Tell us a bit about your story and your family!
Hi! I’ve been married to the girl of my dreams (Jamie Ivey) for nearly 19 years and we have 4 crazy and incredible kids between the ages of 12 and 16. We live outside of Austin Texas in the country, and most days are filled up with leading creative people at The Austin Stone Church, writing songs, writing books, and cooking food for our big family. I absolutely love traveling the world, hosting people in our home, mentoring future creatives, and encouraging people to be all that God created them to be. I truly believe that something extraordinary lives in every single human being on the planet, and I love helping people find that.
Tell us about the journey to adopt your children?
Adoption wasn’t originally on our radar. We didn’t even consider it until several friends started adopting children from China nearly fifteen years ago. As we stood at the bottom of an airport escalator cheering on families who had just brought a son or daughter in their home, we began to get a sense that God was going to build our family through adoption. Our oldest son is our only biological son, and we now have a son and daughter from Haiti, and a son from Texas. They are extraordinary kids, and I feel absolutely blessed that of all the people in the world, God picked me to be their second father.
What is your favorite Parker Clay product and how do you love to use it?
Every single Parker Clay product is gorgeous. I was blown away by not just the craftsmanship, but also the beautiful design. My favorite is the Atlas Backpack. It’s my daily backpack. It goes everywhere, and it will for a really long time.
We are sure that you’ve learned a lot from being a dad -- but what is one learning experience that you’ve been thinking about lately?
I’m learning that although parenting happens every day, opportunities to speak into their hearts and souls only happen every once in a while. They are rare moments. The kinds that happen randomly on the back porch, or late at night when you run outside to see lightning bugs and they ask hard questions about what’s really going on in their lives. I’m learning to be patient to wait for those. When a culture of openness and availability are nurtured in a father/child relationship, those moments will happen. We just have to wait for them and be willing to shut everything else off to savor the moment.
What is a vital lesson or mindset that you want to impart to your kids?
Be strong. Be kind. Courageous and kind people are inspiring to be around. In our culture, we can tend to swing to one, without the other. But, with the rare collision of strength and kindness in a person, they become a person of hope, light, encouragement, and end up changing people and the world. I hope my kids grow to be incredibly strong and curiously kind.
What is the key to balancing your different roles as Worship Pastor, Father & Husband? How do you prioritize it?
People often ask, “How do you do everything?” And my answer is always the same. “I don’t. No one can.” Too many times we think we need to do everything all the time every day. But that’s impossible. So I try to be faithful to every season and every task that’s directly in front of me. When I’m at work, I’m at work. But, when I’m at home, I’m just dad. I put the phone away. I don’t look at email. It’s been helpful to say “no” more. When you realize you can’t do everything and be everything that everyone needs all the time, it’s easier to say “yes” to the right things and “no” when you need to. Maybe that’s the key.
What would be your biggest piece of advice to a new dad?
Show your kid grace and show yourself grace. There’s no perfect kid. And there’s no perfect father. But a grace-filled one is pretty extraordinary.
Do you have a special memory of your father or mentor from your childhood?
My father said something to me that has always stuck. He spoke it often, wrote it in letters, scribbled it on napkins tucked in my lunchbox, and said it upon big achievements. “Remember who you are.” That’s a good word for any son or daughter to receive. So many times we get into trouble or veer off the right path simply because we forget who we are. It’s been a course-correcting statement so many times in my life. We all need to be reminded how special and unique we are, and that there is a great purpose in every single one of our lives. That phrase still sticks with me, and I hope it always does.
If you could encourage men, specifically Father’s with one thing, what would that be?
Live in every single present moment. As most of us are future-oriented, it’s easy to only think about what’s next. Sometimes we hurry to quickly to the next step, or the next day, but there’s a beautiful sacredness to every single moment. Savor the toddler moments. Soak up the awkward middle school stage. Enjoy the high school friday night football games. Because when you do, you’re instilling into your kids an unbreakable friendship that will last until the very end. That’s what I’m aiming for.
Thank you so much Aaron! We're so grateful to have you and your family in our community!