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Financially Fit Kidz. Dr. Philip McAdoo
Financial education is an important life lesson that all children can benefit from. By teaching kids about money early on, they can develop good financial habits that will serve them well throughout their lives. There are many ways to teach children about money, and the best way to do it depends on the child’s age and level of understanding.
When I was a child, my parents didn’t have the tools to have conversations with my siblings and me about money and we didn’t receive some of those foundational financial skills that I needed later in life. In talking with clients, people and kids, I discovered there’s a lot lacking when it comes to financial literacy and financial education. It has been a mission of mine to normalize conversations around money and finances. And I believe “It’s never too early to empower kids to learn about money.”
I am so excited about this special edition of MYSA, as I have invited Dr. Philip McAdoo, my new friend and fellow co-author of our new children’s book, Darius Wants a Dog. Philip and I talk about the challenges and rewards of adoption, his love of dogs, financial literacy for children and his experiences with his son Zaden. I invite you to listen to this powerful conversation.
Darius Wants a Dog is the perfect book to teach your children about money! This engaging book teaches young readers about Darius. Darius decides that he desperately needs to have a dog and quickly learns that wanting new things can also require time, money, being responsible, and sometimes, deciding it’s okay to change your mind!
To learn more about Darius Wants a dog, visit: https://go2.money/kidz or grab a copy at your favorite online bookstore.
About Dr. Philip
Dr. Philip brings over 15 years of experience as a diversity, equity and inclusion practitioner and educator. He is currently the Vice President of DEI at Earthjustice. As an openly gay educator and activist, Philip has worked tirelessly to combat homophobia in his personal and professional life by fiercely advocating for himself, his family, and the rights of LGBTQ youth, families, and educators as well.
He joined Rep. John Lewis to advocate in support of Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would lower some of the barriers faced by same-sex couples who want to adopt children from foster care, as Philip and his partner Sean did. Philip is also the author of Independent Queers: LGBTQ Educators in Independent Schools Speak Out and the children’s book, Every Child Deserves.
Financially Fit Kidz Book Series: Darius Wants a Dog
In this first installment of The Financially Fit Kidz series, Darius teaches young readers about budgeting, leadership, and that it’s okay to change your mind.
Darius wants a dog, but he doesn’t know if he wants the responsibility. When Darius asks his dads for a dog, they let Darius babysit his aunt’s dog first. While it’s so much fun to play with the dog, Darius must learn about how to budget for things like food and toys, how to make time for a pet, and that owning a dog isn’t all fun all the time.
Or grab your copy at your favorite online bookstore:
Get Social with Financially Fit Kidz
Click to Read Full Transcript
[00:00:00] Bob Wheeler: Financial education is an important life lesson that all children can benefit from. By teaching kids about money early on, they can develop good financial habits that will serve them well throughout their lives. There are many ways to teach children about money, and the best way to do it depends on the child’s age and the level of understanding.
When I was a child, my parents didn’t have the tools to have conversations with my siblings and me about money, and we didn’t receive some of those foundational financial skills that I needed. Later in. In talking with clients, people, and kids, I discovered there’s a lot lacking when it comes to financial literacy and financial education.
It has been a mission of mine to normalize conversations around money and finances, and I believe it’s never too early to empower kids to learn about money. I’m so excited about this special edition of Money You should Ask as I’ve invited Philip McAdoo, my new friend and fellow co-author of our new children’s book, Darius wants a.
Philip and I talk about the challenges and rewards of adoption, his love of dogs, financial literacy for children, and [00:01:00] his experiences with his son. Aiden, I hope you enjoy this powerful conversation. Darius Wants A Dog is the perfect book to teach your children about money. This engaging book teaches young readers about Darius.
Darius decides that he desperately needs to have a dog and quickly learns that wanting new things can also require time, money, being responsible, and sometimes deciding it’s okay to change your mind. To learn more about Darius once a dog, click on the link in the show notes. I’m Bob Wheeler, and this is Money You should Ask, where we explore why we do what we do when it comes to
[00:01:32] Dr. Philip McAdoo: money.
[00:01:54] Bob Wheeler: Philip McAdoo brings over 15 years of experience as a diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioner and [00:02:00] educator. He is currently the vice president of DEI at Earth Justice. As an openly gay educator and activist, Philip has worked tirelessly to combat homophobia in his personal and professional life by fiercely advocating for himself, his family, and the rights of LGBTQ youth, families, and educators As.
He joined Representative John Lewis to advocate in support of every child deserves a family act, which would lower some of the barriers faced by same-sex couples who wanna adopt children from foster care as Philip and his partner Sean did. Phillip is also the author of Independent Queers, LGBTQ Educators in Independent Schools Speak Out and the Children’s Book, every Child.
