DAD NEXT DOOR: Chris Hester
- OCCUPATION: Baton Rouge City Court Judge
- WIFE: Emily
- CHILDREN: Hayden, 3, and Avery, 1
- HOBBIES: Active in sports, coaching, and an LSU sports fan
After running for a political office, living your life as if you’re an open book is almost written in the stars. To some, this close up view of a person’s daily life could become a bit overwhelming. However, Chris Hester embraces it all with a smile as he raises his children.
As a husband, father of two, and Baton Rouge’s City Court Judge, Chris Hester begins each day with a full plate. While each day’s work schedule may always be different, he finds comfort in the rides to school with his little ones every morning and coming home to them in the evenings for some relaxing family time.
How would you describe raising your children?
C: It’s fantastic. I really have no idea what we did with our time before we had kids. It has all been very rewarding.
What do you like to do as a family?
C: Hayden likes going to the park and playing outside. We also golf, and Avery loves to watch! Hayden likes to be outside as much as possible.
What’s the greatest thing about being a dad?
C: I enjoy watching them grow and develop their own personalities. You also always hope that they do better than you did when you were a kid.
What was your latest dad win?
C: Hayden is always watching and remembering. And I remember watching Hayden help his grandmother up the stairs the other day. It was cool to see him know that you should help others who are older than you.
How has parenthood changed you?
C: Made me feel that I had a bigger purpose in life. Your level of responsibility increases, and we definitely have to plan our days more.
What do you love most about your job?
C: Interacting with so many different people. It keeps me on my toes because you go in not knowing what kind of day you’re going to have.
What has your job taught you about parenting?
C: To realize that everyone have their own individual problems, so you should always be kind and respectful. It reminds me that my kids are going to have good days and they’re going to have bad days, so be respectful to everyone.
How do you make time to relax?
C: My wife is fantastic. Emily lets me sneak away, even if it’s just for a few rounds of golf. However, if you get free time, don’t waste it. We spent a lot of free time sitting at home, so don’t waste it.
What kind of dad are you?
C: Caring, but also strict. I have high expectations. I want to make sure they do the right things, but if they do make mistakes, I want to correct them early on.
What’s something you hope to instill in them?
C: I’m in charge of drop off, so one thing I say with Hayden each morning is, “Are we going to have a great day?” and he’ll say, “Yes,” and I’ll ask him, “How do we have a great day?” And the response is: "Smile, make people smile, be nice, and always have fun."
Best parenting advice you have ever received?
C: Enjoy it and don’t take it for granted, even the long nights. They aren’t going to be little forever.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
C: People who don’t tell the truth. I have a pretty good gauge on when someone is telling the truth now, but I consider myself to be really trusting. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.
What personality trait of yours do your children also have?
C: Being kind. Hayden is tough on the outside but a softie on the inside. Avery is more of the daredevil like her mom. She takes longer to warm up to people, but she always shows you how much she loves you.
Which family member has been your greatest role model in life?
C: My dad. He passed away a few years ago, but I hope that Hayden sees in me what I saw in him.
What’s your biggest goal in life right now?
C: That my kids are successful and that they enjoy life, smile a lot, and have a great day.
Do you have any advice for other parents?
C: Make the most of when you first see them and right before you leave them for the day. Hayden will still hold my hand, and I know that won’t last forever, so make the most of that time.
The parenting item I couldn’t live without…Emily.
In my fridge, you will always find…milk and fruit.
Favorite movie growing up…The Sandlot.
My guilty pleasure is…sleeping late after Emily gets up with the kids.
Music I’m loving…country music.
I feel my best when I…get home with my family after a great day.
My favorite ice cream is…Cookies and Cream.
My dream travel spot is…Greece.
Favorite children’s book growing up…Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go.