Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Richt is entering his 11th season as the football coach at the University of Georgia. He and his wife Katharyn were married in 1987 and had two boys – Jon, 21, and David, 16 – before adopting Zack, 15, and Anya, 14, from the Ukraine in 1999. He took some time to talk to me about his philosophies on several aspects of parenting.
Part 2 (Read Part 1 here)
When we adopted, Jon and David were very much in the decision process. We wanted them to be for it, also. Once we all decided that we were going to do this, there was enough time in the adoption process to begin to pray for the siblings who were coming in and to get used to the idea that a brother and sister were on the way. So I think that was helpful, that we didn’t just spring it on them. David was the one who had to live with Zack and Anya more. Jon was of a different age, and of course, was out of the house sooner, too. David’s world was changed more than Jon’s was. Jon had his older buddies and just didn’t do as much with the little kids, but David was right alongside them.
On introducing an adopted girl to a family with two boys:
She was so young. It really didn’t make a big difference. We went from man-to-man to zone coverage. That’s what changed the most. She’s just part of the gang. She didn’t get any special treatment. She’s just one of the gang.
On taking care of the kids when Katharyn is gone:
Dairy Queen is (usually) part of the day. They probably eat a little more junk food when I’m in charge. I think that would be one of the biggest differences. I will say this, anytime I’ve had to do that sort of thing, (Katharyn) does a phenomenal job of writing out the agenda for the two-day period, or whatever it might be. So and so has got to be here. So and so is picking him up. You give this note to Zack to give to the teacher because he’s leaving early, whatever it might be. She has it spelled out. If there is any medicine involved. Even down to feeding the dogs. She lays it out pretty good.
I think (Jon, who plays quarterback at Mars Hill College, and his wife Anna) will try to wait until their college days are over. There are two more football seasons for him and at least a year-and-a-half of school. I think they’re trying to plan it out where they don’t have children right away.
On making time for family during busy football seasons:
Every morning we get up together. We have breakfast together and have a family devotion together. For years, I took the kids to school, and now David is in position to drive, and he takes them to school. At least every single day, during the school year, we spend some time together in the morning. On Sundays, we’re able to go to church and have some lunch. During the season, there’s a family night where we’ll eat dinner with our families (at the athletic complex).
On involving his children with the football program:
Over the years, in season, I had Jon at one time, would be a water boy at the game. He’d travel with me. David had his time and now Zack is my traveling buddy. Zack, after school last year, came over to practice and help with the video. He does a good job with that.
- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog