Being a parent means to Jaxon Rios, a pre-engineering major from Santana, that he now has to balance school, work, Quiz Bowl, and on top of everything, raising a daughter. He is the father of Alleiana, his 3-year-old daughter. She currently lives with her mother, which allows Rios to stay focused on his education.
However, the amount of work that Rios does can get in the way of him seeing his daughter. In essence, he is able to see his daughter on a daily basis if he wants to but with school and work, he is only able to see her twice a week.
“I believe right now, my education, pursuing it, is for my daughter. So it doesn’t necessarily come in the way of my feelings towards my daughter or anything like that but definitely seeing her. It does. Yes, it conflicts with that schedule,” Rios said.
He knows how to make time for his daughter. Rios works as both a lab assistant for William Bryan, chemistry instructor and division chair, as well as a tutor at the Tutoring Center. Other than that, Rios does not stay at the school for very long. He only stays if he’s waiting for someone or wanting to study. He manages to stay on top of everything and ensures that he is up-to-date with all of his classes.
“He does the best that he can for Alleiana. I think that he sees her whenever he can. He wants to be the most available, which means he wants to get his homework done. So, all of a sudden, it could be on her and not like a distraction because he wants to make her feel loved and welcomed,” Audra Langley, Rio’s girlfriend, said.
Bryan also shares a similar thought.
“He tends to be fairly self-motivated and stays on top of things. He tries to learn what he can from it,” Bryan said. “He’s usually got a positive attitude. He keeps himself busy because actually gets his work done.”
Not everything was smooth sailing as Rios had to battle with the realization that he became a father. It was a tough period for him as his father was also battling cancer. He had to grow up and mature immediately, as well as change the way he was living dramatically. Life, in general, has taught him about hard work, dedication, perseverance and staying relatively in the present. He also had to learn about life skills such as how to speak in public, how to schedule, how to accomplish tasks and how to persevere.
Speaking of his father, his parents have accepted this decision to become a father. Since his father was terminally ill, seeing a baby was therapy for him. Rios put it as “Life in place of death.”
Langley’s parents also know of Rio’s daughter, and they are also supportive of his journey of being a father.
“I think they sense that he’s a good parent because they see that he’s like a good hard worker and he’s doing the best that he can with circumstances,” Langley said.
Rios believes there is a certain way to raise his child and that is with love. He mentions that a parent could spoil their children, and they can still turn out great. As long as the parents have a stern mentality in which they use their voice to show them what hard work and dedication look like. He thinks obedience, kindness, and most importantly love must be shown. Being obedient means understanding what yes and no mean. To him, if a child takes advantage of the fact that a parent says no, they have obviously become spoiled in the wrong way.
Being spoiled in the right way to Rios means positive reinforcement when a child does something favorable. For example, potty training, going on a walk or understanding what true unconditional love means.
“You show them that’s a great accomplishment and that it’s something they should be proud of. You show them what’s important. As a parent, it’s your job to show them what life has in store,” Rios said.
Even though Rios has only been a parent for a short period of time, he knows the ins and outs of being a parent.
“If what you’re doing works, stick to it. If you feel like you’re missing something from your life, obviously try to find out what it is,” Rios said. “Don’t jeopardize your relationship with your child for that thing. Whatever it may be.
“Try to be the best influence you can be and the best role model you can be. Be stern, but not too hard. Always show them, unconditional love. Show them love like hugs and kisses and stare into their eyes and tell them that you love them because they understand that. That’s what’s most important,”