Being a Rocking Father
- 2002 19 Sep
Will McGinniss is perhaps best known as the bassist for the Christian rock group Audio Adrenaline, and his trademark healthy head of blond hair that never stops moving once Will begins to play.
While his stage life is quite contemporary, Will and his wife, Andrea, enjoy a more traditional home life. They had their first child in 1999 after four years of marriage. Will told Family.org about the joys of parenting, and he encouraged young couples to start families of their own.
Family.org: Tell us about your son.
Will: Satchel turned 3 on February 17. He is amazing.
Family.org: Did you always plan to have children?
Will: My wife, Andrea, and I planned a month-long trip to Europe when we first were married. We were going there with the notion to have a romantic getaway backpacking, solely for the reason to conceive our son. I'm kind of a hopeless romantic, and it was just one of those wild ideas. . .to say, "Hey, wouldn't it be neat to say that we conceived our child in Europe?" Several months later, it was obvious that Andrea wasn't pregnant. So about a year and a half later we planned another trip―to the Pacific coast in Seattle. And, sure enough, we conceived our son up there.
Family.org: Did you know you were going to have a son?
Will: We waited to find out. We did everything natural. In fact, we had our second child, Addison, at home.
Will: Yes. We are very much into natural childbirth. Satchel was delivered at a birthing center with a midwife, and our second one was at home with a midwife. My son is at that age where he's a beautiful personality, full of character, learning so much, so quickly. Sometimes he'll be trying to say a sentence and he sounds like he's babbling. It's like we are supposed to understand what he's talking about.
Family.org: What do you and Andrea do together with a 3-year-old?
Will: I pull him in my bike carrier a lot. He likes riding his big wheel, coloring, drawing. I give Mommy a break by taking him out on weekend [concert] runs; he's our biggest fan. He loves Ben [Audio Adrenaline's drummer], so we bought him a drum set. We're going to encourage him to pursue his dreams.
Family.org: How do you handle being on the road while raising your son?
Will: With traveling, my heart is really into being at home, but God has given me this platform and this place in time right now―for who knows how long, so that we are effective ministers of the Gospel to kids. It definitely makes leaving home a lot harder and coming home that much sweeter.
Family.org: How much time do you spend away from home?
Will: Probably about 120 to 150 shows a year.
Family.org: Do you bring your family along with you?
Will: No, not often. Andrea works at home. She basically is at home with our children all the time and tries to work during their naps. Sometimes we have a person come help in the morning to give her a couple of hours of good work.
Family.org: What kind of family did you come from?
Will: I came from a broken home. My mom and dad were divorced when I was 2; I didn't have a father figure my whole life.
Family.org: How did that affect you?
Will: I grew up feeling insecure, kind of a loner. Basically, I didn't feel like I was that important. My mom eventually became a Christian. When that happened, our world turned around for the better.
Family.org: Were you still in the home when she became a Christian?
Will: Yes, I was the first person in my household to become a Christian, then my younger sister became a Christian, then my twin became a Christian, and then my mom became a Christian. It's one of those things where I don't really have a great role model to base my dealings with Satchel and Addison. Andrea came from a great family with a solid background, but I'm just trying to be a father like other fathers I have known.
Family.org: How have you dealt with the differences in your backgrounds?
Will: There are definitely some issues with discipline. Andrea experienced very strong discipline, and I basically had none. So we are learning to work together on that whole area, and on how we want to deal with our own children.
Family.org: Can you describe some of the joys of parenting?
Will: Well, right now we're in the middle of potty training.
Family.org: Oh, that's a joy!
Will: You know, joys in parenting are just getting the opportunity to experience first things first for a child. We get the awesome pleasure of experiencing these joys with them.
Family.org: Like potty training.
Will: Yeah, (laughs) like potty training. Like putting shoes on the right feet. My son's favorite saying is, "Satchel do it, Satchel do it." He wants to do everything on his own. Addison just tries to keep up with her brother.
Family.org: You're the only band member with kids, right?
Family.org: Are there any conflicts with that?
Will: I think there are several things that a band goes through that could either make or break it. The first is when you are in college and everyone has to choose either to follow a career path or be in the band. The next is when the first few band members get married―you can't "hang out" like you did when you were single. And then, like with me, one has kids and you don't really know how that's going to change things. The conflict now is how much time I should spend on the road. Honestly, God has still put on my heart the strong need to reach out to kids.
Family.org: You do a very good job of that.
Will: God has given me a ministry to the kids―and freaky kids, whom I love, because I was one of them. Being away from Satchel and Addison is much, much harder now, but I still enjoy the stage, seeing a kid light up and, maybe, experience God for the first time.
Family.org: How is Andrea with that? I mean, she met you when you were a rock star.
Will: Yeah, she's been with us in this ministry all along. She's total backbone, but I think she's getting to a point where it's wearing a little thin with her, to be honest. It's coming to a place where, over the next several years, hopefully, we might be working to a day when I'm home more. I would have never guessed the band would have lasted 11 years, but God has continued to lead the band through open doors.
Family.org: Do you spend a lot of time in the studio?
Will: About every other year, we spend 4 to 6 months in the studio. Right now I've had a solid week with my kids, but next week I'll be on the road. There are many re-entry periods when you come home―your wife is used to doing everything on her own, you have to respect the fact that she's been doing everything on her own and it's going to take a little bit for her and the kids to adjust. It hurts your feelings when the kids want to go nite nite with Mommy instead of Daddy, and different things like that.
Family.org: You sound like a military man.
Will: It's exactly like that; I'm sure others who are in traveling occupations face similar situations.
Family.org: Do you plan to have more kids?
Will: It's one of those things where we are on hold for now, but we're not doing anything to prevent it. We're just trying to think about the future. We're very open to adoption, too. We've had that on our hearts since we were married. Before we even started talking about kids, we were talking about adopting abandoned children.
Family.org: Did you ever consider life without children?
Will: For me, having children was a direct command of God. Adam and Eve were created to procreate. And that makes sense, really. I didn't know God until I had kids. . .the way I know God now. My kids showed me how God could love men, how God could love us the way I love my kids. There's nothing my son could do wrong that could ever change the way I feel about him. It's inexpressible. I never had an idea what real godly love was like until I had my son.
Family.org: Any closing words to young couples?
Will: Having children is a maturing point. The way you start looking at people is totally different; the way you start to treat your own family is different. You are now giving so much more than you are receiving. It totally changes how you react to your own parents, and even your grandparents.
Family.org: So parenting has changed Will McGinniss. . .
Will: Yes―God has changed me through parenting.
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