To be a great parent “you must be able to enjoy life to the fullest with those around you and the experiences that make life worth living”, with Dr. Ely Weinschneider and Christopher Carter

“Life is too short you need to enjoy it so put the whip cream on your cafe mocha” I simply think it is just a fantastic quote. It’s one of those things when you have to realize that life is short. You never know when your last day on this earth is going to be. […]

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“Life is too short you need to enjoy it so put the whip cream on your cafe mocha” I simply think it is just a fantastic quote. It’s one of those things when you have to realize that life is short. You never know when your last day on this earth is going to be. You must be able to enjoy it to the fullest with those around you and the experiences that makes life worth living.

As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Christopher Carter. With almost three decades of extraordinary working experience in the SAP industry, Christopher Carter, CEO at Approyo founded Approyo with the goal of making it easy for customers to embrace SAP HANA. Chris works with businesses around the globe and is known to assist them in their journey to the usage of Big Data in the forms of Hadoop (Cloudera and Hortonwork’s) and SAP HANA. His experience has earned him a national recognition by the American SAP Users Group, SAP, Hadoop World, Cloud Expo and more.

Under Chris’s leadership, Approyo has been named to the Inc. 5000 three years in a row(2016–2018) and named one the SAP Solution Provider of the Year in 2018 by ACQ5. In 2018, Chris was awarded the Gamechanger of the year by ACQ5, one of the 10 Most Inspiring Business Leaders by Mirror Review and one of the Rising Entrepreneurs of the Year by The Technology Headlines.

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

Absolutely I grew up as the oldest son of 4 boys. I was the first to leave for college. My parents were divorced, and I grew up between my mother and my father’s homes. When I left for college, I wanted to go somewhere warm and as far away from my parents as possible. I joke about that now, but at the time it really seemed fitting because I wanted to leave to become a technologist or baseball player.

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

What brought me to this point in my life was a lot of life experiences. A ton of trial and error. And many times, not trusting others and doing it myself. It took a long time for me to be able to understand the fact that I could trust others which would help grow myself and my business.

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

Typically, my day starts at 5 a.m. The first thing I do is listen to the news while I’m getting ready. I try to be out the door by 5:30 a.m. because my local radio station plays The Star-Spangled Banner at that time. I can continue to listen to the local news and any national activities going on once I get to the office. I usually have some good time to myself to get ready for my day, go through my notes that I left for myself from the evening prior, and answer any emails that have come in overnight. From that point I continue my day with a lot of activities with customers and prospects. I meet with my team in the office and staff across the globe with phone call meetings.

Let’s 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?

I believe that every child deserves two parents. It takes two parents to create and it takes two parents to parent give. My wife and I as an example. I am the more authoritative and disciplinarian. My wife is the one who keeps everything together. She keeps the house together. She is excellent at English. While I’m a wiz in math. So, we help each other when we help our children. But if you were to take me 100% out of the equation or my wife, there would be a missing piece. That would be a huge missing component to the relationship and to the growth and development of our daughters. What I’ve observed over many years is that I was missing that with my own family. When I was growing my father was in one city and my mother was in one city. I would literally spend either a weekend with one or the other depending upon who I was living. It gave me sense that I needed to do everything on my own and I couldn’t trust anyone. Now with my wife and I being there for our daughters, our daughters know they can trust us to be there for them and to help them through anything .

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

To me this is critical since I didn’t have a lot of one-on-one time with my father or mother. I tried to do as much as I possibly can with my daughters. We have what’s called daddy-daughter dates where we will go for a coffee, for breakfast, or lunch. We also have daddy-daughter travel trips where we’ll go to different places. Each of us will pick a destination and we’ll spend time shopping or go to sporting events. We love to hang out at a pool. My daughters both swimmers so they love that activity. It’s really for me the ability to be able to have a conversation with them. I want my daughters to know that they can talk to me about anything. That they can talk to me about their boyfriends or school. I have conversations with them about things going on in my life; travel, work, staff and miscellaneous things that I want them to understand. I have candid discussions about why my life or day or week is either going really well or I’m having a little rough patch.

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?

