If you were to ask Alimi Ballard what his philosophy on parenthood is, he’ll be quick to tell you that he is the coach who drives the game. “I’m a coach,” says the actor to Robert “Daddy” Nickell. “Sometimes you gotta get in their face, but you’re always on the sideline.”
Ballard use to be one coach who worried a lot when his wife, Dior, was expecting their first child. “I was worried about my wife,” explains the star. “I was worried about how the kid was going to come out. I worried about my daughter, the first one, until she was 12-months-old. And then I found this cloud of anxiety lifted off.”
Although anxiety is now a thing of the past for him, Alimi understands that some fathers still feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. “If you’re nervous all the time, that’s normal,” says the actor. “Don’t wonder, ‘Why am I always nervous?’ because you find out this is the part of life that you have to pray about. The first year was all worry and concern, and I just wanted to make sure that I was doing everything. So, I mean, to young dads I would say breathe, the worry is okay.”
Ballard encourages all parents, young and old, to focus on instilling values in their kids that will last a lifetime more than on the mistakes their children make during years of growth and discovery. “The game is their life, and you coach them to excel the way their natural gifts are. You try to bring out the nest in them, but ultimately it’s their game to play, to win, lose or draw. You just want to instill in them the desire to go for it.”
Alimi and Dior Ballard have two children together.