Originally from England, Dr. Stephen Langley moved to Tampa in February to become the Chief of Pediatric and Congenital Cardiac Surgery at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. He grew up in a little fishing village on the English Riviera called Brixham. He went straight from high school to medical school in London, and completed my residency and fellowship training in cardiothoracic surgery in Cambridge, Southampton University Hospital, Duke University Medical Center, and Great Ormand Street Hospital for Children.
His wife of 22 years, Jane, also is from England and together they have four children ages 9, 12, 16 and 18.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a dad?
Watching my kids grow into their own unique personalities and characteristics. I love the fact that I can already tell what each one of them will be like as an adult. It’s also really rewarding to see them achieve something that they’ve worked hard for. Whether it’s scoring the winning point in a sports game, mastering a skateboard trick or making origami, I just love seeing the happiness and joy they experience when they reach a goal. I’m their friend as much as their father and we have a lot of fun together. They have all sorts of nicknames for me. Unfortunately I don’t even know what some of the nicknames mean, but that’s probably a good thing.
What is the most challenging part of fatherhood?
For me, it’s time. Giving my children the time they need and deserve so that I can guide, nurture and support them is very important to me. Being an on-call surgeon can make my work schedule a little unpredictable at times and that’s something that definitely pushes me to try to find a good balance between my work and home life.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
We really enjoy outdoor activities and I love the time we spend together fishing, camping and hiking. I also enjoy the special meals we have together. Even if it’s just once a week, we make a point of having one meal where everyone is at the table, usually on a Sunday. It can be a challenge as the kids get older and their schedules get busier, but I think the fact that they’re getting older makes family mealtime even more important.
What role model in your life influenced the kind of father you are?
My dad is my role model in all things. He’s a very selfless man who puts the needs and requirements of others first, especially his family. He is such a positive person and never misses the opportunity to show how grateful he is for the blessings in his life. If I could model my life after one person, it would definitely be my dad.
What advice would you give other fathers?
Make the most out of every opportunity you have to be involved in your kids’ lives. The time you have with your children is precious and it goes by incredibly quickly. Of course there will be times when you have other commitments, but whenever possible, don’t miss out. Your child’s first school play or last soccer game will only happen once.
It is often difficult to balance a career with spending time with your family. How do you deal with this and make time for them?
Being organized definitely helps. I make a point to find out when my kids have sports games or activities scheduled and I add it to my work calendar. It can be difficult to balance my work time with my family time, but realizing how challenging it is makes me try that much harder.
What is something people don’t know about you?
I love kiteboarding and could spend hours on the water doing this. I also love to snowboard in powder snow. An interesting family fact is that all four of my children were born on the first day of the month.
What makes you happy?
Spending time with my family is definitely at the top of my list. Being able to give a child born with a heart defect a second chance at life also is incredibly rewarding. Seeing England win a sporting event makes me happy, but unfortunately this is a rare kind of happiness!
Where is your favorite place to go in Tampa?
Right now, it’s St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. I moved to Tampa from Portland, Oregon at the beginning of the year and my family will join me here this summer after school ends. The incredibly talented caregivers I work with every day have become my second family, and until my wife and kids join me in Tampa, being at work with my second family is my favorite place to be.