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Acadiana Lifestyle

Love, Dad

06/16/2017 08:22AM ● By Robert Frey

Local Dads Reflect on Fatherhood

By Hailey Hensgens Fleming

There are few people more influential in a person’s life than their father. From the sports field to the work force, a dad plays a major role in the life and development of his child. However, ask any father and he will agree, being a dad is equally as life altering. This Father’s Day, we were pleased to catch up with a few local men who’ve experienced this change first-hand and ask them about their experiences.

Ric White 

Ric White and his wife, Torie, are New Iberia residents. He will celebrate his 44th birthday this month and is the proud father of Jonah and Adeline.   

Q: How have you changed since becoming a father?

Ric: I worry about a lot more. The world is a lot bigger and scarier now that I am responsible for something so precious.

Q: Tell me about one of your funniest moments with your kids.

Ric: There are too many. Every time my son sees a truck commercial and hears  them say “super duty” it’s a fun time in our house. Seriously, I literally keep a file on my computer of things my kids say. 

Q: What advice would you give to first time dads?

Ric: Live in such a way that your kids know you love Jesus, their mother and them, and you’ll be fine. 

Q: What has been your proudest moment as a father?

Ric: Every. Single. Day.

Paul Gulotta Sr. 

Paul Gulotta Sr. and his wife, Juanita, are long-time residents of New Iberia. At 79 years old, they have been blessed with a family of 6 children, 26 grand children and 28 great-grand children with 2 more on the way.  

Q: What has been your proudest moment as a father?  

Paul: There have been 6 proudest moments as a father.  They happened when I first looked at our newborn child.  It made me realize that the birth of a child is one of God’s greatest miracles! I have been fortunate to have that happen 6 times.

Q: What advice would you give to first time dads?  

Paul: My advice to first time dads is to spend more time with your children.  It is something I wish I had done morew of.

Q: What is something you have learned from your kids? 

Paul: I’ve learned from my kids that it is more important to give than receive.  They have shown me that, especially in dealing with people.

Q: As a dad, what is something you want to pass on to your children? 

Paul: I want to pass on to my children God’s love and my love, which is a small glimpse of God’s love. I also want them to have faith in God because that is probably the most important thing in life.

Larry Hensgens

Larry Hensgens, age 62, resides in New Iberia and is the proud father of 3 children: Lauren, Christian and Logan.


Q: What has been your proudest moment as a father?

Larry: My proudest moments have been watching my kids grow up to be wonderful young adults. Another is watching my son, Christian, be a wonderful father to his baby girl. 

Q: What is something you’ve learned from your kids?

Larry: You can always learn patience from your kids, and it also humbles you. Those can be difficult lessons that come with being a father. 

Q: What do you consider to be the best part about being a dad?

Larry: Just leaving your legacy through your children.  

Q: Tell me about one of the funniest moments with your kids.

Larry: We always grew up finding humor in everything - it’s a Hensgens trait. You find humor in the everyday stuff and we just did it as a daily way of life. 

Q: As a father, what is one thing you want to teach or pass on to your kids?

Larry: There isn’t just one thing I want to pass on. I hope my kids have learned to find the good in everyone and everything, to be humble and to always treat others with respect. 

Michael Lamothe

Mike Lamothe is a 26-year-old first-time Dad who resides in New Iberia with his wife, Lindsey, and his 1-year-old daughter, Olivia. 

Q: What has been your proudest moment as a father?

Michael: Some of my proudest moments being a new dad have to be when Olivia began to crawl and when she had to get blood work done for the first time. Seeing her move around on her own put so much joy in my heart! Then, at the doctor’s office, we were stressed out that she would be scared and hurt by the needle, but she didn’t even cry! To say I was proud of her is an understatement!

Q: How have you changed since becoming a dad?

Michael: I’ve learned A LOT since becoming a father, mostly how flawed a person I am - it’s quite the humbling experience. Fatherhood has taught me to love harder & care less about what others may think, while at the same time giving me a world of respect for my wife!

Q: What did you look forward to most about being a dad?

Michael: I’ve always dreamed of being a dad. I’ve always wanted to teach my children to love God and experience and appreciate the wonderful things He has given us. Teaching my daughter, being silly and making her laugh have been, and continue to be, the things I look forward to.

Q: How is fatherhood in reality compared to what you expected?

Michael: Fatherhood is busier than I expected! Being a parent is full of epiphanies. Things I never realized as a kid have brought me to know a deeper appreciation for the love and support my parents gave me. Finding time to take care of even the smallest of chores is quite an adventure as a parent, and sometimes we forget, but we make due!


Jeffrey Wuenschel Jr.

Jeff and his wife, Monica, reside in New Iberia and are the proud parents of twin boys and a 6-month-old baby girl. 

Q: What has been your proudest moment as a father?

Jeff: My proudest moment was when the boys finally started wanting to be with dad.  Up until almost a year, they really just wanted mom.  Mom is definitely first choice when they are sick or hurt, but they love to be with me; and I love that. 

Q: What did you look forward to most about becoming a dad?

Jeff: I didn’t look forward to being a dad.  Having kids was an act of obedience to God’s specific leading and timing.  When I finally got adjusted to the idea of having a kid and figured I could handle it, I found out I was getting two at once…God has a way of making sure you have to rely on Him.

Q: As a father, what is one thing you want to teach or pass on to your kids?

Jeff: The importance of knowing and seeking God.  Jeremiah 9:24 says, “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight saith the Lord.”  Each of my children will be their own person with their own bent.  There are a lot of things I would like to teach them, but I have tried to show by force of habit, even at this young age, the importance of knowing and seeking God.  Many things I might teach them could be wrong or of no lasting value.  If I can teach them to know God and to seek Him and serve Him with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength, then I can be content with wherever God makes their paths and know that I have given them something that is worth my grandchildren knowing.

Q: What is something you have learned from your kids?

Jeff: My kids have taught me that I have a lot to work on.  Being a dad and doing it right isn’t easy.  It should make a man think deeply about what a man is and how he measures up.  As I see my boys mimic me, it puts a special impetus on being a real man.  It’s not something that happens by accident.  You have to choose to be mature, and often it is hard work, but no one remembers George Washington, Hudson Taylor or Chesty Puller for knitting doilies.

Ryan Boudoin

Ryan, New Iberia resident and business owner, and his wife Lisa are the proud parents of three children. 

Q: What has been your proudest moment as a father?

Ryan: When my youngest son Jacob made his first communion, I was the Eucharistic Minister who gave him his first Eucharist. Knowing the first time he received Jesus’ body at his first communion was from his dad, I was incredibly humbled and proud.

Q: What’s the hardest thing about being a father?

Ryan: The hardest part of parenting has to be watching your kids make their own mistakes, despite your advice.

Q:  Tell me about one of your funniest moments with your kids. 

Ryan: We had a tire swing hanging from one of our trees at home. My daughter Ashley was spinning in circles and twisting and got her hair caught in the rope of the swing. The more she fussed at us for laughing the harder we laughed.

Q: What do you consider to be the best part about being a dad?

Ryan: Teaching your kids morals and values and giving them the tools they need to be healthy, independent and successful, and seeing that despite those teenage years they really did listen and became well rounded adults.

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