Chris Traganos - Techie, Developer Advocate
(Chris, Meredith, Claire, Mattias)
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Hey Tiang, thanks for having me! For starters, I am a techie and Dad based in Austin, Texas.
During the day, I lead the Developer Advocacy team at Stripe. What that means practically is, myself and a team of engineers outreach to developers about our payment APIs and dev tools. We do this work primarily through livestreams, events, and sample code.
How old are your kid(s)?
My daughter is 10 years old and my son is 8 years old -- time flies!
Who is the primary caregiver in the household, and what are you and your partner’s do parenting philosophy?
Like a basketball strategy, our parenting philosophy during this pandemic is zone defense. This means I cover for her and vice versa throughout the different parts of our daily schedule.
While I am tucked away during the day on video calls in the back home office, my wife has been helping them with their virtual class work and getting them ready for the day. I'm so grateful she's a trained educator and an amazing life partner.
Once dinner time comes then I will shut off for the evening and keep the kids occupied before dinner, taking them on a night walk before bed, and covering the house so my spouse can get relief from the day.
As in all things, it's work in progress as we focus on surviving this insane year.
What's your favourite moment in the day with your kid(s)?
I really enjoy going on a coffee walks or looping around our neighborhood with them each individually. As they continue to develop and progress in their studies, I’m getting to know them even more as they improve their conversation skills. We are having bi-directional chats and I'm learning just as much from them as they do from me.
How do you keep yourself sane?
I mean, what parent is sane at the moment?? 😅👨👧👦
While the two hours after the workday's are exhausting, I typically will watch a show with my wife or read a book when they are in bed. Lately, I have fallen down a rabbit hole of playing Zelda Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Switch. It's a very beautiful game and I never thought in a million years I would be playing video games again since I had a super Nintendo in the 90s. Living that pandemic life I suppose 😂
Best tech tip on parenting. This can be apps / hardware / gear you use, and how you use them.
Put in the time and effort to get your iPad/tablet settings for both "screen time" and "allowed apps" configured properly. It gets increasingly difficult as your kids age to make sure they are using the apps and services that you're comfortable with. In addition, consider getting a Google Wi-Fi since you can control which devices can access the Internet during which times of the day.
I will also add that Google Home devices have been helpful with allowing the kids to set their own timers during the day. This is important to ensure that one hour of screen time is truly just one hour and it’s easier for them to be reminded about the agreement from a timer they set themselves.
Most helpful advice you've received as a parent.
Set up regular and consistent times for each one of your kids so that they get to know you directly and not just in group settings. For my daughter and I it’s take out coffee/tea and a drive to get a car wash. For my younger son it’s playing in the backyard and catching up on how his day went. Each one of them has different moments which make them feel special but the connected theme is being that safe place for them to ask questions about anything. It truly has been so helpful these last two years as they develop in their personalities and age.
What lessons do you not want your kid(s) to learn?
I want them to avoid sneaking to get their way and rather show them them importance of being honest and treating others with kindness.
What was the best lesson you learned from your child?
During potential arguments, my son is great at being a peacemaker and reminding us all all to cool down and come back with a clearheaded conversation. He’s only eight years old and I’m just so blown away by his wisdom and reminder to take the emotion out of difficult conversations.
What is your proudest dad moment?
Often when my kids fight over shared game devices, my wife and I can be discouraged and being unsure if they love each other.
Several times last year before the lockdown some kids were messing with my son and my daughter stepped up each time as his big sister. In addition, once when hiking the freezing cold Colorado Rockies, I watched as my daughter wrapped my son around in her jacket and held him close to keep him warm and safe. These quiet moments warm my heart and so proud to know when the situation arises they do the caring thing to each other.
If you could ask anyone, dead or alive, for their best parenting tip, who and what would that be?
This year was incredibly difficult in our household. I lost my father in the Spring of 2020 and I have spent much time thinking about how he would handle different situations. One of the most pertinent questions I’d have for him is how did he reinforce the importance of hard work in making sure we did not become entitled, and how to love earning through labor? This work ethic has shaped my life and I’d love to know how early he began teaching us the value of shoveling parking lots for money, running lemonade stands, and the joy of getting a paycheck at the end of a job. Gosh I miss him so much and I have a million other questions I’d ask him it as my kids get older and older.
How do you manage technology exposure for your child/children. For eg, thoughts on screen time etc.
Enforcement steps have been slowly coming to a head this year. As I mentioned earlier, for the past two years we had Google Wi-Fi turn off the Internet to their devices outside of the hours of 8 AM to 8 PM. Typically they both have one hour of screen time each and the real challenge I’ve had lately is with games such as Roblox, Among Us, and related apps that have a chat component. These games make it so easy for the kids to be exposed to random Internet people from around the world.
Thankfully since we have family sharing on the Apple devices I was able to see one of my kids was sneaking the iPad to play Roblox at night and had enough data to realize how crucial it is to control Internet access and limits on their devices. As a result for the past month we’ve completely removed the tablets and they now can use either Netflix on our main TV screen or the Nintendo Switch. I will not pretend to have any clue about knowing what I’m doing but I know that (especially during this pandemic) we have to be vigilant about the access and influence these apps have over our children in our house because it’s only going to get crazier over time.
What hobbies do you and your children share?
We all love going for hikes, seeing exotic animals in the wild, and playing games together. We are still trying to figure out which sports each one of them love (currently softball and lacrosse) but the journey of trying different Junior Leagues has been fun in itself because I’m watching them process it on their own. I think my daughter could be a professional basketball or volleyball player and my son most definitely wants to work with animals when he grows up. It's a blessing to watch them explore these hobbies on their own.
Finally, your best dad joke!
Eeeeeks, way to put me on the spot! 😄
Ok let's try this: A product manager enters a bakery and asks for a muffin. The baker says no and will consider it for the future.