, they are often deciding to have fewer of them.

But for those who do pursue fatherhood, it is often deeply meaningful. According to a 2022 survey from the National Fatherhood Initiative, 57% of dads say parenting is extremely important to their identity.

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Ryan Carlson is a senior systems administrator at WDET, and has two daughters, age 12 and 15. WDET News Director Jerome Vaughn has eight kids, the oldest is 30 and the youngest is 14. The newest dad at WDET, The Metro Sr. Producer David Leins, is a father of a 9-month-old daughter. The three dads joined the show to discuss their experiences as fathers.

As we celebrate the importance of dads this weekend, we see how fatherhood evolves from being a new dad of a 9-month-old and a father of a 30-year-old. Leins discusses how he has managed fatherhood being a new dad and how he has learned to adapt to new circumstances.

“The thing that I was not quite ready for and didn’t really understand was the lack of time to do basic things that require two hands.” Leins admitted. “So now I can make coffee with one hand, I can do laundry with one hand, I can brush teeth, and hold Cora while she’s brushing her teeth all in one hand. I didn’t think I’d be that good at it. I’ve got a slightly stronger left arm now.”

While Leins is celebrating his first Father’s Day, Carlson and Vaughn are used to being celebrated fathers. Vaughn shared a memory with his eight kids when they blindfolded him and took him to a disclosed location.

“They gave me a shoe box with money in it, coins and some dollar bills and whatnot. And what they wanted me to do with this money — and I did — was to lease a Volkswagen Beetle. They know how much I love those cars,” Vaughn mentions. “Right now I’m driving a 16-year-old car…because what they need, that comes first. What did the kids need? What does the wife need — that comes first. They were like, ‘Dad, you do that all the time. We want to do this for you.’ I had $12 for a down payment for a Volkswagen Beetle, which I had to lease it because it was so special.”


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Carlson is a loving father of two teenage girls who has enjoyed being able to watch them grow into the people they are. He gives wise advice to all the fathers out there and encourages them to enjoy the time you have with your children.

“Take a minute to kind of take a deep breath and be like, ‘hey, I’m not going to have this moment again — good, bad, whatever — doesn’t really matter.’ All of a sudden, you go from having a one-year-old to having a daughter in high school, and you’re like, ‘oh my god, like this thing feels like two years and it’s been 15.’”

Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II also joined The Metro to give insight on his experience being a father to his boy-girl twins and his youngest daughter. Gilchrist was honored to become a dad and said it changed his life for the better.

He also shared how his own dad impacted him and showed him how to be a successful father.

“I benefited from having a very strong father, Garlin Gilchrist Sr,” Gilchrist shared “And he laid a good roadmap for me about what it meant to, not only be present, but to support our children emotionally, as well as physically and financially, and all the things and be a role model. He continues to be my hero.”

More headlines from The Metro for June 14, 2024:

  • The Detroit Opera ensemble will perform at the Anton Art Center in Mt. Clemens on Saturday. Their show will include spiritual hymns often sung by enslaved Africans and popular songs associated with famous African American singers. Matt Matthews, the executive director of the Anton Art Center, joined The Metro to talk more about Saturday’s performance.

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