Well, I am super excited. I have my co-author here, Dr. Philip McAdoo, who co-wrote this book. We initially met through Haneefah Wood, a wonderful, amazing friend of mine. Yes. Who you met, I believe, on Broadway.
[00:02:55] Dr. Philip McAdoo: Yes, we were doing the rent. I don’t know if she leaves this out of the story. And she was [00:03:00] actually homeless, and so she slept on my couch.
I gave her my apartment for an extended period of time. I was like, just stay here. I remember my fondest memory is coming home and Hefa sitting on my sofa watching like soap operas. So we instantly fell in love and she told me how great you were and that we had to meet, and I’m so glad she did. So thank you.
Thank you, thank you. And, and thank you.
[00:03:23] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, no, we gotta, and Hefa did not tell me that she couldn’t pay rent when she was in rent . Oh yeah. She used
[00:03:29] Dr. Philip McAdoo: to wear this, like her uncle’s, I think it was like utility, like jumpsuit. He worked at like an electric company and that was the outfit she always wore. So yeah.
But definitely a hard worker. She deserves all the success that’s happening for her, so I’m really proud of her.
[00:03:43] Bob Wheeler: She does. She does. We love Haneefah. I’m so excited because when, originally I had this idea, Darius wants a. I just really loved the name Darius, and I was really excited about the story and I had this idea for these different kids to all [00:04:00] come from these different backgrounds.
Yeah. And I wanted to highlight all these underrepresented kids, which for me, I never realized like, oh look, all the dolls are white or, Oh man. Like these subtle things. And I got super excited and I was talking with my book editor, coach Amanda, and she said, you know, Bob, this is such a great idea, but there’s a problem.
I was like, oh. She goes, you’re white , you’re white. There’s that thing. There’s that thing. It’s a problem. Yeah, . So when she said, well, you could co-write these different stories with people from the communi. I was like, that’s such a cool idea. And then Haneefah hooked and Darius was the book I just wanted to lead with.
Darius. Yeah. I love all the kids, but Darius was my kid. And you told me you went through an experience with your son and a dog and all the responsibility. Yeah. So it was a match made in heaven.
[00:04:59] Dr. Philip McAdoo: It, it didn’t [00:05:00] change. Right. Cause as we were talking, I’m remembering that we adopted my son. He was six and then we had a dog that we really.
Was a part of our family and loved so much so that during the parenting classes, they told us to kinda rank. And I was like, my dog, my partner, and this potential new kid, like in that order, that order. And they were like, well, if the kid doesn’t like the dog, I’m like, then the kid is going back. And so Cecil was our first dog, and my son was adopted outta foster care.
So there was some jealousy. I mean, he was six. And so he felt like he had to fight for our attention. And so when Cecil died, We were just a mess. And he came home from school. He cried, but it was kind of like, mm. I was like, oh, that’s sweet. He’s trying . And so then when we got a new dog and we have a pit mix, he was a part of the process.
But you know, it’s like, okay, now you have to walk the dog. Now you have to pick up the poop. All the things that he is like, oh, and then when his friends would come over [00:06:00] and really go crazy about our. That he would kind of like fake, like he loved the dog. I’m like, dude, . And then fast forward to now he’s 17.
This was like when he was seven. We got a new dog. This was supposed to be for him. Covid was hard on him, so we’re like, let’s get you a dog. You can pick it up. Same is Doby, like the Elf. He loves Harry Potter. Same thing. Dobis right there, asleep on my bed. This one’s here because the kid just can’t, and then he comes back and they’re like poop bags in his pocket.
I’m like, you have to pick up the poop. You can’t leave it in the. Still the responsibility at 17 is hard for kids. You know, it’s just like this shiny new thing and then you really have to take care of it. But he loves the snuggles and the hugs. He just left my room. He was like, can I have the dogs? I’m like, you didn’t want them today.
No. Cannot . That’s the rule.
[00:06:45] Bob Wheeler: That’s the rule. You gotta have rules. Yeah. Well, and dogs are different than bikes. Like you can have the shiny new bike, but you don’t have to feed it . That’s
[00:06:53] Dr. Philip McAdoo: true. But you know, I guess also kids are at that age. Well, from my experience with bike on, [00:07:00] I don’t know. I guess as an adult you experience life and when you really tap into what it means to be loved and people talk all the time about the unconditional love of pets and I was a pet owner later in life, like my adult life, and I’m hooked.
My mom’s here, she said, what are you gonna do one day when they answer you like, I’m gonna applaud. Cause they answer me now. Just having that level of like, okay, this is gonna be constant and that they love you, you feed them of course, which is why they love you. But , I just love it. I mean, I was just telling my friend, I was like, I want one more dog.
My partner’s like, no, cause we have two. They were like, no. I’m like, don’t you remember Oprah and all her dogs? I wanna be like Op. They’re like, you’re not Oprah. We’re not getting another dog. So yeah, not, cause we have this big property now. We moved out of the city. Nice. Two acres and I’m like, I just want dogs running around.
