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Fatherview: Ryan Jespersen

ryan and kari @nicoleashley photography.jpg

Ryan, Wyatt and Kari. Photo by Nicole Ashley Photography.

I first met Ryan…actually, I  can’t remember. I remember when I met Kari (she interviewed me for a play I wrote called Book On Tape), but Ryan…it was probably in a social setting. There was probably some liquid bread. We probably had a very in depth conversation about something that we immediately forgot afterwards. Anyway.

Ryan holds one of the more important jobs in Edmonton when it comes to media. He hosts his own call in show on CHED. Why is it important? Well, it isn’t edited. It isn’t scripted. It is natural and sometimes visceral. But, Ryan keeps the keel even. At least he tries.

I saw this first hand when I joined him on one of his shows. The topic was should Vince Li be able to legally change his name in hopes of starting anew with his life. A tough topic, but Ryan kept it real. When it would lean one way, he tried to make it lean the other. When questions became samey, he tried to spruce it up. An interviewers interviewer, Jespersen gets it. And he gives good voice to boot.

Also, I recently purchased a silent auction item which was a meal with him at the Mercer Tavern. I got to get on top of that.

Ryanswers Jespersays:

Has your life turned upside down or would you say you were mentally prepared to be a

dad?

Yes and yes. I mean, can you ever truly prepare to be a parent? We had all the books – I even flipped through a few of them – but I got the sense fatherhood is one of those things you can’t truly understand until you’re there. Turned out I was right. I was mentally prepared for the theoretical stuff (keeping a child alive, sending him off to university or the NHL, watching him make his first ten million dollars…), but not truly prepared for the tangible stuff (what it feels like to be *truly* tired, how much work it is to keep a toddler from pulling down bottles/vases/televisions, and how incredible it is to return home after work to your son’s smiling face).

What is one of the biggest surprises you faced becoming a father?

People always say, “You’ll know true love when you meet your little one,” and I’ve always rolled my eyes. Not in a dismissive or cynical way, but in a “Tell me something I don’t know” way. But now I know I had no idea. I’m blown away. I knew I’d jump in front of a train for my kid (don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping I never have to), but the level of love I feel for Wyatt Rudy is off the charts. Another kid was a bit of a jerk to him the other day, and I found myself shooting him a nasty look. He was, like, nine months old. But, y’know, Papa Bear’s gotta look after his cub.

Name something that fatherhood has taught you.

I’ve learned I’m way more selfish than I thought, mostly with my time. Still not much insight into that one (we’re still early in the parenting process), but you asked and that’s my answer.

With your job in mind, when your child asks you what media or news is, how will you describe it to them? Taking that they will be very young into consideration.

From the moment Wyatt is old enough to understand English, I’ll be telling him talk radio is the world’s most important public service. It’ll actually be interesting to see what “news media” looks like by the time he’s old enough to consume it. With such a rapidly- and drastically-changing industry, who knows. It’s one of the things I suppose we’ll have to devise a game plan around at some point. How do you keep your young one informed, and encourage their ability to think critically, while insulating them from some of the world’s harsh realities? My inquisitive nature was no doubt fostered by sitting in on adult conversations around the family dinner table. I’d like to find a way to maintain that tradition with our family moving forward.

Have you turned into your parents yet?

I should be so lucky! We’ll approach a few things from different angles (after all, times have changed), but I’ve been absolutely blessed with two incredible parents. If I come even close to filling their shoes, with my adult son as one of my best friends, I’ll die a happy man.

Would you be able to share a tip with other dads?

Embrace every single second of it. Make the most of your time with your little one(s), and make the most of your time away from them. Buy into it. When you’re around your kids, put your phone away. Look them in the eye. Talk to them whether they understand you or not. Get on the floor for playtime. Make a bit of a mess along with them at dinner time. Laugh, love, learn!

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