Best known as the lead rapper in the successful multi-platinum group DC Talk, Toby McKeehan, nicknamed “tobyMac,” is also a songwriter, producer and businessman. On stage or behind the scenes he’s president of Gotee records, too–it seems everything tobyMac touches turns to gold. Commercial success aside, 37-year-old McKeehan shines brightest when he talks about his 3-and-a-half-year-old son, Truett. In fact, his first and only solo album, Momentum, features a number of snippets of his son. McKeehan spoke with Family.org about the joy his “True Blue” has brought to his life.
Family.org: Toby, you and Amanda were married for more than 6 years before you had children. Were you always planning to have children?
tobyMac: It took us a little while longer to conceive than we thought. We would like to have had kids a little sooner.
Family.org: So you and Amanda weren’t always intentional about getting pregnant?
tobyMac: No, and now that we have Truett, I can’t help but kick myself for not trying sooner. I wish right now that I had three children, quite frankly, because I can’t believe the amount of love and inspiration that comes with children.
Family.org: What kind of inspiration?
tobyMac: It’s like life began for me when Truett was born. I know that sounds a little bit extreme, but a side of my life began when Truett was born, I can tell you that.
Family.org: What kinds of things do you do together, father and son?
tobyMac: We make the point of eating together as a family every day. Most of the time I take Truett upstairs and bathe him, and talk with him there. I take care of getting his pajamas on, reading him some stories and tucking him into bed. Occasionally we go out to the golf course together, and he has a little bag with three clubs. He loves to go out there with me and drive the cart and hang out.
Family.org: How often is that?
tobyMac: I try to do it once a week, not for a long time, just a few holes. He especially loves to go to the studio, and he totally loves drums. The other day he told me that he was going to be a drummer in a band. He said I was going to play guitar.
Family.org: As a musician, are there special trials in raising a child?
tobyMac: DC Talk is a band that tours only when a record is released. I love being on the road, but I also love being home with my family.
Family.org: Does Truett come on the road with you?
tobyMac: Yes, he comes on the road with us often, so we’re not going to have a problem getting him into the social scheme of things. What we have to focus on is making sure we have a home life. It’s important to Amanda and I that Truett is in his bed most every night, and I’m coming home at a decent hour, we’re sitting down as a family and having dinner. It would be so easy to continue the life we had before Truett–going out to restaurants, living on the road, taking trips. We think it’s very important he knows that home is a place where he wants to be. A place of peace for a kid.
Family.org: How about the other band members of DC Talk? Michael [Tait] is not married, is he?
Family.org: And Kevin [Max] is married but without kids?
Family.org: Has there ever been friction between you and the others because of your child?
tobyMac: No. They both love Truett. They are amazed by him all the time, because none of us had children. They just sit there and shake their head, like, “That’s Toby’s kid.”
Family.org: Spittin’ image of you, eh?
tobyMac: Actually, he looks a lot like Amanda.
Family.org: Is that a good thing?
tobyMac: Yeah (laughs). He has some of my qualities, definitely, like we are both not morning people. Amanda jumps right up ready to get her day started. It’s like pulling teeth to get me out of bed. Truett’s like me. I’ve got to go in his room four times every morning and say, “True, we’ve got to wake up.”
Family.org: Have you faced any personal trials as a parent?
tobyMac: Patience is high on the Richter scale, and we are always looking for that God-given patience that only comes as the fruit of Him in your life. I personally battle laziness in parenting. I get home from the studio, and I’m tired. I just get a little bit lazy, but then I see the fruit of Amanda not being lazy, and it puts me in check real quick. I’m learning that if I invest energy into Truett and his needs, he’s going to know that I’m there for him. I need him to know that.
Family.org: Do you plan to have more children?
tobyMac: Absolutely. We’re excited to have more.
Family.org: Do you see your musical career conflicting with those plans?
tobyMac: “I know God has always had a plan for my life, but if–if I were to reconsider, I wish we would have had children earlier.”
Family.org: Looking back, would children have hindered your current success?
tobyMac: No. Having children enhances the gifts, talents and qualities that God’s given me. Having children is an inspiration to me as an artist. Having children earlier would have been a good thing.
Family.org: Do you sing about your son on your new CD, Momentum?
tobyMac: Yeah, there’s a song called, “Do You Know?” The chorus is the old theme from Mahogany:
Do you know where you’re going to,
Do you like the things that life is showing you
Where are you going to, do you know?
Then I wrote a father-son verse. The first verse is really from me to Truett, and the second verse is God speaking to me. The Truett verse is:
This goes out to my man, his name is True Blue,
For all the nights that your daddy spent away from you,
for all the days that I told you maybe next time
Late up in the studio, consumed in my next rhyme.What kind of lyric can I drop to make you think twice
About the trials that you’re going to face in this life?
I can lullaby, even point you to the Most High
Praying everything is going to be all right.
But someday my love isn’t going to be fulfillin’
Try as I may, human love–it hits the ceiling
But I can sow the seeds, say a prayer, this I know
If faith can move a mountain, surely God can make His Spirit grow in you.
Family.org: Good stuff.
tobyMac: I love the fact that that prayer goes out with him forever. There’s also a song that Truett did on my record.
Family.org: He sang?
tobyMac: He kinda sang–he kinda rapped–and we put it together and made a little rhythm out of it.
Family.org: Explain the joy in your parenting.
tobyMac: I see things all the time through Truett’s eyes, and it’s like everything’s fresh and new. I remember the first time Truett walked outside and said, “Daddy, daddy, the moon!” I looked up, and I felt like I saw the moon for the first time. Life becomes like looking through a child’s eyes. As a parent, you have an opportunity to see things fresh again.
Family.org: Well said.
tobyMac: Amanda and I said to each other, “Can you believe how much love we have for him?” It is exactly the same love our parents felt for us, but you don’t realize it until you’ve had your own children. Truett means the world to us.
“I know God has always had a plan for my life, but if–if I were to reconsider, I wish we would have had children earlier.”
Taken from www.family.org, a Focus on the Family web site. Copyright (c) 2002, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.