So I think I can get. More and then I’ll be done. Well, you know, you’ve
[00:07:53] Bob Wheeler: got the space to do three
[00:07:55] Dr. Philip McAdoo: dogs, right? Yes,
[00:07:56] Bob Wheeler: definitely. And maybe a baby elephant and a lama and [00:08:00] a few other things. Well, we have these,
[00:08:02] Dr. Philip McAdoo: we have Fox and we have whatever critter is running around, just so a cat tonight running around. So they’re out there.
[00:08:08] Bob Wheeler: That’s too fun. So your son was six when you adopted him? Yes. And you started to have conversations with him? Probably. I mean, he was talking so .
[00:08:18] Dr. Philip McAdoo: Oh yeah, yeah. Fooling tar.
[00:08:20] Bob Wheeler: He’s probably going, I don’t like this, I don’t wanna do this. And yeah. Do you have conversations with your son about money? Do you have those, you know, not the serious talk, but these conversations
[00:08:32] Dr. Philip McAdoo: you have.
None is what the conversation is. You have no money cuz he has this green light app where mm-hmm. , you know, he gets weekly allowance, for lack of a better word, but he’s 17. So he hasn’t had a job, and I don’t mind that he, covid was hard. We moved and so he was trying to get settled in school. So I don’t mind that he hasn’t, like when’s he gonna work?
He’s been in school, been committed to his mental health, so we’re trying to find the right balance. [00:09:00] But you know, kids with walking around with cash as a teenager can be dangerous. And like, what are you gonna do? What are you gonna buy? You know, so they’re trying to find the balance and then the grandparents come and they slip the money.
I’m like, where did you get money? Like, what’s going on? So we do talk about money again, the fact is you don’t have any, this is ours, , but he’s really like a good kid in terms of chores and things he does around the house. It’s really great. But my partner and I are very different. He grew up in dc. I grew up in the south, poor than he poor than he was.
And we always say like, when someone dies in my family, it’s like, We need to get together and bury them. And when his family’s like, oh, grandmother left you some money. So we are always . There’s this whole diversity experience happening in our house. And so we are trying to just kind of balance our different lived experiences and what we put on our son.
Cause my partner will tell you, oh, I had a paper out and blah, blah, blah. I worked, you know, I’ve always worked. And I guess as a performer, that’s a blessing too. Someone who [00:10:00] started in. And so I just want him to find something he’s passionate about and something that he’s willing to work for. I think that’s hard, like when kids can sit in their room and they think being an influencer, they have those kind of instant gratifications.
So we’re really trying to balance those with like, okay. Education’s gonna be one of the keys that can get you there. And he’s like, oh no, I can just do it on TikTok dot. You know? So , that’s what the conversations we’re trying to balance.
[00:10:24] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. No, absolutely. And do you think, I mean, most people go into the arts.
Everybody’s always saying, don’t go into the arts. Yeah, you won’t make a lot of money. But if you’re already coming from a place that didn’t have a lot of money, That may not be the motivating conversation. Right.
[00:10:39] Dr. Philip McAdoo: Or if you like for me it was like all these different things. I was black, I was poor, I was gay in a small town in the south, so I needed to get out.
Right. Right. And so the arts was one of the ways to kind of get through that. And I’m like more, less than money was the conversation of like, how am I gonna follow my dreams? And like, what does that mean for a little kid who wants [00:11:00] to be an actor? Mm-hmm. or a musical theater on Broadway and. Also realizing that I’m different, and then knowing that this difference would be really something that’s frowned upon in my community.
So it was about my self worth, and I was fortunate to be able to live in New York and tell the story. Oh, I remember I called my acting teacher. I was like, Ugh. I’ve been in New York for three months and I finally got my first Broadway show, and then my acting coach is like, I’ve been in New York for 10 years and I’ve never gotten a Broadway show.
I was like, oh, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. So 25 years later, we just celebrated the 20 year of Lion King on Broadway. Yesterday we just came back and I took my son. So he really is great. And at the same time, there were stories of people who were in the Broadway shows with. Who had to get different jobs or like my friends on Broadway who lost.
All their income that was coming in when Covid happened, right? You gotta think about those different things. And we had a conversation just yesterday about money and they’re like, Hey, you’re an actor. There’s a [00:12:00] mortgage you have to do so you can go from Broadway to catering in the same year. , right? And so those were real, which is why I always wanted different options for myself.
Education was key in terms of going back and doing some teaching and all the things that I was able to do while I. Fortunate to be working as a professional actress when I got my doctorate and I was on Broadway writing research papers, right. Doing all these things. So I felt lucky in that way. And the struggles of starving are, this is real when you think about the percentage of people who really bake it.
