Detroiter Paul Riser Jr. talks family, fatherhood and faith for Father’s Day

Paul Riser Jr. and his beautiful family on his wedding day (before baby Carrington). (Photo courtesy of Paul Riser Jr.)

Paul Riser Jr. is a major player in Detroit and he plays many roles in his life. He is the managing director of Tech-Based Entrepreneurship at TechTown Detroit. He is the equity partner and board chair of BLAC Magazine. He is the chief technology officer of Innovative Health Technologies. But his favorite role to play is that of beloved husband and father of four beautiful children, three girls and 1 boy: Lauryn 13, twins Christian 4 (boy) and Cydney  and Carrington, 1.

Rolling out caught up with the doting father of four to find out what it means to be a father this Father’s Day. You can tell from his interview that he’s a faithful and humble servant, to God, his wife and his children. He says he’s very grateful to be able to be a father and that he learns so much from his kids. For Riser, his favorite thing about being a father is the responsibilities to educate, develop, lead and empower four wonderful people’s lives. For him, being a father is the ultimate gift.

Check out the rest of Riser’s interview below.

What are you planning for Father’s Day this year?

Most likely [I will] be around the house with my wife and kids … possibly dinner out to co-celebrate my wife’s birthday (June 17). I will also be sure to try and visit my father and father-in-law to show them how much they are truly, truly appreciated.

Do you have any Father’s Day traditions?

Most past Father’s Day celebrations have been just taking my dad out to dinner or spending quality time at home with him. My dad is so very humble and the smallest things have genuinely always made him the happiest. A trait that I have grown to love and admire in him.

What’s the most important thing about being a father?

Being a living example that builds within [my children] the qualities of a humble, grateful, generous and servant heart led by a deep understanding and relationship with Christ. I also want to ensure I have a “heart-level” connection with my kids — the emotional and spiritual relationship is about more than just being physically present and/or being a financial provider.

Riser’s oldest daughter, Lauryn and his son, Christian (Photo courtesy of Paul Riser Jr.)

What do you pray for your children?

That they don’t grow up with idols — wealth, beauty, power, fame, etc. — but with a focus on being closer to Christ and living a life that strives to allow Christ to live through their thoughts, actions and reactions.

How do you encourage your children when they face adversity?

I actually try to use adversity as an opportunity to teach a life lesson to my kids. Once again, I think this points back to the importance of having a strong relationship with Christ as well. I will try to teach my kids that they can always run to God in times of true adversity. Running to self is pervasive self-reliance and is honestly futile. My kids will have to know that we as humans don’t have the answers in many instances and are not equipped to handle all the issues of life.

Teach kids to trust in God as he controls all things — he will clear storms and see us through any form of adversity. At a very young age, I think it’s important to teach this guiding principle.

In what ways do you guide your children for life?

With a level of grace and understanding that they will make mistakes and are not perfect while praising their efforts when they show qualities that are positive. I hope to help them define “greatness” with high standards and expectations for their own lives and those that they interact with.

I seek to offer life skills about financial responsibility, discipline, how to treat a woman, expectations of how a women should be treated, confidence, education outside the classroom, how to tie a tie, walking like a child of God, etc.

Providing directions and answers to the “why” of life: guidance on deeper things, beyond the books — there are certain questions in life that a child has that dads need to be there to answer.

Riser’s beautiful twins, Christian and Cydney (Photo courtesy Paul Riser Jr.)

How do you understand the process of allowing room for growth?

Fathering with grace and humility! Parents must have a relationship with Christ that exudes and appreciates understanding that are all imperfect and that he made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. This relationship helps to allow them to have the room for growth they need and deserve.

What role does decision making play in being a great coach, father, mentor?

Decision making is imperative and should be the conscience of all you do, say and prepare for in life as a father. Fathers must pour wisely into their kids and family because we are responsible for their present and their future — spiritually, protecting them, knowing them, loving them and leading them. Understand how God will and can restore your family.

How do you inspire your children to maintain focus in order to win?

Men think it’s about winning and losing in many instances, but I try to instill into my kids that Christ cares much more about truth and lies. Personally, I aspire to create, share and implement a vision and a plan for how my wife and kids will win. Most of my kids are pretty young, but it’s imperative that a father has plans for the household, reducing and eliminating debt, attaining security for the kids, charting the finances, leading and securing the future, etc.

Riser and his beautiful wife with their three youngest children, including baby Carrington (center). (Photo courtesy of Paul Riser Jr.)
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