Meet Rashad Smith and his family—wife, Tiffany, and daughters, Tamia and Briana
Tell us about your life—your family, what you do.
My wife and I were born and raised in North Carolina and moved to Owensboro in 2011 when I accepted a position at Kentucky Wesleyan College following service as Associate Dean of Admissions at Catawba College (my alma mater). My career is in higher education as an Admissions and Enrollment Management professional. I currently serve as the Executive Director for Enrollment at the University of Southern Indiana where I commute from Owensboro each day. My wife, Tiffany, works at Sutton Elementary as a 3rd grade teacher.
She and I have two daughters, Tamia and Briana, and a Goldendoodle named Bella. Tamia is graduating from Owensboro High School and will attend the University of Southern Indiana in the fall. Briana is headed off to the 6th grade to begin her middle school journey.
What is it like being a dad to girls?
I love my girls and think it is the greatest blessing! They both keep me grounded, challenge me and keep me centered. I think they have a lot of fun at my expense because they seem to be able to process small things much faster than me! However, I take great care in trying to make the world “slow down” for them during their challenging times. As a father, I want to be that pillar for them. They, of course, have similarities, but are different from each other and being that pillar sometimes means just being available. A quiet place of security and safety.
The best and most challenging part of being a parent?
To me, the best part about being a parent is being able to understand God’s love for us on a much deeper level even though it’s still difficult to comprehend the depth of His love and greatness. The moment you become a parent, the door is opened to a different level of love that you couldn’t comprehend beforehand. It’s also great to see them grow, learn, succeed and to celebrate their accomplishments with them. I think the most challenging part is not being able to take away anything that causes them pain, sorrow or sickness. As I mentioned before, it is in those times when being a pillar becomes critically important. Sometimes not knowing what to say is OK as long as you are available and present for them to lean on. But it is still difficult to not be able to fix it.
What is the best parenting advice you can offer other parents?
The best parenting advice I can give to parents is to intentionally be unpopular when those moments come into your child’s life. Unpopular to their friends, parents of their friends and to the general public – be unpopular when you know you need to be for the best interest of your child. Being unpopular never feels good, but it is necessary to help your child see the world around them “slow down.” It may not happen in that moment and it may not happen when you’re present to witness it, but I believe it will happen in the times they need it most. The world around them will slow down, even if but for a moment, so they can think clearly.
With your girls growing up during this time in the U.S., what do you hope for most?
We always talk to our girls about their value and being confident. I tell them I love them multiple times a day, every single day. As girls and as minorities, the truth of the matter is that the road was not paved and leveled for them. They are still traveling uphill, but their confidence in who they are is what will keep them and carry them through these difficult times and the times that they will face in the future.
I hope for them to continue to have compassion and care for those who are less fortunate, to share their talents and use their gifts to change the world. On the surface it sounds like a huge task, but if you can help one person embrace their own value and their contribution to others, you’ve taken the first step in the process.
What I hope for most is for me to be able to reread this with them and their children and honestly be able to say we’ve all worked together to repave the road and it is level for everyone!