Porter Moser on Vital Father Son Relationship by Jeff Becker

Name: Porter Moser Status: Married, four children—three boys and one girl, age 50 Vocation: Head men’s basketball coach Loyola University Chicago Fun Fact: Led his team to the NCAA Final Four in 2018 (Record of 32-6)

Jeff: Tell me just a few words that describe your dad? Porter: Determined, class, tough, persistent, and driven. He was a CEO and a very successful businessman. He also had a very magnetic personality.

Jeff: What do you must appreciate about him? Porter: He was always helping his neighbor–he was the most generous man. He was also very involved in the community–he was a philanthropist. He was a phenomenal leader of his company, but what he did for his community and numerous people in need–it was over the top. It’s interesting that my dad and I both have three boys and one girl.

Jeff: How did that contribute to your being the man you are today? Porter: I grew up in a family of wealth, and yet, my dad made me shovel snow and mow lawns. When I was 15 I started working in his lumberyard. I was there at 6:00 a.m. He taught me work ethic, humility and not to be entitled. Sometimes when you grow up in wealth you’re just handed things, and assume that’s how things work.

Jeff: Is there anything you wish your dad would’ve done differently? Porter: I wish he wouldn’t have started smoking. He died of lung cancer nearly 20 years ago. Also, he was out running his company, and it was really challenging for him to be at our family activities. I played football, basketball and baseball. He was only able to be there once in a while because of his responsibilities. I know he wanted to be there, but it’s just that his work got in the way.

I think about that all the time, because I’m also pulled in many directions. I want to be there for my kids, because I know it’s important to be there for their events. And I do want to be able to balance the demands of my life better.

Jeff: Is there anything that your he did back then that you didn’t really like, but you appreciate now? Porter: He always made me shake hands firmly. He made us look people in the eye and give them a half-smile. I now try to teach all of my players to do the same thing. He would say, “A half-smile welcomes them in.”

Jeff: What would you like to tell your dad? Porter: Unequivocally, I would like to tell him thank you for teaching me a work ethic. I’m so grateful that he didn’t just give me things that I needed. He taught me to care for others, and he was great at taking care of his fellow man, and attending to his own faith issues. He also was very respectful of people.

Jeff: What is it that you want to be sure to do with your kids? Porter: I don’t want to ignore the needs of my family. My priorities are faith, family and my job. And I don’t want to put my job before my faith and family.

Jeff: How do you find balance with such a chaotic, pressure filled job? Porter: I think it helps that I have a healthy marriage. My wife is a great blessing! Because she’s who she is, I want to have balance.

Jeff: What are several things that you want to be sure that your sons know, see and hear from you? Porter: It’s important that they see love in a healthy marriage and family. It’s important that they see the truth, honesty, respect and a work ethic. Now, I’m in a position where we have some resources, and I want to make sure that my kids earn and value what they get. Just like my dad did for me.

Jeff: What role does faith play in the relationship with your sons and your own father? Porter: You’re going to have ups and downs, and you’re going to have adversity. Your faith is there to help you–to find peace and find strength. It also helps you find a sense of purpose.

My kids see that I’m in the spotlight a lot, and they’re also into basketball. It’s vitally important that I love them for who they are, not what they do! And God is the same way. It’s not about my job. My love for my kids is not contingent upon them scoring 20 points.

Jeff: Is there anything that you do very intentionally that gives life to the relationship? Porter: We have a family group chat. I love sending them something every day. Some days it’s a thought, some days it’s a video, some days it’s a something funny, and some are thought-provoking. They love it!

Jeff: What are things that help keep you grounded? Porter: My faith keeps me grounded. Failures have kept me humble. You’re going to have highs and lows. And my wife keeps me humble, of course.

Jeff: Is there anything else that you’d like to share? Porter: When I graduated from Creighton University I wanted to be a coach. When I told him he said, “How much money you’re going to make?” I said, “Nothing.” He said, “Is this really what you want to do?” I said, “Yes.” Then he said. “If you love it then you have to go for it.”

So it is for my own children. I want to teach them the foundations of work ethic, respect, and honesty. I don’t want them to do what I want them to do. I want them to find what they’re passionate about. I want them to have the foundation built on values that I taught, and then put that towards their passion.

This is an awesome topic. We’re all searching for great relationships between fathers and sons. We’re all searching for a way to make this relationship more meaningful.

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This blog is an edited excerpt from Tender Lions: Building the Vital Relationship Between Father and Son

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