And I feel very fortunate to have come through New York with a time when I have a lot of really great friends in my network who went on to do some good stuff. So I always bully them, like, come do this for me, or do something for the kids. , which is.
[00:12:46] Bob Wheeler: That is awesome. That’s amazing to me that you’re running out there doing a musical.
Mm-hmm. doing the plays and then writing for your doctorate. Yeah. Most people would’ve been just like, wait, are we gonna get pizza after the [00:13:00] show? Yeah. So what was it, do you think? Was it just something that was. Your mom told you, it just was something that you knew like most people would not have that
[00:13:09] Dr. Philip McAdoo: drive.
No. It was the kids. Right. Because at the time it was my master’s and I got my doctor later. It was the kids. I was in New York and I started volunteering at an inner city school. Ah. And meeting those kids, I was like, oh, I’ll go down. You know, like my cool little outfit. It took a lot for me to build their trust.
And I remember they said to me, oh, we thought you were a substitute. You just kept coming back, . And I remember my first day they opened up a room of middle schoolers and they just kinda like, okay, there you go. And I was like, whoa, what’s happening? And it was them. It was like, okay, here I am. These mostly poor kids of color, like how can I be the best version of myself for them?
How can I be the best example? And so I just started going back. I realized like, oh crap, I never finished college. So I was three classes away from finishing college. So I [00:14:00] finished my undergrad degree in New York. I went to University of North Carolina Chapel, took three classes in New York to. Then I went and got my master’s while I was there.
I was like writing those papers backstage and going on stage . And then this is what really did it. We adopted my son, we in the adoption process and going through one of the parenting classes and they were like, you know, what’s he gonna call you? And my partner’s a doctor and medical doctor. And I was like, wait, I’m not gonna have this little kid.
Call him doctor and not need doctor. And so that was the motivating force for me going to the University of Pennsylvania and getting my doctorate. I was like, I will have my son call focus dad’s doctor. So that was the little thing like. That’s not gonna happen. But you know, it was always about the kids, always like, how can I be the best example for them and myself?
Like at some point it became really fun for me to learn to read a book and to do all the things that I hated or just kind of skated through [00:15:00] in college. So the stakes were a lot higher, and
[00:15:02] Bob Wheeler: it’s pretty amazing because to be able to be a role model for these kids, somebody that looks like them, that can relate to them,
[00:15:10] Dr. Philip McAdoo: like that’s.
Yeah, and it’s huge, right? And that’s why I’m really conscious of the things that I had to give up. Like I remember in 11th grade, it was the night before we were like graduation, but we had to be like the Marshalls, like the top 20 students had to work at the graduation ceremony. And they were like, okay guys, go out and get khaki pants and a navy blazer.
There was such a huge assumption that I had that I was like, right, why people don’t dress that way from my experience, like my, and so I had to like wear this thing and I felt so uncomfortable. Even like these school settings when they were like, you have to wear a tie. Somebody said to me, No one’s gonna take you serious unless you have a tie on.
And I was like, I don’t see myself, like I don’t see the kids that I grew up with, the people I looked up to in these settings. And I like to play with people too. It feels so cool for me to like show up [00:16:00] as Dr. McAdoo with like a hat on or with like some jeans or a hoodie, , because there are so many assumptions that people make about who we are.
And I’m like, I got my doctorate, like, yes, I went to a great school and yes, you call me Dr. McAdoo. And so again, it’s for the kids. Like I want them to be able to say, oh, shoot, I can wear like a fitted hat, or I can wear a hoodie, or I can wear like cool sneakers and get my doctorate. That’s, and I do like to dress up too, but like that’s a big part of it.
Like I’m really conscious of the lens in which kids see us and view us and see themselves.
[00:16:32] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. And I’m wondering though, with that little bit of sense of humor wearing the hat, did you ever mess with anybody where they’re like, well, we can’t say anything cuz he’s a doctor and we don’t wanna offend him, but we didn’t think he’d wear a hat.
Right? Like some people are intimidated Oh yeah. Because they gotta be, we gotta do it right. We gotta be sensitive and Right. I would mess with people . Oh I
[00:16:53] Dr. Philip McAdoo: do. Like, I mess with people with all kinds of things. But you know, there’s a little bit of. Elitism with that. And so [00:17:00] that rubs me the wrong way. And so some people call me Dr.
And I feel like, oh shoot. But you know, I remember on like the darkest night when we were like sitting in our study room and writing like the third revision of this 250 paid dissertation. I was like, damn it, when I finished, they’re gonna call me Dr. Mc, you’re gonna call me. I earned this, but you know, you finish.
And it’s like, oh, okay. It’s like a personal victory, right? Yeah. And for. I was raised to be really humble and so my people call me Dr. Mc sometimes they’re like, oh, you just call me Philip. But I’m like, oh yeah, I did do that. He’s like we were talking about earlier, I’ve been really fortunate to live the life that I dreamed to go from the theater, to go from education to do now the DEI work, like things that I’m really passionate about.
