Occupation: principal of Baton Rouge Ochsner Discovery Health Sciences Academy (BROD)
Wife: Na’Tisha Natt
Children: Laila (7) and Ava (2)
Hobbies: golfing, fishing, working in the yard
Being a parent of two young children is a challenging, yet rewarding, job. This month’s Dad Next Door, Charles Natt, knows fatherhood is a challenge worth accepting. It takes a lot of time and patience to understand your little ones, and, even as a PhD candidate and the principal of the upcoming Baton Rouge Ochsner Discovery Health Sciences Academy, Charles has found the time to raise his girls to be smart, kind, and faithful. He has enjoyed playing a vital role in each stage of their lives and spending quality family time with them, even if that family time requires doing homework. In return, his girls ecstatically welcome him home every evening, giving him the rockstar treatment that has become his favorite thing about being a dad.
What does a normal day look like for you?
I get up around 5:00 in the morning and say a prayer before checking my email for any reminders and overnight communication. Then, I walk through the house, check on everybody, and make sure the girls get dressed and do their morning routines. This year, I haven’t always been able to get a chance to see them when they wake up, so they’ll call me at the bus stop. At work, I prepare BROD for its opening in the 2023-2024 school year. I’m home by 5:00 pm, so in the evenings I work on finishing up my doctoral degree and help Laila with school work.
What are some of the joys and challenges of raising your children?
I’ve enjoyed being able to guide them through the stages of life and developing an understanding of them. At the same time, this can be a challenge to my patience and communication skills; if I don’t understand what they’re thinking, that makes it hard to be empathetic and to communicate with them. I could have their full attention but have no clue what their thoughts are. I’ve had to learn how to use my discernment to understand them.
How would you describe yourself as a dad?
Overall, I think I’m fun, structured, open-minded, encouraging, and a little adventurous as a father.
What do you like to do as a family?
We go to parks together, watch movies, do arts and crafts projects, and ride bikes or do yard work as a family just to be outside and not glued to our devices. Most of our family time is on the weekends, but we are still able to squeeze things in throughout the week. Even homework time can be family time.
What’s your favorite thing about being a dad?
I love coming home after being at work all day and hearing two little girls shouting “dad!” and looking at me like I’m a superhero. It’s like seeing Michael Jackson back in the day–they look at me like I’m The Man.
What has parenthood taught you?
Patience and communication overall. Patience comes in at times like when I’m ready to go somewhere, but a shoe is missing or someone’s hair has to be done. Communication comes in when I’m dealing with my child’s unique moods and moments. I have to remember to separate being a principal from being a parent; I have to watch their growth and never compare them and their actions to kids at school.
What are some things you hope to teach your children?
Always ask God for patience and understanding, always communicate and value family. If something doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t right. And, finally, education never takes a vacation because everything is a learning experience.
What is something your job has taught you about parenting?
Parenting is different across the world, but being kind is a universal language.
How do you tackle any challenges you face as a dad?
I identify if the problem is a real problem and ask myself, is it a downpour or just a sprinkle? From there I gauge what steps I need to take to approach the situation, and I make sure the challenge is accepted because challenges build character.
What is a parenting myth you want to debunk?
For me, the biggest myth is that dads have to be perfect. This isn’t true! We do get tired and make mistakes because we are human. We may be a superhero to our children when we come home at night, but we have to accept that we are human.
What personality traits of yours do your children also have?
They’re both very observant and have my competitive drive. I don’t think either of my daughters has met a stranger yet.
Do you have any advice for other parents?
Allow your children to see your work ethic, your job space, and your progress. Celebrate their achievements and inform them of your personal goals. Teach them to never look down on others, and make your family a healthy, positive circle for everyone.
My favorite TV show is…Blue Bloods
My favorite dessert is…cheesecake
My favorite food is…anything off the grill
My favorite holiday is…Christmas
My guilty pleasure is…nice dress socks
The first thing I do when I wake up is…pray
I’m always laughing at…others at the red light
My dream travel spot is…South Africa