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“Put down your phone and pay attention to your children” With Scott Rosenblum

Children grow up so fast. We all know this, but as a Dad, I see this every day. Every age is a wonderful age, but especially when a child is young, it really sets up the foundation for your relationship with them later in life. I take my son to swim lessons on Sunday mornings […]

Children grow up so fast. We all know this, but as a Dad, I see this every day. Every age is a wonderful age, but especially when a child is young, it really sets up the foundation for your relationship with them later in life.

I take my son to swim lessons on Sunday mornings many weekends. Watching my son become a better swimmer has been such a source of pride for me… Not for a competitive reason, but to see him become more confident and acquiring that skill is wonderful to witness.

My son and I also have Burger Buddy meals together. (My wife is a vegetarian… but she also generally encourages us to spend time together.) We don’t even have to talk much or do much, but having that “special” time together means a lot to us both. We are also lucky in that where we live, we have an abundance of great burger joints!

I also take my son for haircuts. (Something Mommy did with him when he was younger, but encouraged us to do together once he got older.) We often get our cuts at the same time together. It’s a tradition a lot of dads have with their sons. It makes me happy to bring him to the barber shop with me… it’s almost like a rite of passage.


As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Scott Rosenblum, President/Founder at LEVEL PR. With over 20 years as a Public Relations professional working with a variety of B-to-B and B-to-C technology clients, Scott brings a wide range of media knowledge, depth, and savvy to the table. His past experience includes publicity work for tech startups, media companies, publishers, and advertising tech companies. He has garnered media coverage for clients in TechCrunch, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, Fast Company, CNBC and a variety of a trade, consumer and business publications. Scott is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University.


Thank you so much for joining us Scott! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

Inmany ways, my childhood was typical, as I was raised middle class in the suburbs with good schools and friends. The caveat is that we moved a lot, and even when we found the town that worked for the long term (the Cherry Hill, New Jersey area) we moved another two times by the time I was in college. And even when I was on my own in the early days of my PR career, I moved around a lot, so finding a place that I could call home was a goal for a while. That goal has since been accomplished!

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

Though I occasionally broached the idea going out on my own, the instability I had growing up made me risk averse, which includes both the aforementioned physical moving and watching my dad’s struggle as a self-employed salesman, This is one of the reasons why I stayed with one agency for eight years in the middle of my career, but it was only after I was fired from my final agency in late 2016 that I learned that there is really is no safety net on.

Initially I was less than enthused at first about starting a company, but I’ve since grown to love it and almost three years later, I can’t imagine working for anyone else. Plus, I don’t miss the train commute into the city (NYC).

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

Like most people in PR, no two days are exactly the same. There are certain things that I try to do every day, like marketing and new business efforts, but the time allotted to that depends on what is happening with my clients. Sometimes I am doing more writing, while other days are heavy with pitching the media and other times, it’s more about strategy and client relations. Other times it is a mix of all of the above along with operational and back end agenda items I never had to worry about in my agency life.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

At the core, it is about helping children learn about relating to others, and helping them gain the “soft skills” they’ll need to be successful in school, a job, or a relationship (familial/friendships/romantic) — basically anything they want to do in life involves being in relationships with others to some capacity.

It’s also teaching a child how valuable they are as a part of the family — that they are valued and loved not only for what they contribute or “do”… but because of who they are as people. When parents want to spend time with their children, it teaches children that they are valuable — that they have worth, which translates into self-worth and self-esteem.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

Children grow up so fast. We all know this, but as a Dad, I see this every day. Every age is a wonderful age, but especially when a child is young, it really sets up the foundation for your relationship with them later in life.

I take my son to swim lessons on Sunday mornings many weekends. Watching my son become a better swimmer has been such a source of pride for me… Not for a competitive reason, but to see him become more confident and acquiring that skill is wonderful to witness.

My son and I also have Burger Buddy meals together. (My wife is a vegetarian… but she also generally encourages us to spend time together.) We don’t even have to talk much or do much, but having that “special” time together means a lot to us both. We are also lucky in that where we live, we have an abundance of great burger joints!

I also take my son for haircuts. (Something Mommy did with him when he was younger, but encouraged us to do together once he got older.) We often get our cuts at the same time together. It’s a tradition a lot of dads have with their sons. It makes me happy to bring him to the barber shop with me… it’s almost like a rite of passage.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

We have to balance the daily rigmarole, schedules and such like any other family, so for me and my wife, the key is to make sure that we have time to have fun as a family. This means finding the moments throughout the week where it is not an obligation or errands, but just something where we can enjoy each other’s company. This can be as simple as playing a board game after dinner, a spur of the moment dance party, or taking an improvised day trip These moments quality time.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.

  1. Make sure your kids put down the phone, tablet, Switch or whatever device and pay attention to each other
  2. Put down your phone and pay attention to your children
  3. Put down your phone and pay attention to your children
  4. Put down your phone and pay attention to your children
  5. I need to put down my phone and pay attention to my son more too

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

I think a good parent is one who knows what they are best at and what their limitations are. I love my wife and she is my partner in all of the aspects of my life, partnering being one of them. As parenting partners, there are things she is better at doing for my son than I am and vice versa. Knowing this we help each other out accordingly. Our son usually responds to this in a positive way.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

The way I best inspire my son is through example — by showing him that it is not only great to have dreams, but that you can achieve them as well. For me, my dream wasn’t necessarily to own my own PR consultancy, but rather to achieve financial and career independence. Ultimately, I am still working to achieve this goal with my business. The success I’ve achieved with my business is a real world example I can show to my son.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

To me, defining success in balancing career and family is how I manage my own expectations and to take things one day at time. A lot of it is about cutting myself some slack and knowing there is no such thing as “perfection”.

If you picture someone on a high wire, to keep balance, sometimes the artists leans to one side, then the other… It’s like that in life too.

Some days I will get the balance right and other days I won’t, but it doesn’t mean on those days that I was a failure. On days when the time I spend with my family is a little more limited, I know it’s only a short term issue, so I don’t feel guilty when those situations arise, and then I won’t feel guilty about taking care of business.

I also try to plan ahead of time and communicate with my wife so we can strive to get that balance.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I don’t usually read those kinds of books or listen to those kinds of podcasts. Maybe I should. 😊

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Positive reinforcement matters.” I didn’t always have the most positive people in my life (friends and family included) and it was easy to get caught up their negativity and feeling down. Because some people are only happy when you are as miserable as they are.

That is why when I interact with people who voluntarily offer me positive reinforcement for whatever goal I am trying to accomplish, I am truly grateful. That kind of support really goes a long way and is something I’ve always tried to do with teams I’ve managed and something I do with my son now.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would like to see more a concerted movement for workers,especially those who are working at desk in an indoor corporate setting all day, to actually take their legally allotted full hour of lunch. And I don’t mean just leaving the office to do errands, I mean actually just going outside, go for a walk or not do anything. Or if that doesn’t work, eat lunch away from your desk and for the rest of the time, read a book, write in a journal or whatever it is that moves you.

When I used to work in the Union Square area in Manhattan, I used to do this all of the time. I would eat lunch away from my desk and just walk around the neighborhood. It was a great way to get my mind off of things, not check my phone and then come back to the office recharged.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

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