This country music daddy has one hard and fast rule in his household: DON‘T GIVE UP … EVER.
Walk into Tracy Lawrence’s living room and you’d never know he’s sold more than 8 million albums and earned 22 Top 10 Singles (17 hit No.1). “When you come in my house there are no platinum plaques or awards around. This house is about our family,” he says. That family includes wife Becca, daughter Skylar, the 9-year-old ballerina who was chosen to perform with the Nashville ballet and symphony, and daughter Keagan, a 7-year-old tomboy with a penchant for karate, baseball and electric guitar. Lawrence says, “When I’m on the road, I want to come home. I wouldn’t trade my girls for anything in the world.”
What‘s it like being the only rooster in a hen house?
I’ve got my man cave out back. It’s got a workout room and 60-inch TV with two flat screens above it, so I can watch three shows at once.
Some people say it‘s easier to raise girls because they‘re better behaved and some say boys are easier because they‘re simpler and less emotional. What do you think?
I’d say girls are easier to deal with, but we haven’t gotten to the big drama stages yet. I don’t deal well with drama.
What can you teach them that their mother can‘t?
The relationship that a father has with his daughters is different than with their mother. My wife is the more protective. She wants to resolve everything, but I have a different approach. I believe in letting them fall down and letting them get bumps and bruises.
Do the girls help around the house?
They make their beds, keep their rooms neat and pick up the playroom. They have to clean the guinea pig cage, and I’m trying to do a family cooking night to teach them how to cook.
Are you a good cook?
My wife runs the kids around all the time while I’m on the road every weekend, so I cook every night when I’m home and do a lot of the grocery shopping. I make chicken parmesan from scratch and homemade spaghetti sauce. I do a lot of Southern cooking too: fried chicken, gravy, vegetable soup. I don’t just throw everything on the grill.
You taught yourself guitar and started performing live at age 14. How do you encourage your daughters‘ big dreams?
The one big rule we have is “Don’t give up.” No quitting. That’s a big thing with me. Whether its music, dance, karate or academics, there are no boundaries for them. They don’t lack confidence, so if we nurture them, they’ll be successful.
How do you handle it when your girls bicker?
Every weekend I live on a bus with a bunch of guys, so I’m really good at blocking things out. It’s a special switch called “selective hearing.” When the kids disagree, I don’t micromanage. I let them work their own issues out.
What do you tell them when they watch a movie or listen to a popular song with cuss words in it?
Over the last few years we’ve had to stop watching certain shows, but I haven’t been blindsided by anything that makes me uncomfortable yet. Of course they hear things, but we don’t make a big deal about it if they hear it. We just let them know they’re not allowed to say it. So far, it hasn’t been an issue.
What‘s the benefit of living on 400 acres in the country?
Our kids already drive our vehicles around our place. They can get in the car and drive slowly to the neighbors.
Why are chores important?
I think it’s good to teach them responsibility, so they’ll become self-sufficient and can stand on their own two feet some day.
Has fatherhood inspired any of your songs?
I wrote a song called, “Til I Was A Daddy Too.” Being a father has given me so many things to think about and given me a perspective I didn’t have before kids. Parenthood has been such a good thing; it’s matured me.
Has fatherhood made you a better person or a different person?
My wife is the best thing that ever happened to me until I had children. It has settled me in a way I never would have imagined possible. It’s completed something in me that I never knew was missing.
Deborah Bohn writes Busy Bodies for this publication in addition to feature articles and celebrity profiles. She lives in Franklin with her family.