“Nothing hurts more than missing those “special moments.” With Dr. Ely Weinschneider & Edward Madongorere

Take time to dine together. There’s a reason why most of the sitcoms we watched growing up had scenes at the dinner table. Eating together is one of the most intimate things a family can do together, and we make sure to take time to sit at the dining table, and even after we’re done […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Take time to dine together. There’s a reason why most of the sitcoms we watched growing up had scenes at the dinner table. Eating together is one of the most intimate things a family can do together, and we make sure to take time to sit at the dining table, and even after we’re done eating, we still sit there and share stories.

Edward Madongorere is the CEO and co-founder of MOON Ultra. A jack of many trades, Ed worked in Marketing at Comcast, Developed E-Learning programs and pioneered the video email marketing process at Cisco and was a designer & project manager at Affectiva. As a talented UX/UI design and cinematographer he would found Edemanté Design & Film where he produced stunning ads and content for clients. His work has appeared on CNN, Fox, CBS, MTV, NECN and more. Ed is a father of three.

Thank you for joining us Ed! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

Igrew up in Queens, New York, until I was around 12 years old, which was when my parents split up. I had the chance to go live in Harare, Zimbabwe. There I got to experience going to boarding school, which is where I can say I gained the most perspective, which was a critical and defining moment in shaping my future. Going to an all-boys school in another part of the world was an experience like none other. By the time I moved back to the US, my mom was living in New Hampshire. This was the complete opposite of what I was used to when I was in Africa. I went from being in the majority-black student population to an almost 99% white student population. This vast difference in culture would also help to shape me. I then moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, where I graduated high school.

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

I never thought I would be the founder of a startup company. As far as I was concerned, my goal had become to grow my design & film company into a large branding agency. Around the time my wife Jamese and I got the diagnosis that our son had Autism, I always felt that he’d overcome all challenges and one day ask us, “how did we get here?” wherever “here” was at as he got older. We figured we could either tell him stories or how him. That inspired us to take a lot of photos and videos of just about everything we did to ensure we had enough content we could go back to as we shared with him. This love of capturing everything would find us capturing amazing content when the sun was out and some low-quality content whenever we were in dark and dim environments. This struggle inspired is what inspired me to come up with the idea for MOON UltraLight. The startup journey would take my family and me on a crazy rollercoaster that would lead us to move from MA to Austin, TX.

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

One of the toughest challenges of running a company is the amount of time it demands from you daily. My day-to-day wouldn’t be possible without my family’s support for sure. My day starts at around 7:00 am, where I take time to gather my thoughts before jumping into emails. I’m in the office by 9:30 am where I spend the remainder of the day. I’m lucky enough to be able to work within walking distance from our place, so on occasion, I get to meet up with my wife for lunch and catch our little guy after he gets home from school for a few mins. I’ll usually wrap up part one of my day around 6:30 pm, so I can try and make it back for dinner. We try and make it a point to eat dinner at the dining table every night, giving us time to catch up. Part two of my day starts around 9 pm after the youngest has gone to bed. I’ll work till about 11 pm, take an hour’s break then work until 2:00 am. I try to go to bed by 2:30 am.

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?

Before my parents split up, in theory, I was raised in a dual-parent household, but in reality, that was not the case. My dad’s work was highly demanding, forcing him never to be around. My mom was practically always home. Though she had a career that allowed her to travel the world, it also allowed her to be back for extended periods, which was great for our development. Today I find myself in the same position as my dad, where my career is very demanding, but that experience I felt growing up made me conscious of the fact that I would need to find balance. Not spending time with your children can have detrimental factors in their development, especially when you have a child with special needs. Once your children get used to the idea of you not spending time with them, they’ll seek out that elsewhere, and you risk the chance that gap filled by experiences that can shape their future for better or worse.

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?

Nothing hurts more than missing those “special moments.” As someone who’s built a career on creating and capturing moments, it would almost be a tragedy not to make that same effort to spend time with my children. Missing those moments impacts your children, and the more you’re around, the more they not only feel loved, but they feel that you make an effort to show them you care about their wellbeing. Children are inherently intuitive and can sense when things in the home are healthy, calm, positive, or distressed. Spending time with your kids, allows you to communicate and listen. You can discover so much about your kids when you take the time to be around. For one, they become much closer to you and more willing to share. Sharing can lead to not only a solid bond but also identifying all sorts of things about your kids that can allow for early intervention.

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?

Since my career tends to not allow for a lot of time to spend with my kids, I have to make it a point to ensure the time I do have, and I am fully immersed in whatever experience we share. Even if it may be something as simple as taking a walk together and chatting about movies or games, being present makes a massive difference. With my older kids, we will spend time watching meme videos and telling funny stories to the point we cry from laughter. Taking walks and talking about all kinds of topics. Everything from going out to eat and sitting in a coffee shop. Overall, I try and spend the time that allows us to talk and share stories.

