Yes, I know I’m a day late for Father’s Day. Please forgive me, as I took the day to enjoy Father’s Day with my first child, who also happened to celebrate her first birthday this weekend. Anyway, maybe it’s just me and my status as a new father making me more sensitive to such things… but reading this excellent story by Blue-White Illustrated’s Nate Bauer made me want to share what James Franklin told me about his daughters when I had a sit-down interview with him earlier this spring.
Franklin, as has been written about by me and many others, has been living in some combination of a State College hotel, his on-campus office and a new home in the area he bought since he was hired as Penn State’s coach in January. His family is not scheduled to join him living in Central Pennsylvania until next month. They did not want to take daughters Shola and Addison – who were 6 and 5 years old, respectively, when their father accepted the Nittany Lions’ job – out of school in the middle of the school year.
I asked Franklin about the personalities of the young ladies in his life.
“Very different. I’ve never understood that – people always say that their children are different and I’ll say, ‘How can they be that different?’ Well, they are. I mean, our oldest, Shola, is she wants to please you. She’s going to follow the rules. You tell her do something, she’s going to do exactly what you tell her what you tell her to do. If you look at her funny, she’s very emotional, she’s going to start crying. And she’s very caring about people. Got a lot of personality, funny. And then my youngest is a terror. Addy, she’s a terror. She beats her older sister up, I could say whatever or do whatever or look at her and it doesn’t phase her one bit, she kind of look at me and kind of roll her eyes like to say, ‘Are you kidding me? You better come harder than that.’ Really rough, really tough. But they couldn’t be any more different. Shola loves football, wants to be at the game. My other daughter, she could care less, so just different personality. And Shola is probably a daddy’s girl and Addy’s probably a mama’s girl.”
That was exhibited when Bauer wrote Franklin of “Shola’s enthusiasm and Addy’s slight disinterest” during their nightly FaceTime chats while apart.
As a bonus, since we’re delving into the family life of James Franklin, here is what he said about his wife, Fumi. Again, it didn’t take long for his thoughts to revert right back to parenthood:
“She’s pretty high-energy. She’s not a public person; she doesn’t want to do interviews – she just wants to do a great job with our kids, and we’re very supportive of each other. She’ll do some things in the community in terms of fundraising and things like that for children and stuff like that… but it’s more just about our family. With the hours that we work, she makes sure I know all the time that she’s got the most important job that we have in our home and that’s raising and taking care of her children.”
There have been times when some have questioned the genuineness of Franklin. When it comes to the joy and sense of responsibility he expounds when he talks about being a dad, count me among those whom get the palpable sense Franklin’s sincerity is 100 percent authentic.