So for me and my daughters a big thing for us our coffee dates coffee and breakfast dates. I’m a early morning person and my daughters like to sleep in on the weekends. I will take their vehicles and I will get them gassed up make sure everything is ready for them for the week. Then I will wait until 8 a.m. sometimes 9 a.m. depending upon how nice I am that morning. Then I will wake them up and ask them if they’d like to go for coffee before church, It’s a great way for us to have a conversation outside of the house.

Another activity that we do is our daddy — daughter trips. We’ve gone to Phoenix for spring training, to New York to go prom dress shopping and Chicago to eat. Little trips or big trips, it doesn’t matter. It’s the one-on-one time that allows us to strengthen our bond.

Both my daughters now have boyfriend. We want to include them as they are part of our daughters’ lives. We will take their boyfriends and them up to our lake house and spend time playing games, relaxing, going into the lake or pool. Everybody cooks and picks a meal and helps cleans up. It’s becoming a very fun tradition in our family!

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?

First one is to put down your smartphone and just listen. It’s amazing what you can do when you put your phone in another room and you listen to your children

Second is to be there. Just show up. It’s amazing how important it is for my daughter’s to be able to see me at an event. My daughters are swimmers I would come home from other countries just in time so I can make that swim meet.

Third is to interact with them. My youngest daughter has a lot of friends. I try to interact with her and her friends as much as possible. I offer to take them with us, bring them to dinner or on trips with us. I want our daughters to understand that our home is a safe haven for anybody and everybody is welcome to interact with me and my wife.

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

This is a really difficult question because who is to say who a good parent is, and who is not. It is not my place to tell anybody that they are not a good parent. I know from my experiences that there are days when I feel as if not a good parent. I get a little upset and I might say something mean. Then I feel like a terrible parent. But then there’s the other 99% of the days where I listen, interact, put down my cell phone and talk with my daughter.

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

I love this question because I try to do this on a daily basis. I always tell my daughters that I love them before I leave and before they leave, I may send them little motivational activities about dreaming big, about trying and working hard, and about love and goals. Sometimes I tag them in Instagram and Facebook about goals about dreams. They say, “Dad, you’re embarrassing me”, but I know that they are reading them.

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

To me success is a couple of different areas. One is that I am successful in my personal life and my professional life. I am successful in my married life. I successful in my fatherly life. And am I successful in my Godly life.

I am not successful everyday. I have not been successful every year or every day of my life. I’ve had a lot of success in my life and I’m grateful to God. I’m thankful to my family and friends who help me. In my faith, I am driven by success in many areas. I hope that I can teach my family and my daughters to be successful in those areas as well. All of them complement each other. I’ve tried to intermingle them and straddle number of worlds to help drive my personal success.

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

This is a fun question because there are so many different podcast books resources out there. I love a movie called Father of the Bride. It reminds me of me and my daughters. We interact a lot, talk a lot, and care a lot. We sit down for a dinner and have great conversations. They both are in school. One is in college the other is in high school. Not everything you do is going to be successful And I love the fact that in that movie the dad tries so hard. He knows that not everything is going to be successful.

Second, I do listen to a lot of different books. I am big into books that are motivational as well as business educational. I also love listening to true stories from actors, comedians and storytellers who have real life experiences. I loved the Steve Martin just came out with a book. I also listen to Tony Robbins and others like Gary Vaynerchuk. They are all motivational and they provide me with ideas to motivate my girls too.

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

“Life is too short you need to enjoy it so put the whip cream on your cafe mocha” I simply think it is just a fantastic quote. It’s one of those things when you have to realize that life is short. You never know when your last day on this earth is going to be. You must be able to enjoy it to the fullest with those around you and the experiences that makes life worth living.

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. 🙂

Thank you. That’s a that’s a great compliment. I truly appreciate that in order to inspire people that they would inspire to love. It’s important to really love the people you’re with. You’ve chosen those people for a reason. I love my wife differently than I love my children. Love my staff, my work and my team. Love is a word sometimes gets thrown around too easily. Love is there to conquer all. With love, you can bring the world to its knees with the words “love you” can save somebody. Love can cure a heartache and pain. Love will support the people you care about the most. Love can also help you become friends with your enemy.

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

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