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.

I genuinely believe you can use some of the same types of business tools to help prioritize your day.

Use your calendar and reminder apps to schedule times to spend time doing activities. Even if it’s short bursts of time, it adds up. I like to use my planning and task apps to prioritize my workday, and I infuse home activities into those lists.

Put your phone on do-not-disturb and commit to spending time without picking your phone up. When we are eating dinner, watching a movie or a show together, we’ll put the phones away

Watch or read content that your kid loves then talks about it after. It’s a great way to learn about each other. I’ll sometimes research new episodes, stories, or memes and save them for later to share with my kids and have some time to laugh and joke around.

Take time to dine together. There’s a reason why most of the sitcoms we watched growing up had scenes at the dinner table. Eating together is one of the most intimate things a family can do together, and we make sure to take time to sit at the dining table, and even after we’re done eating, we still sit there and share stories.

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

Being a good parent is no different than having any other relationship in your life. You have to be a good listener, without patronizing or acting like a “know it all,” because you don’t, and never will. The same way you can co-exist with adults that are different from you without being judgemental is the same way you need to be with your kids. You can have boundaries, but don’t let the boundaries define your relationship, or you’ll be limiting growth for all of you. Overall being supportive is what counts. When your kids know you have their backs, it goes a long way to how they see themselves when they grow up. When I was a kid in elementary school, my mom was asked to come into school for me being “disruptive” because I would finish my work fast and start to draw all over my notebooks. The teachers thought this was distracting other students and was disruptive behavior. My mom came into school and told the teachers they were the problem for not fostering my creativity and trying to limit my potential. After a very heated discussion, she pulled me out of that school, and I no longer went there. She believed in my ability so much that she wasn’t willing to allow anyone to stifle it. I enrolled in a different school. Though at the time, I thought that was extreme, I appreciated it as it showed me that she supported and cared about me and wanted me to thrive.

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

I feel I’ve been able to inspire my children to dream big by example. I think that letting your kids see you pursue your dreams and go through the journey is vital. Being transparent enough to allow them to see you be scared but still overcoming something challenging helps them to see that even if it’s tough, they too can do it. Building MOON and having my kids around to witness every step of it, has been inspiring to them. I know it was because they’ve told me. Even if you can’t necessarily show your kids through your journey or actions, you can still let them know they can dream big, and nothing is impossible.

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

Success is one of those words that is super subjective and not always easy to define for many. For me, I feel success is being able to be truly happy. My family’s happiness defines my happiness. Being able to do what I love to do gives me a great sense of purpose, and the fact that I can share it with my kids is a massive bonus.

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

The first book I ever read on parenting was What to expect when you’re expecting. After reading that book, we had a child with Autism, and almost everything I had read was null and void. Since then, I don’t believe any book, tv show, a podcast can prepare you to be a better parent. The only way to be a better parent is to be a better parent. Simply dive in and give yourself the time to learn from your kids by watching how they interact with you, listen to their needs, and be present. Every parent will raise their kids differently. Though the approaches may be similar, cause we all want to make sure our kids are good human beings, the reality is, each child is unique. Even if you created them, they could turn out completely different than you, and as you help shape them, you’ll need to adjust based on them.

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

Don’t end up an extra in someone else’s movie. I don’t remember where I heard it, but It stuck with me. I like to think of your life as a movie, and you’re responsible to write the script, casting, produce direct, and edit. Writing your script is coming up with a plan for what you want to do, which you’ll change and adapt as you evolve, but it has to start somewhere. Casting is surrounding yourself with the right people to help tell and share your story. In my case, everyone that’s played an essential role in my life, for better or worse, had a takeaway. Producing is finding resources to help fund that film. Every career path I’ve chosen, even if it felt like it was not useful at the time, was necessary for how I set myself for the rest of the journey. Directing is following your instincts, and using all the information, you gathered to that point to bring it all together. Editing is when you can reflect on what you’ve created and made some decisions that may sometimes mean going in a different direction, but you ultimately control how the story will is told.

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. 🙂

That is flattering, but I think everyone is a person of significant influence in their community, no matter how small they, or we may think it is. It’s not about quantity for me. It’s about quality. Though it would be amazing to inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, I would be just fine inspiring one person who may turn out to be as significant to our culture as Rosa Parks or Steve Jobs. Now In the spirit of participation, my one idea is to spend time in the mirror, reminding yourself how important, unique, and brilliant you are. Self love leads to more love.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


“Encourage those in your community that may not be taking this seriously to take it seriously.” With Dr. Ely Weinschneider & Ed Madongorere

by Dr. Ely Weinschneider, Psy.D.

Ed and Natasha Tatton: “Not everyone will like your product”

by Chef Vicky Colas

Sustainable Business, Sustainable Living

by Marianne Larned
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.