It made no sense. Like I remember being in grad. I had all these superintendents, like people running these charter schools, people who were teaching, and I’m like, oh, I’m the Broadway guy. And so I was like trying to figure out my story and my best [00:18:00] friend, Dr. Charlene Reed from graduate school, we had like this feedback session and she said, you know what I like about you?
I was like, no. She said, you can go to a room. Any room and you can connect with people. She said, you’ve been on Broadway, you’re an educator, you’re an athlete. Like all the different things that you do are really different ways for you to build relationships. And I was like, and so she really helped me cuz I was really nervous and self-conscious and kind of psyching myself out and like, Do I belong here?
Do I belong here? And so after that conversation, I said, okay, this is where I belong. And I now enter into these spaces just fully confident people are nervous about presentations. Like you’re nervous about presentation, why you’re nervous? Because that’s my theater background, right? So it’s been really helpful to kind of finally make the connection between this like really fun and interesting.
[00:18:50] Bob Wheeler: the diversity, equity, and inclusion work is incredibly important. I mean, right. At least now it has a name and people have awareness. I know , [00:19:00] it’s always been important. , right? But
[00:19:02] Dr. Philip McAdoo: we didn’t know what to call it. You’re so right, Bob. It has a name
[00:19:04] Bob Wheeler: now. It has a name and you had the privilege, I would say, or the honor of getting to work with Representative John Lewis.
Yeah. And working on a bill and you wrote a book, like how did you get to be involved with that? I mean, that’s just in and of itself would’ve been a really cool
[00:19:21] Dr. Philip McAdoo: thing. It was amazing. And again, you know, hey, you know, you’re in the John Lewis’ district, you’re a same-sex couple, you just adopted a kid. You wanna come to Washington to kinda advocate for this bill and.
Okay. I mean, I’m the like of the partner, the two guys in the relationship. Like I’m the one that like secretly auditions for reality shows and when they say, Hey, can we meet your partner? And I’m like, no, he would never do it. So I’ve done that twice, by the way. True story. But you know, so I’m like, yes, I’ll come to Washington and you know, I’ll bring Zaiden and we’ll work with John Lewis.
And I had this vivid memory. They’d been grabbing John Lewis and kind of like dragging him down the holes of Congress and all the secret [00:20:00] tunnels. And we got a tour and I remember we were leaving the capital and there was an interview from the Huffington Post and they were like, tell us about your Days Haven.
And then Zaen had this beautiful moment. Where they asked him what every child deserves, and he was like, every child deserves a family. And so it was great. And then throughout the course of just his wonderful , new life, like all the different experiences we were having, I thought every child deserves this.
So they and I did this children’s book really based on the experiences we had. We adopted Aiden. I was in Africa. And so we had to play the weird timeline between when he would come between my trip to Africa, he came, I came home, then Sean went to Africa. So Africa had this weird through line in his life, and I remember the first time we took him, he’s like walking on Delta.
He’s like, How many miles are we getting for this dad? I’m like, miles, you were sitting in foster care literally like eight months ago and now you’re going to South Africa Or the second time we went and we were in the [00:21:00] townships and he like, I’ll be back. Where you going? I’m just go play with some of my.
So it’s like those type of experiences. He loves Ethiopian food. Like he was so open, it was this wonderful sense of entitlement. When we met him, he’s like, ah, now I can be a child. Like now I can go back. And they always talk about the kids back to the time when they were abandoned or put into care.
Mm-hmm. . So it was like always this beautiful sense of, oh, I’ve had to be strong for so long. Now I can go back to being a kid. And. It’s been a wonderfully difficult, complicated journey. Still angry with foster care, and I think about what some of these kids have to endure. I’m like, why can’t we make that system better for them?
Yeah, and I know there’s some great things happening and I think also there’s some horrible things happening and so sometimes I just wait for him and what he had to endure and. One of my favorite people in the world, and it’s just that fear. Like I tell myself each day, I’m not gonna parent with fear.
And what that looks like is if he doesn’t do his homework, like, oh my [00:22:00] parents, you’re gonna be a cat out. I go to the extreme. And so I’m trying to like just stay in the moment, be more loving and gentle and nurturing. And yet it’s that fear of like, this is it. I’m responsible for this person for the rest of my life, no matter what happens.
And so it’s a lot of that. And you know, he was adopted, so there’s also this fear of like, I’m not, we are not gonna be good enough. And that him wanting to go and find his biological family. So I’m just trying to let all that go and just really be present. And I used to love my dad dressed up so he didn’t.
After me for that. But I do like to put in a good suit for him. I like, okay, okay, we have to go to this event. Are you ready? Let’s go. So, yeah, but he’s a great kid. I feel so fortunate to be on this journey with him.
