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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Smarty Dad: Andrew Burhans


By Rachel H

Many moons ago, I went to college with one of the sweetest girls in the world, Dawn. It was no surprise that Dawn found someone with just as much generosity and thoughtfulness as herself when she married Andrew. I am so excited to introduce Andrew as our Smarty Dad today!

Andrew has lived in the Triad for about 16 years. He grew up in Durham, went to WFU for college, worked in Charlotte for about a year and then moved back to Winston Salem in 1994. (Holy cow, was 1994 really 16 years ago???? I am getting old.) Anyway, Andrew and Dawn have three children, Tucker (10), Cameron (7), and Emma Cate (5). Their family is very involved in their church and they love to attend WFU games. The Burhans spend a lot of time watching each others’ after-school activities such as basketball, swimming, soccer and gymnastics.

Aside from being an active father in his children’s lives, Andrew is the Software Engineering Manager for Republic Mortgage Insurance Company in Winston. He loves anything to do with computers, gadgets of anything “techie”. He also brought a fabulous program called All Pro Dad to Southwest Elementary, which we will discuss more below. ..

Your family has a very tight bond. How do you teach your children the true meaning of “family” and how to appreciate the time you have together?
Dawn and I try to make sure that we do as much as we can together … the whole family, that is. I think it’s extremely important that I be involved in my kids’ lives as much as is humanly possible. I don’t want Tucker, Cameron & Emma Cate to grow up and wish that their dad had spent more time with them, so quality time together is very important to me. We all eat dinner together at the kitchen table every night. We have family movie or game night about once a week. We go to Wake football & basketball games as much as we can. We go to church together on Sundays & Wednesdays, and we all go to each others’ sporting events & activities. In addition, everybody has jobs or chores around the house, and we try to help the kids understand how a family has shared responsibilities in order to help each other out..

Please tell us more about All Pro Dad.
All Pro Dad was first started with the help of Tony Dungy and is the fatherhood program of Family First (a national organization that focuses on strengthening the family and promoting principles for building marriages and raising children). The primary goal of the All Pro Dad program is to equip fathers with the moral and educational resources necessary to make them better fathers and role models for their children and within their communities.

There are local All Pro Dad chapters all over the country, started by fathers who want to be involved and create a time & place where dads and kids can strengthen their relationships together. The All Pro Dad organization helps kick-start the creation of local chapters by providing materials, resources & door prizes that are used during the “All Pro Dad’s Day” breakfasts. These are monthly breakfasts held & organized by each local chapter where fathers and their children can get together before school, eat some food, gain good fathering & family insights, have fun and even win door prizes. I thought this was the perfect program to bring to our kids’ elementary school.

What inspired you to start this chapter?
All Pro Dad provides daily email tips for fathers from their website, www.AllProDad.com, and I had subscribed to these emails for about a year. These were very short emails, just a small paragraph usually, and I found them encouraging and extremely relevant & useful. After awhile, I began to seek out more information from their site and found that fathers could become more involved by attending local All Pro Dad days with their children in their communities. When I searched for local chapters in our area, unfortunately, there weren’t any. The closest group was meeting in Greensboro, and there weren’t any in Winston-Salem. So after much discussion and prayer with Dawn, I decided to pursue the possibility of starting a chapter at Southwest Elementary in Clemmons. Not surprisingly, the PTA and Southwest Principal, Mike Hayes, were very supportive of starting this program. I’ve put together a website for our local chapter that provides information, materials & online registration for Southwest Elementary fathers who have an interest in this. It is: www.SouthwestDads.com

Do you think you will be expanding the program to other groups or schools?
I have considered whether it might be beneficial to broaden the scope of our current chapter beyond that of Southwest Elementary families, but right now, I think it’s best to focus on growing & improving the program in its current location.

I’d love for other fathers to consider starting other chapters around the area … there can’t be too many. And if I could be of any help to anyone else who might be curious about this, they can email me at: andrew@southwestdads.com

What is your favorite thing to do as a family?
Go to the beach. We love to spend the entire day on the sand and in the ocean, then playing games or going out together in the evenings.

What is your favorite thing about Dawn?
Her selflessness. She spends countless hours volunteering at the kids’ school, participating on numerous committees, offering to help our family & friends with anything they need, and still takes care of all of us. She is the best mom and wife any kid or husband could ever imagine.

What has been your proudest moment as a father?
When Tucker and Cameron accepted Jesus as their personal Lord & Savior. I can honestly say that there’s nothing more important or eternal than that decision, and I’ve never been more proud of them for those choices.

Is there anything that your parents taught you that has stuck with you through fatherhood?
Sure. Three things come to mind right away: (1) They taught me the importance of our Christian faith, and (2) that my children’s language and actions will reflect what they hear and see from me, and (3) to treat people with respect and kindness, regardless of who they are or what they believe.

How are you able to juggle all of your responsibilities in your career while still making time for family?
I couldn’t do it without an incredibly patient & loving wife who helps me, and an employer who is flexible and values a balanced work & family life.

Funniest thing one of your kids has ever said?
Cameron (our 7 year old), when Duke was playing against Wake Forest in basketball a few weeks ago: “Mom, will I still be part of this family if I pull for Duke instead of Wake?” He was completely serious, and after a long family conference, we decided to let him remain as part of the family. :)

What is your favorite place to go out to eat as a family?
Chili’s … best chips in town!

Favorite date night spot?
Ryan’s Restaurant on Coliseum Drive.

I wish someone had told me sooner about …
TriadSmartyPants.com, of course … duh! :) Ok, no you didn’t pay me to say that. I’d also say Skippy’s Hot Dogs in downtown Winston. Wow, hot dogs on a pretzel roll? I wish I had known about those a long time ago!

I could not live without …
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts! I mean, really, who can?

Andrew, I thoroughly enjoyed all of your answers, thoughts, and inspiration to others!

If you know a Smarty Dad, email us at triadsmartypants@gmail.com to nominate him!

Don't forget to register to win $25 gift cards (plus $25 gift cards for each of your three girlfriends) to shop at Beverly Hills on Main and Harry Smidgepodge in Jamestown! Click here to get all the scooop, and to register. The winner will be randomly picked on Friday, Feb. 11 and announced Feb. 14. Good luck, Smarties!

3 comments:

Amy said...

I had just recently heard about All Pro Dads and was so impressed with this idea! Great Smarty Dad today!

Anonymous said...

The Burhans are such a special, giving family. THey were perfect for you to feature today.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Smarty Dad!!! You deserve it!
Jennifer

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