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Q&A // Malcolm Buffington

 

Tell us a bit about your story and your family!
I was raised by a single mom in Sacramento California. At an early age I was taught the value of hard work and money management. I washed cars, mowed lawns, walked dogs, made grocery store runs, and whatever I could to earn money so that I could help pay for things like utility bills, groceries, bike parts, etc.. I grew up in a tight knit community with neighbors who viewed each other as equals and we always looked out for one another. I was also blessed to have a handful of amazing people in my life who went out of their way to pour into me and help shape the person I am today. After spending the majority of my life in and around Northern California, I decided in 2013 to pursue a job opportunity in SoCal.
After a hard summer’s work, I met my beautiful wife, Alexa. Be it by fate or divine intervention, our paths crossed and I knew she was the one from the moment I saw her. Needless to say, I charmed my way into her heart via excessive goofiness, unapologetic (and vocal) adoration and one very long sushi date. We have been inseparable since and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We were both eager to start a family and welcome our first baby girl, Elyza in 2014. The next year we moved to Portland, Oregon where we had our son Malakai in 2017. We have since moved to Las Vegas and are excitedly awaiting our third baby due in early July! Six crazy years, three states, two (almost three) babies later, I am one happy husband and father.
 
Malcolm and his wife with our Montecito Weekender
What is your favorite Parker Clay product and how do you love to use it?
My favorite Parker Clay bag is hands down the Montecito Weekender. For six months out of the year I am on a constant travel schedule flying all around the country to run various events. As you can imagine during this time, I am always packing and unpacking for the next trip. The Montecito has been the perfect travel companion and held up great through all the craziness.
Malcolm and his son with our Atlas Backpack 
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 am constantly learning from my kids. I think it’s so important to realize that growth is a huge part of parenting! As your children grow and change, so will you. Learning as you go is all part of the gig.
One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is being okay with everything not being okay. Kids are incredibly resilient. They get told “no”, they get hurt, they experience disappointment, and all these things yet they still find joy! They move on, they adapt, and they try again.
This year has been full of the unexpected, and for a lot of people, it’s been hard to see the positive side of things. I think we could all take a lesson from our littlest humans. Adapt and persevere!
With Father’s Day in mind, what is your message to fathers out there?
For the fathers out there, my biggest advice would be to lead by example. Remember that kids are more likely to do what you do and not necessarily what you say. Even when you think they aren’t listening or watching they typically are. I encourage you to rise to the occasion! Know that you are worthy and capable of being that example. Instill your values in them early on and be that primary influence in their lives so they grow to be secure in who they are.
What is a vital lesson or mindset that you want to impart to your kids?
There is so much I want to teach my children. I think one of the biggest things would be to never let anyone steal your dreams. There will be those along the way who may not understand, or who may even try to stifle your spirit. Resistance will always find you on your path to bigger and better things in life. But I hope, and I pray that my children will never let anything or anyone stop them from making their dreams into reality.
What would be your biggest piece of advice to a new dad? 
My advice to a new dad would be to stay present and actively involved in all that your kids do. Don’t be afraid to step up and do the dirty work, you ARE capable, take action!
Be slow to criticize and quick to praise them as early and as often as possible. Like I said before, learning as you go is part of gig. Above all, just make sure they never question your love for them.
 
Do you have a special memory of your father or mentor from your childhood?
I didn’t come from a “picture perfect” home, or traditional family. I never knew my father, I was raised by a single mother and I had to grow up quicker than most.
When I was about 13 a man named Bill and his family moved across the street from my mother and I. Shortly after, I began babysitting their two year old son and found myself spending more and more time with them. Bill quickly became a father figure to me and I relished in his love and mentorship. When I was gearing up to start basketball, he bought a hoop, played with me, and taught me the fundamentals of the sport. When I was into skateboarding and Tony Hawk video games he skated with me, gamed with me and even learned how to do an Ollie. When he went back to school to further his career and education he ended up having to do the same math as I was doing in high school so he became my study buddy and tutor. When I hit 16 he introduced me to construction and further instilled in me the value of hard work. The next few years our summers were spent remodeling homes together all over Sacramento. During that time he began to stress the importance of furthering my education so I didn’t have to do hard labor for the rest of my life. I went on to college and even after we lost touch for a bit as I grew into early adulthood and ran into some trouble of my own he was always there with open arms.
Now that I have my own kids I find myself teaching a lot of the values I learned from him. Family may not always be made up from blood, but sometimes the best relationships are made from strong bonds with chosen family. My kids now know him as “Papa Bill” and I know him as dad.

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