[00:22:45] Bob Wheeler: So here you are. No kid. Life is good. Awesome. Six year old kid. Now all of a sudden not awesome.
You’re gonna get held accountable. , you’re gonna get called out, you’re gonna be yeah. Expected though, like be honest and [00:23:00] transparent. Like that’s a lot. A lot changes when you have a kid.
[00:23:03] Dr. Philip McAdoo: And Bob, what I didn’t realize is that you working out your shit, right? Your partner’s working out their. And so you both end up working out your shit on this one kid, right?
Who has all the shit that he came with. So I can imagine him just looking at us like, whoa. And so my parents are here now. And so I’m thinking about, okay, what are the things that haunt me about that relationship? What are the things that are unresolved? And then how do I sometimes impose that on Zaden, our son?
Yeah. And then how can I not do that? And like, I remember I used to talk to my mom every day and blah, blah, blah. Like that kinda stopped. When is that gonna stop for him or when’s that ever gonna start? And so it is this whole thing of really trying to heal from your childhood trauma. Mm-hmm. , and I can’t even imagine the trauma.
I mean, I had by all means, a wonderful childhood. My mom and dad were both there. They were present. So I cannot imagine. The sense of loss that my kid felt early in this life. [00:24:00] Yeah. And so to try to unpack that, I mean something as simple as we got him, he tells, he loves the story. He, I was so afraid when I came because he comes, he was in a two bedroom apartment with a bunch of other kids and he comes and he has his own room and his four bedroom house, his own bathroom, and it’s, everything had been like custom made.
There was graffiti on the wall with the zayden. I had stepped through the ceiling. A couple of days before trying to get everything ready and , I was up in the attic and I stepped and I was like, that’s my foot, that’s my son’s room. And I just started bawling. Cause I was like, he’s gonna come, there’s gonna be a hole, other ceiling.
So there was a lot of attention and detail to the house. Yeah. And his memory was like, It just felt big. It felt so big. He said it was scary cuz I didn’t have that before. And we’re thinking that, oh, we’re giving you this most amazing place. And it was frightening and overwhelming. And one of my favorite memories is when we go to bed, you could hear in middle of the middle of the night, come and run and jump in our bed with us.
I was like, I miss those [00:25:00] moments. . . But yeah, you know, like those things really just blow me away. Blow me. That is so
[00:25:06] Bob Wheeler: cool. Do you ever find yourself saying things that your parents said to you and then you catch yourself going, ah,
[00:25:13] Dr. Philip McAdoo: oh yes. All the time. Because I said so because I said so is my favorite thing.
Or like, stop. Like even just in New York, he was like, When are we gonna get there? When are we gonna get there? I’m like, the conductor is telling us the exact time between each stop. Listen to him. He’s gonna tell you when we’re gonna get there. Like all the questions. My cousin was with us too. I was like, there are too many questions, honey.
You’re asking me too many questions. As a kid, he did that as well. And it was because my dad was quiet, like my dad didn’t talk to us a lot. And so I am trying to be better about that. And I remember there was a shift when Zaden was saying something to me and he kept saying that, uh, and I was like, yes.
And then he made a [00:26:00] connection between his biological father and the mud memory he had of him ignoring him all the time and not speaking to him. So I was like, oh, I gotta be different for this kid. Right? And it was break and it was something similar in terms of my dad wasn’t really talkative, we were growing up.
And so I just kind of learned to adjust, carrying that bad habit into my child’s life where he is like really active and engaging and wanting. Now it’s different. I’m like, he’s 17. I’m like, get down the way from me or talk to your other dad. Like we kind of balance each other out. Right? And I think a lot of it is just like when you’re an actor and you’re on the stage.
For me it was like, okay, eight times a week I’m gonna do this thing where I have to go and just be this puppet. Sometimes literally a puppet. And so that time, my time, my quiet time really kind of go in. So I think trying to find that balance when I’m not on stage and like when I’m present with my kid, all the attention, but you know, I’m the one that likes to do things.
My partner will be like, ah, whatever. But they have some really awesome conversations about things that I don’t even care [00:27:00] about. So that’s good. like, or I just look at the like, I don’t wanna hear, I don’t wanna talk about this. So it’s great. , that’s when having a partner. Yeah,
[00:27:10] Bob Wheeler: like pass the torch for just a little bit.
Yes. Pass the baton. Definitely. You know, you’re talking about, you’re working out your shit, your partner’s working out his shit, your son’s working out his shit. Sort of the shit show. Right. And catching yourself saying, because I said so. But did you find when you had your son, you brought him home? Finding yourself, especially as an actor, role playing like, oh, now dad must be a certain way.
Like, did you find yourself having to work against maybe unconscious beliefs that a dad should show up this way or.
