Life on Council House Square

Being A Dad!

I wear a lot of hats.  In fact, if you’ve talked to me before you’ve probably heard me make the joke about wearing one BIG Okmulgee hat because it makes it easier to stay inspired and focused.  I try to make everything I do business and personal wise have some connection to serving Okmulgee. I love it here!  But… there is a job I have that I love even more than that – being a father to my son.  My son is almost twelve years old (where did the time go?!), and he’s certainly becoming an awesome young man.  

This week, I want to encourage fathers in our community to lead their sons.  Be involved in their lives, and take interest in what they take interest in.  Don’t focus on being perfect – you’ll screw up.  I do every day.  Just focus on being PRESENT.  They’ll know you care if you’re there.  Here’s some ideas/ things I’ve learned about being a dad, and I offer this humbly from only twelve years of experience.  I’ve had to learn from A LOT of mistakes!  I hope these will encourage you to take this EXTREMELY important job seriously.  It’s one of the most important ones you’ll ever have in your life!

1. Keep an open, honest dialogue with your son.  As they approach teenage years, kids have a lot of questions (some that may seem inappropriate!).  You can tell them to keep their mouths shut about it, and they’ll just go ask their friends at school.  Or, you can be their source of honest, candid information.  No question is off limits.  If they use bad language, tell them what it means and why it’s bad, and ask them not to say it again – make sure you’re modeling that too.  Isn’t it better for your son to come to you with the tough questions in life, rather than have him out looking for answers anywhere he can find them?

2. You’re busy, but not too busy to spend time with your son.  That’s a non-negotiable.  The man your son will turn out to be is, in a lot of ways, a direct reflection of how much time you spend investing in his life and modeling the kind of person you want him to be.  Not just telling, but modeling.  Friday nights are man nights at our house (go away Mom, this is man night! Just kidding, we love you).  That works for us right now, it may not as he gets into Junior High and High School.  No matter what, you have to be intentional about spending time with him!

3. Don’t worry about him questioning his faith.  That may sound weird, especially if you know I’m a pastor.  Every person needs to work out their own faith, and just because their parents believe it isn’t a good enough reason for someone to adopt any belief as their own.  If you’re living your faith out, and you’re honest about not having all the answers (no one does), they’ll see that and likely come back full circle.  Ultimately, you can’t make that decision for them anyway.  Lead with love.

4. How you make your son feel (and this works in all the relationships you have in your life) is what he’ll remember the most about you.  Do you bring out the best in him?  Do you feel him with confidence? Do you make him laugh?  Feelings are powerful, and they’ll remain for years after the interaction.  

5. If your son is a natural leader, let him lead – don’t break his spirit.  Give him an opportunity to make mistakes in an environment that surrounds him with love and encourages him to make more mistakes.  In other words, keep giving him opportunities to learn.

I wish I did every single one of these perfectly, but I don’t.  I’m a parent first, but my son is one of my best friends, and I hope it will continue to stay that way as he grows up and becomes a man.  I want him to be independent and productive – but, most of all, I just want him to love other people and serve them.

You can always email me at:, and listen anytime to the entire first season of my podcast, co-hosted with Anthony Nieto: ‘Mic On Council House Square’ at , or on the Okmulgee NOW app available for download on iTunes and Google Play. 

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Richard Larabee is an Okmulgee downtown resident. He serves as Okmulgee City Councilor for Ward # 3, and he is the current President of Main Street.  He also Co-Chairs The Okmulgee Task Force under the Chamber of Commerce.  He is an Independent Petroleum Landman, a Small Business Sales Consultant, and one of the owners of The Lokal Okmulgee, a destination coffee shop in our core business district downtown.  Richard is also the Senior Pastor of Together Church, which currently meets at The Lokal on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m.!  If you’d like Richard to come visit your business, offer financial solutions and local advertising advice - give his office a call today at 918-645-3161! #OkmulgeeRising #TellingOurStory


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