Family Life

James Jefferson III

Occupation: Louisiana State Trooper
Wife: Heather
Children: James, 5, and Ethan, 3
Hobbies: Working out, playing outside with the babies, and volunteering in the community

As a Louisiana State Trooper, James Jefferson III has learned a lot about parenting and raising a family in Baton Rouge while on the job. He uses those lessons each day as he makes every moment with his family count. Whether he’s attending one of his son’s basketball or football games or simply spending time together at the house doing yard work or going on family walks around the neighborhood, James makes it a point to keep family time as the most important part of the day.

How would you describe raising your children?
It’s fun. It has taught me patience. It is something to look forward to each day. I would describe it as a motivation for me. It reminds me that I have to do the best I can for my peers and for my family. It’s a blessing to have kids.

What are some things you like to do as a family?
We definitely like to go to the jump house, where you have all the games and stuff for the kids to play. We play some arcade games and my wife and I like to play ice hockey on the ice hockey machine. So, it’s generally something along the lines where the kids can get involved and be active. We also enjoy going to church, spending time together at a family member’s house, and seeing grandmother and grandpa.

What’s the greatest thing about being a dad?
So much. You know, it’s the responsibility of putting them in a better position than you were. Being able to provide, teach, and love them. It’s watching the process of them developing skills and just trying to prepare them for life and leaving a legacy for them, where they can be better off in life.

How has parenthood changed you?
Parenthood has changed me for the better. You’re more cautious about how you live life. You’re very calculated about the things that you do and the way that you go about presenting yourself to your kids. Also, patience, for me, has been a big thing. It has made me grow as a person and understand that my decisions not only affect me, but they affect my whole family, and I have to get it right. You can’t just live life willy nilly; you can’t do things that you may have done when you were in college. You have to think about every decision that you make, because it will have a consequence, and you never want it to negatively affect your kids or your family.

What has been your biggest challenge in parenting during the pandemic?
I would say it’s making sure that I am continuing to develop their social and academic skills because they’re so glued to the computer. It seems as if videos and cartoons are always something that’s there and accessible, so one of the biggest things for me has been making sure that they are growing from a social standpoint, and being able to relate and interact with other people and other children.

What do you love most about your job?
With each encounter with the public, I have an opportunity to leave an impression on that person by being a police officer. It’s a challenging time, and so, we have to take each interaction with seriousness and understand that that interaction can be the one interaction that will definitely change their mind or change their perception of law enforcement. So, I absolutely love that aspect of my job. It’s by far one of the most rewarding things.

What has your job taught you about parenting?
It taught me how precious life is and how important family is. Working as a state trooper. I’ve seen a lot of fatalities that include kids, kids my kids’ ages, and to see the hurt that a family has to go through when you have to notify them that a tragedy has taken place, it really makes you understand that life, relationships, and family is so important. It should be the number one thing because it can be taken from you in the drop of a dime. We shouldn’t put them on a back burner. They should be the most important and number one thing outside of God in your life.

How do you make time to relax?
I don’t know how easy that is. Sometimes it’s just being around the kids or a relaxing day at home on the weekend. Although they are running around and doing what a five year old and a three year old would typically do, I’m still able to just relax and talk to the wife and watch things on TV. 

What’s your favorite date night with your wife?
Friday night, that’s me and the wife’s date night. I try to be intentional on ensuring that we don’t have anything scheduled that’s going to inhibit us from going out. This past Friday, we went to a high school basketball game and then to Outback. That’s what a good date night looks like for us.

What’s something you hope to instill in your children?
I guess the top two things are one, have faith in God, and number two, hard work ethic.

Which family member has been your greatest role model in life?
My mom. She lost one of her legs when I was a senior in college, so seeing her continue to work around the house and seeing her commitment to still live life, and just her work ethic is inspiring to me.

Any advice for other parents?
Spend time together because it goes by fast. I was always told that you have to balance life and work, and I see the value of having a balanced work and life schedule. Work will always be there, but you have those precious years with your kids, so just enjoy it. 

Quick Q&A
Before I go out, I always check to make sure I have…
my gun and keys.
In my fridge, you will always find…juice, eggs, cheese, and sour cream.
Favorite cuisine…Chinese.
Favorite movie growing up…Bad Boys 2.
My guilty pleasure is…Moo-llenium Crunch ice cream.
Music I’m loving…Rap, R&B, and Gospel.
I’m always laughing at…my kids.

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