Meet Later Dad: Bruce Sallan
Marital Status:(happily) married!
Residence: Calabasas, CA.
Childrens names/ages: Will (17) and David (14)
I was an award-winning television executive and producer for 25 years. My first book, “A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation” (June/David Publishing, May 2011) is available at BruceSallan.com, Amazon, BN.com, etc.
When my boys were quite young, I left showbiz to become a full-time Dad. Shortly thereafter, my marriage ended, and my wife abandoned our children, leaving the State. I found myself a single Dad, in my 40s, as well as a returning single man to the changed world of cyber-dating. It also became a classic “sandwich” situation when I began to care for my ailing parents.
I wrote various blogs on dating sites, as well as articles for local publications. A Dad’s Point-of-View, both the book and column I created, grew from my life experience and belief that dads were not only under-represented in media/print but disparaged with impunity.
Presently, the A Dad’s Point-of-View column is available in over 100 newspapers and websites worldwide. I focus on parenting and other issues from the male perspective. I began my radio show — The Bruce Sallan Show: A Dad’s Point-of-View — in May, 2010, and it is carried on the PWRN (Positive World Radio Network) and four AM radio stations in four states, with others added regularly.
Q: Why did you decide to become a father later in life? Tell us what yourroad to parenthood was like.
A: Like many women with a biological time clock, I felt much the same. I never wanted to be a father late in life, but that is how it turned out. My first son was born 4 days after my 40th birthday and my second shortly before my 43rd. The irony was that I had always vowed to have kids earlier because my parents were “older” parents at 34 and 37. I felt stigmatized by their age as they were so much older than parents of my friends. I later realized it wasn’t their age; it was their relatively sedentary lifestyle. I may be a slightly older parent, even by today’s standards, but few parents can keep up with my energy, enthusiasm, and love of fatherhood. That has nothing to do with age. Like so many things in life, we make plans and God laughs. It turned out just right (for me).
Q: What was your impetus to write a book?
A: After I wrote my 100th “A Dad’s Point-of-View” column, which was a a retrospective of the best things learned from the previous 99, I realized that was the basis for my book. I always wanted to write a book, but I knew I would really have just one shot at it, when I thought I’d go the traditional route of a literary agent and publisher. So, I chose to wait until I had more “Klout” and my column and “name” were of greater value. By that time, by my measure at least, the publishing world turned upside-down by Kindle and Amazon’s announcement that they were selling more e-books than “real” books. I then knew.
Q: What do you most love about your work?
A: It may sound corny, but I love waking each morning and attacking my laptop with vigor, relish, and what’s new today! I had four goals when I began this second career, in the following priority/order:
1. Make a difference
2. Have fun
3. Model a hard-working man for my boys
4. Make $$$
Q: What is most challenging about it?
A: The marketing and PR, though I’ve grown to enjoy Social Media, but the PR for my book was and is harder than the writing of it! And, frankly, making money in the fields I’ve chosen in this phase of my working life is a large challenge. I picked two businesses in severe decline – writing and radio. But, I have a savings mentality dating back to my showbiz career, so am secure enough financially to survive my “start-up” efforts. That allows me to do things on my terms which, at this point, I am unwilling to compromise.
Q: What do your kids think of your work?
A: They tolerate it and sometimes enjoy and get a kick out of it (their friend’s positive reactions). “Tolerate it” because I often write about them (with pseudonyms) but, as with my wife, I clear columns regarding them, with them, before published. My younger son “secretly” read my book, reads my columns, and I know is very proud of his old man. But, he’d never admit it to my face! My older son enjoys that his friends get a kick out of his “Wild and Crazy” dad.he’s always introducing them to me, saying they want to meet.
Q: What do you see as the positives and challenges of becoming a 35+ dad?
A: As I’ve been blessed with an abundance of energy, being older hasn’t had much of a negative impact. I’d say there have only been positives, the main one being that I’ve had plenty of time, before becoming a dad, to have no regrets of things I wish I had done that parenting interferes with.
Q: Has anything about being a dad surprised you?
A: The challenges and frustrations sometimes get to me, but I’m living my own Soap Opera and wonder how it will continue to evolve! One of the surprises is how much I turned out like my own parents. I nag too much. I worry too much. I am too interested in my boys’ personal affairs. But, I care and love them every bit as much as my parents loved me.
Q: What do you most want to teach your children?
A: Be a good person. Everything else flows from that! I also want to teach them the tools they’ll need to succeed in our current, very difficult working and financial environment. They need to learn to be creative in their work efforts, not to take things personally, and to tough it out when their first instinct may be to give up.
Q: What influence, if any, has your own mother or father had in your life and in your parenting?
A: My parents modeled a true love affair and romance. My dad was courageous with a capital “C,” and their goodness and positive attitude, given the many misfortunes they experienced (losing two of their three children – one to a problem at delivery and the other in a hiking/climbing accident), showed me that attitude is everything. I miss them terribly.
Q: Where do you turn for support as a father?
A: Other men/Other dads. I’ve been part of “Men’s Work” for over a decade, and I can say it literally saved my life during the dark days of my divorce and kept me centered when I was dating my present wife, so I stayed on the right track! Men’s Work is men working with other men to be the best men they can be. It is usually done in a group format, similar to group therapy but less structured.
Q: What words of wisdom would you most like to share with others contemplating becoming a parent later in life?
A: I wrote two columns that offer important messages: 1. “There is No Such Thing As Quality Time” (only “Quantity Time”) and 2. “Best Friend or Best Parent” (be their “Best Parent” vs. their “Best Friend”) Plus, the last chapter of my book offers, “Ten Things to Learn (From This Book).”
Q: When you became a father, did your parents share any particular sentiments that really resonated?
A: My mother always told me not to expect too much of my friends or I wouldn’t have any!