Arlyn Janssen, 34, Lawrence, KS
Occupation: At-home parent
Purpose: “To shape my children to think critically and live mindfully.”
As a student, Arlyn was naturally drawn to an academic sensibility: “I spent a lot of time thinking in the abstract,” he says. And he may have remained in that realm had it not been for the time he spent, ten years ago, working at a men’s homeless shelter in Indiana.
“I didn’t have training…but I cared about the people and I became deeply interested in their stories,” he says. “I was forced to recalibrate my concern for the causes of homelessness and instead concern myself with this man’s homelessness and that man’s addiction.”
That’s when, knowingly, or not, Arlyn began preparing for his role as a hands-on dad. Today, he juggles the practicalities of his two children with making mindful choices about how they live. “It’s an exciting question for me when my five-year-old asks, ‘why do you eat that?’ I am able to have a conversation with him about the way our food reaches us. I celebrate the fact that I am able to have this kind of active discourse with my son — when he’s not pouring water into the air registers or hanging by a finger above my head.”