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Josh Braff

Josh Braff describes himself as dad first and artist second. The author of The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green and Peep Show also enjoys abstract painting, photography, documentary filmmaking and music.

What’s the most rewarding part of being a dad?
The whole reward in my life is to care for the two personalities that were created from my wife and I. It was a very hands-on job in the beginning, and now it’s a very hands-off job. The in-between is where parenting can get tricky.

What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
Just hanging around the house, a movie, a fun lunch. Dialogue, humor and an atmosphere where it’s just fine to have healthy debates.

What is the most challenging part of fatherhood?
It used to be the nighttime with my son. He didn’t sleep well for the first eight years of his life. Now my kids are almost 11 and 14. Puberty has to be respected. It helps when your own life is centered and happy enough so that you can allow your kids to fall and fail, squeak and pout, win and lose, all while their bodies are literally under hormonal attack. If you’re a parent still searching for your own track, you may be doomed with a teenager. He has to like you on the other end of his misery and you have to earn that. After all, you’re an adult and you knew his misery was coming. Good luck.

What role model in your life influenced the kind of father you are?
My mother-in-law taught me, physically showed me, how to be a good parent. The give and take, the picking your battles, the need for everyone to get enough rest or at least aim for it. My mother taught me how to love and be loved by someone. Without her, I wouldn’t have known how to begin with parenting.

As a father, how do you view your responsibilities?
Caregiver — eyes open, ears open, depending on age, arms open. I see my responsibilities as a juggling act between finding the importance of routine without ever forgetting to have fun because child rearing, much like life, is fleeting.

What advice would you give other fathers?
If you work all day, as is required in our culture, do your best to be in your child’s life. If you see yourself squeezed for alone time vs. kid time, you need to question your money vs. life ratio.

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?
My wife has been building a career since the day she graduated Colgate University. The booming digital world is at the crux of her success. I’m an artist. So I make art, take care of home and make sure my family is fed.

What is something people don’t know about you?
I was a top amateur level “five tool” baseball player until I stopped playing at 40 years of age. I once hit a grand-slam during a game against the San Quentin Giants, a team of prisoners at San Quentin prison.

What makes you happy?
Music. My dog. My kids. My wife. Not necessarily in that order.

Where is your favorite place to go in Tampa?
The Oxford Exchange, a book store, cafe, restaurant with a beautiful and airy ambience that serves hundreds of exotic teas and foods. I hope to do a reading from this spot. It makes Tampa look as hip as Brooklyn or Seattle. Or even St. Petersburg.


Take a look at Josh Braff’s novels:

The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green

Peep Show

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