[00:27:41] Dr. Philip McAdoo: Well, no, I mean, not really. There was a lot of, when you grow up gay and in the South and you have to kind of fight for it and go through a lot of shit, like I remember saying, okay, once my parents know, once my friends know I’m done, like I’m done coming out to people, like I’m just gonna be who I am.
And so [00:28:00] I always knew. I wanted to live my life in the most authentic ways. Like I remember kids would come into my office and like, do I say I have a partner? Do I say I’m gay? And so I was like, yeah, the guy next door has his wife and his kids up. I’d rather talk about my family too. Yeah, in the exact same way.
So it was really clear from the beginning. Again, the stakes were higher because now there’s a person. In my house was looking at me. He was like, okay, you have to be the model one. So I never, I didn’t want him to be ashamed of his parents. I didn’t want him to be ashamed of having two dads. So I have to carry that stigma.
So I was very much kind of like, this is me. This is who I am. So I never really thought about just yet in terms of roles. People would say to us, A kid needs a mom, like who’s gonna be the mom? And I was like, what does that mean? And kind of fighting those stereotypes and then also to just thinking about him and there was a real close attachment to his mom and like, what’s that soft energy gonna be?
Because I can be very [00:29:00] like, come on honey, get it. And so like, where’s that soft space to fall? Some of our female friends, he would immediately, like after the third time, I’m like, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. He called your mom, right? They’re like, yeah. Like he does it all the time. . So they would be like, oh, oh.
I’m like, he called you mom. Yeah. You’re not the first. Yeah. , but then you’re not special . Exactly. But also realizing that there was a void. and maybe initially thinking about how do I feel that? And then finally being like, I’m not, I can’t do that. I’m just gonna be me. And hopefully he’ll see that there’s a soft space, that there’s love there.
But there are also some boundaries in terms of what I feel as a parent, things that he shouldn’t do. And there are times where I have to be stirred. And so trying to balance that is always tricky. Like even now, like he’s 17. And the moments where I finally engaging more, cause I’m like, you’re gonna be 18 and you’re gonna be a man.
How am I influencing those moments? And so I’m really enjoying this like it was like sixth and then 11 and then 12. This [00:30:00] Beast showed up and so I think we’re almost at the end of the beast period where , I’m really enjoying like talking to him about things that hopefully have an impact. But you know, who knows?
There’s still lots of like, where’s your homework? You don’t have homework. You turned this in. You sure you turned it in? You told Oh yeah. Like still a lot of non-truths. But you know, again, you just kind of lean into those conversations. I’m better at that. I’m better at like not getting frustrated and being like, go to your room.
Or Why can’t, like I was a good kid. I did my homework, I did this. Why can’t you? So I had to let that go. . Yeah.
[00:30:35] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, exactly. Well, I wanna ask you these two questions. The first question is, what’s the best thing about having a dog?
[00:30:45] Dr. Philip McAdoo: Gosh, the best thing, they’re not gonna be able to see us. This is all like voice, right?
Yeah. My dog is right here. One is right under me and there’s another one right there. It’s just the Condit dog puppy. [00:31:00] Love that comes right. Looking into those eyes and just, I love it. And sometimes they’ll calm and they’ll put their. On my chest, or they’ll like wake you up in the morning, like, come on, let’s go.
I guess it’s this feeling of, oh guys, this is getting real deep, but just like this feeling of somebody needs you, like someone for me, it’s like depending on you, like it’s to the detriment I think. Because like I was freaking out. I was like, who’s gonna take care of my dogs? I don’t trust. Yeah, I worry about them, but you know.
These just amazing creatures who just bring me so much joy or like the ritual of going on and walk and then seeing a deer and have them drag you cause they’re chasing the deer. That’s the best thing for me, I guess. It’s funny because in the book we talk about DAR is not wanting the responsibility.
Yeah. The best thing for me would be the responsibility. Like that I get to care for someone other than myself. Yeah. I. Yeah. And
[00:31:53] Bob Wheeler: it’s worth cleaning up the poop and all the things that I’ve yelled at the dog going,
[00:31:57] Dr. Philip McAdoo: oh, until you like, until the back [00:32:00] breaks. And you feel that one thing, you’re like, oh, that shit, that’s dog shit on my fingers.
Yeah, yeah. But you get used to it. You get
[00:32:06] Bob Wheeler: used to it. You get used to it. And what’s the best thing about having zaiden.
[00:32:11] Dr. Philip McAdoo: Wow. The best thing about having ate is he really is like this phenomenal kid. I have to remember that too. You know, I remember we were out, so I’m doing some work in California and we went to this event bringing it back to John Lewis, honoring John Lewis, and so it was this law firm was host.
