Ask TODAY news anchor Craig Melvin who his biggest dad role model is, and there is zero hesitation in his answer: “Oh, it’s Al Roker. No question.”
Working with Al is a daily workshop in parenting, Craig shares with TODAY.com, and it’s where he gets some of his best advice on fatherhood.
“I mean, it’s something else. You get to watch him in action, like sometimes in commercial breaks between segments, he’s texting with one of his three kids or he’s putting out a fire,” Craig says about his 3rd Hour of TODAY co-host. “He’s parenting on the job.”
Craig, who shares 9-year-old Delano and 6-year old Sybil with wife Lindsay Czarniak, says he has plenty to learn from Al's experiences with his three kids: Courtney, 26, Leila, 24, and Nick, 20. (Courtney is pregnant with her first child, so Al will soon be a grandfather as well!)
“He’s about to become a grandfather but he’s still in the thick of it with his youngest, who is in college,” Craig says. “He tells these stories pretty much every day at work and, invariably, he always ends with ‘Oh, you will see one day. It’s coming for you.’”
So what is the best advice Al has given Craig? “It’s all about the importance of listening to your kids,” Craig says, adding that he admires how Al has built a strong relationship with each of his kids.
“It’s all about the importance of listening to your kids.”
craig says of al's best parenting advice
“He talks about how each relationship is different and unique to each kid,” Craig says, adding that he can relate given the differing personalities of his own son and daughter.
Craig has taken the lesson about listening to heart. He recently shared with Parents that he while he enjoys bonding with his son through coaching and watching sports together, he’s had to find different ways to connect with his daughter.
“We spend a fair amount of time just talking. Or, it would be more accurate to say, I spend a fair amount of time listening — she’s at a stage now where she loves sharing her thoughts,” Craig said to Parents.
Another lesson Craig has learned? To keep listening in the car while he shuttles the kids around on the weekends, to everything from soccer and gymnastics to dance class and birthday parties.
“We’re always going somewhere — someone has to be dropped off, someone has to be picked up,” Craig tells TODAY.com, admitting he loves the role of family chauffeur. “I have found that to be pretty doggone enjoyable, because you can find out a lot about your kid by listening to their conversations with their peers in the backseat of your car. I enjoy the eavesdropping.”