Bringing his family along on wild adventures, driving south for good surf, and mixing his own special blend of trail mix are all things Creative Contemplative Dad on the Street Ross Byrd does with style.
Ross is the founder and director of Surf Hatteras, a destination surfing camp in the Outer Banks, NC, and co-director of VB Fellows, a faith-based leadership development program for recent college grads in Virginia Beach. He and his wife, Hannah, have four children, Ila, Susannah, Samuel, and Isaiah. He received his BA from the University of Virginia and his MA in theology from Reformed Theological Seminary and has served for six years as a director of youth and undergraduate ministries within the Episcopal Church. More recently, he served for four years as Associate Pastor of Christ Community Church in Virginia Beach. Ross is also a musician/songwriter and an aspiring (though very amateur) novelist. He can talk for a long time about Billy Joel, dinosaurs, Middle Earth, and Christopher Nolan movies.
Which three words best describe your style? What. Is. Style? (OR...Whatever. Hannah. Says.)
What are your favorite places to work out? I despise working out, but I do what I do not want to do three times a week either in my living room or at Anytime Fitness.
Who’s your favorite fitness icon? Chris Farley (vs Patrick Swayze, Chippendales contest)
What’s your best fitness advice? Don’t forget you have a body. (I tell myself this all the time. It works.)
What trend did you love at the time, but now cringe when you see old photos? The Jim-Carrey-from-Dumb-and-Dumber haircut I have in our wedding photos. It wasn’t the trend then, either.
What’s your dad superpower? Impromptu singalongs at the living room piano. It interrupts all manner of misbehavior. (50% Disney, 50% Beatles)
Facial hair or clean-shaven? Unclean shaven.
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family? Surfing in Hatteras, where we live in the summer. Or reading a great story together. Or dancing in the kitchen.
What’s been your best family vacation? North Shore of Oahu last year for two weeks in November. That's the beauty of homeschooling! We will never forget it.
What’s your favorite family activity? Anything where my wife is uncontrollably laughing at our kids. Nothing makes me happier than watching her enjoy our family.
Best parenting advice: Just for dads: Don’t be “off” when you’re home. Connect with your kids. Serve your wife. Sleep when you die (or when they’re 20).
Parenting true confession: If it’s a pretend game with one of my younger ones, there's a 70% chance I'll fall asleep mid-sentence while speaking on behalf of the doll/car/dinosaur in my hand.
What’s your go-to family dinner? Frozen pizza and mac-and-cheese. Both. Together. (When mom is gone.)
What’s your favorite family restaurant? Five Guys, baby!
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch? Stranger Things. But...before there was binge-watching, Han and I watched LOST on actual television, which meant waiting a whole week b/t each ridiculously contrived cliffhanger (and loving every minute of it). That’ll be our “uphill both ways” story for the grandkids. It was tough back in those days.
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be? Jack Black. But in the body of Christian Bale (Batman Bale, though 'Machinist' Bale would be more realistic)
What’s your favorite sport and why? Tie between tennis and soccer. Tennis, because of its live-action chess with a ball. Soccer, because it’s the international language (if you could give a game a Nobel Peace Prize…).
What’s your favorite workout song? Wachet Auf by Bach (orchestral, not choral)
If you could hang out with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be? Tie between C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? Currently, Italy.
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day?" A good audiobook at 2X speed.
Whether he's surfing, binge-watching Stranger Things or chowing down on a Five Guys burger, Ross lives his life creatively and adventurously. He thinks about things deeply and isn't afraid to invite others into high-quality conversations. Just don't bring up Lord of the Rings... or you'll never get him to stop talking.
While Ross might not have much of a clue when it comes to clothing style, his creative and contemplative lifestylemakes up for it. And besides, his lovely and fashionable wife Hannah has him squared away with the style advice. Ross, thanks for showing us how cool dads can be... even the nerdy ones.
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