Where Are They Now? Rad Dad Steve Laqua
He’s still coaching but his family has doubled in size
Editor's Note: In recognition of the 15th anniversary of On the Minds of Moms this year, we're catching up with some moms and dads who have been profiled in previous issues. Be sure to keep checking out inforum.com/on-the-minds-of-moms or our Facebook and Instagram pages to find new stories. You can also check out the digital editions of On the Minds of Moms on Issuu.
Steve Laqua was first featured in the spring 2010 issue as our rad dad, and he talked about balancing a busy coaching schedule with a busy young family, his Berenstain Bear voice ability, as well as his family’s motto: it’s Jeremiah 24:15: As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
We checked back in with him to see how his coaching schedule has changed now that he’s at a college (MSUM) instead of a high school (Fargo Shanley), especially considering that his family of four children has grown to include 8 kids.
OTMOM: In the spring of 2010, you were coaching the Fargo Shanley Deacons and had four children; what’s your life and family look like now?
Steve: Our family has doubled in size since then! I’ve also been the coach at MSUM since 2011, and my oldest child is at NDSU while the youngest is 3! Andrew is 19; Leah is 17; Kate is 16; Rachel is 14; Jocelyn is 12; Anika is 10; Hailey is 6; and James is 3. The boys are definitely outnumbered in our house. We didn’t always envision having a family this size. We’re super happy and the kids have become each other’s best friends. We’re still home-schooling the kids, and now the older kids have grown into teacher roles as well because they are able to help the younger ones with their work. It’s a great setup.
OTMOM: You’re a former college athlete; do your kids participate in athletics or other activities?
Steve: The four three oldest have been active in sports. Andrew was a football captain at Fargo Davies High School. Leah is passionate about volleyball and also loves music; she plays piano at our church, and she and her sisters Kate and Jocelyn also play at nursing homes. We love that they’ve found a skill and are able to share it with others, considering that I’m not musical at all, but my wife Patty is! Leah, Kate and Rachel all run track at Davies. Kate loves track and is an individual state champion, while Leah and Rachel love it more for the social aspect.
In the 2010 feature, you mentioned balancing your profession and family; as your family has grown, how have you maintained that important balance?
Balance is still a challenge or maybe even bigger than it was then. Communication is key. Patty and I communicate constantly about distributing tasks and setting boundaries, especially with my job. Last year when I knew my daughter would be running the 300-meter hurdles at state, I came in and told our recruiting coordinator that we would need to reschedule a recruiting visit or it could happen without me. It worked out for me to be at the track meet and the people involved in the visit were able to attend on other dates. Creating that boundary showed that being there for my daughter was important.
What’s a treasured Laqua family tradition?
I don’t know that it’s a tradition, but whenever we’re on vacation, each day we share our best part of the day and at the end, everyone shares what was the best part of the whole vacation. Also, on birthdays, we go around and share what we most appreciate or like about that person. It reaffirms their strengths or character, and it helps us all be able to articulate what we see in the other person.
How is coaching football similar to raising children?
You know, I’ve never been asked that question! In the end, it’s about encouraging and inspiring someone. I want the best for the guys I’m coaching just like I would if they were my son; if they’re going through stuff, I can relate to what I’d hope my child would need in the same situation. That’s what I love about the job – games and winning are cool, but the relationships are what last.
What parenting advice would 2023 Steve give to 2010 Steve?
Have more patience! And learn how to cook more things better. Also, hold on for the ride, it’s going to be unbelievably great.
What’s your favorite part about parenting kids who range from age 19 to 3?
Seeing Andrew succeed and move out of the house and be “adulting” has been so rewarding. On the other end, Hailey is just learning how to read and James is just pure toddler joy - it’s awesome to watch them learn. That’s the best thing about parenting.
How about the most challenging part of parenting kids who range from age 19 to 3?
They’re all different! Parenting is not a one-size-fits-all thing. That’s been a learning curve for me. I know how I would do something or say something, but I may need to change my approach based on the kid. And they all need different things from me; some need more connection, some need less. The challenge is about recognizing those differences.
- My favorite podcast to listen to is…probably any Father Mike Schmitz ones, like Bible in a Year or the Catechism in a Year.
- My biggest pet peeve is…spilled milk. (Sighs.) It’s so much harder to clean up than water. That and slow walkers.
- I am trying to teach my children…to be great humans. Empathetic. Encouraging.
- My favorite football team to cheer for is…probably the New England Patriots, although I don’t watch much football other than my own work.
- I’m proud of…our family. Our marriage, our kids. We’ve done things differently and have been okay walking a different path that includes homeschooling, not having cable, limited screen time and phones. We’ve had our ups and downs, but I’m proud of the path we’ve been on and are on.
- I love my….wife. Since I was 16 years old. I'm a lucky man. She’s my best friend.