Al Roker Vows to Be 'More Patient' with Son, 17, Who Has Special Needs: 'Want to Be a Better Person'
"I look at him and all that he does and I want to be a better person," said the Today weather anchor
Speaking with Hoda Kotb on Thursday, the Today weather anchor, 65, opened up about one of his intentions for the new year. “I want to be more patient, I think. Especially towards the end of the week after I get a little tired, I tend to get a little short with Nick,” he said of 17-year-old son who has special needs.
Praising her colleague’s relationship with his son, Kotb noted how much admiration both she and fiancé Joel Schiffman have for them.
“Watching Nick rest his head on your shoulders may be one of the most beautiful sites that I have ever seen,” she said. “Joel and I often talk about you and your son because he’s an incredible kid.”
Roker went on to share that one of the things he appreciates about his son “is he just kind of attacks” his challenges “head-on.”
“He’s very goal-oriented and he’s a great kid,” he added. “As a lot of parents who have kids who have special needs [know], they can try your patience. Not that they mean to, or anything like that. I look at him and all that he does and I want to be a better person.”
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Roker and wife Deborah Roberts opened up to Guideposts magazine in May about raising a child with special needs.
In the article, Roker explained that their son is “somewhere on the spectrum and maybe obsessive-compulsive” — but despite the difficulties the condition has bought his son, Roker said Nick never let his developmental delays get in the way of living his life and doing what he loves.
“Do I get frustrated with my son sometimes? You bet,” Roker wrote. “But then I remember my dad, how understanding he was. And Deborah reminds me that I have to show my son not only that I love him but that I like him as well. More than that, I admire him.”
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After getting Nick the help he needed from speech, behavioral and occupational therapists, the daytime anchor said his son — whose hobbies now include going to church, tae kwon do and swimming — began to flourish.
“Nick is a hard worker; he’s got a great sense of humor; he’s outgoing and a good swimmer; he’s developing a pretty good top-of-the-key basketball shot,” Roker said. “He takes chess lessons a couple times a week, and he does okay. He’s also very affectionate — like his grandfather — and full of love to share.”