We walk into this ballroom and they immediately say, okay, year, go to this table and this Aiden’s gonna be at a different table. And I was like, what? And so I was like, okay. And at the time we were in San Francisco, he was starting freshman, he was maybe 13. And I look over. At one moment, and I see Zayden just holding court.
I mean, he’s talking, he’s engaging, and people are like, this kid is so awesome. This kid is [00:33:00] so awesome. So seeing his full potential, like seeing who he is, his true self at the core, those moments just really make me so happy. And knowing how hard it’s been, how hard his story is, how you know his lived experience is.
He’s. Scratching the surface and he has some really great therapy and he’s really getting some wonderful wraparound services just to kind of make sense at the beginning. But to see him just laugh, he had this wonderful laugh when he was a kid, now was a little fake, but it was so beautiful when he would laugh.
And so I loved that moment and I loved his curiosity. And I keep talking to you like, you gotta help me. I wanna do a podcast. And the first. My podcast will be Zaen because at one point a couple years ago, I wrote a book, independent Queers about educators who were queer and Zaen came home and he’s like, dad, you never told me you’re coming out story.
And I was like, and I just told you like I was done [00:34:00] coming out. Once I came out. And I was like, I didn’t think about that. I didn’t think about that. I got so emotional in that moment and I’m still wait. To have that conversation. Actually, I just talked to him a couple of days ago and I was like, honey, I wanna do this podcast.
I wanna talk to you about my coming out story. I want to have that conversation, but that will be the last time I come out . I wanna do it with him. I wanna share that moment with him. I know I was really moved by how that impacted me, so I’m really looking forward to that conversation on my podcast that you’re gonna help me do.
[00:34:31] Bob Wheeler: help you with that one cuz you know what? That one’s an important one. Yeah, it really is. It really? That is amazing. Well, I’m so glad we got to have this conversation because I know we just trusted with our friend that it was, right. Yes. But I feel it was so perfect from my perspective that we wrote this book together because what you represent.
And all this work with diversity, equity, inclusion. Yeah. That is so important to [00:35:00] me. And it’s not just something that you talk about. It’s something that you’re walking , walking the talk. Yeah. And I can hear that in the way that you’ve raised your son, and I just feel so important. Because I’m passionate about financial literacy and kids and so many kids in this country are underrepresented.
Yes. And don’t get to see themselves. And so I just feel like really privileged that we got to do this together cuz it just feels very
[00:35:26] Dr. Philip McAdoo: important. It is important. And thank you for including me, my friend. We took a leap of faith and I wanna think about like what it would mean to tell some stories of kids in foster care because that’s still really near and dear to my heart.
So maybe we. In our next couple of books, think about what it would mean to tell some of those wonderful stories and breathe some life into the wonderful ways that those kids just have to thrive under those conditions and the things that they deserve as well. So I’m excited just to be a part of it. I put something on.
Darius people saw the picture, they went crazy, like, oh, it’s [00:36:00] great. And then I put the picture of the two dads and I didn’t get that many. Like I got some, but it was like the people from the high school were like, I was like, oh, you didn’t know this part. So I’m so excited just to be a part of the story.
You continue to tell those stories, especially about money and financial literacy. Again, something. I didn’t have as a kid and my sister and I mm-hmm. talk all the time about breaking that cycle because our parents didn’t set us down because they were just hard working parents. And they just never thought about it.
And so there were some habits that we picked up that we need to break. We decided that we needed to break, and my partner will tell you that maybe the shopping needs to stop, but I will tell you that no, that doesn’t . But you know, so learning to kind of be better, although I’m getting better. But as we cross over the big fbo, you start thinking, okay, what’s retirement gonna look like?
And so, Some things I wish I’d done differently. So would definitely be more conscious in terms of having those conversations with [00:37:00] Zaden about what it means just in terms of thinking long term. But you know, as an actor you’re like, you’re in the moment. Wow, what blah, blah, blah, you know? So yeah, just being more thoughtful about that.
Gotta be thinking about the next show, . I know, right? Exactly. Exactly. Cuz you never know what you’re trying to do.
[00:37:14] Bob Wheeler: Gotta have the next gig. Exactly. Look, I’m excited about normalizing conversations about money and Yes. Normalizing conversations about, some families have two dads and some families have one mom.
And they’re all families. Or two dogs? Or two dogs? . Two dads and two dogs. Yeah. Two dads and two dogs. Man, it has just been such a pleasure, so I so appreciate you taking the time. I know you had carpool and picking up Yes. Your son and all kinds of stuff going on, but I’m so glad that we were able to make this time and I’m so excited about the book.
Yeah, me too. I hope more people get to meet Darius cuz I think he’s a cool kid too.
[00:37:52] Dr. Philip McAdoo: Awesome, man. You’re a cool kid too. Bob. Thank you for including me. I really appreciate
[00:37:55] Bob Wheeler: you, my friend. Thank you so much. So appreciate it.[00:38:00]
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