Rob Parsons was born and raised in Cardiff, Wales. The son of a postman and an office cleaner, he was raised in a home with no hot water or indoor plumbing. Though his parents were not church-goers, they sent the four-year-old Rob to Sunday school, an experience that would help determine the course of his life.
On leaving college he taught English Literature but then retrained as a lawyer. By the 1980s, he was a successful legal consultant and senior partner at a big provincial law firm. In 1986, Rob attended a meeting between James Dobson and a group of British church leaders. When Dobson asked what he could do to assist them in their ministry, Rob began to consider a new direction for his life. He and his wife had spent years counseling couples and through his law practice he often encountered troubled marriages. At the time, Britain had the largest divorce rate in Europe. He knew God was calling him to do something about that.
In 1988, he left his firm to start Care for the Family, a charitable organization which aims to promote strong family life and to help those hurting because of family breakdown. Rob chuckles as he recalls the abrupt change of scenery. “One day I was sitting in an elegant law office, and if I wanted a cup of coffee it magically appeared. The next day I was in a one-room garret licking my own stamps. No one returned my phone calls because no one knew me or cared whether they did or not.” From these humble beginnings, Care for the Family has grown to include 107 staff members and 40 different projects.
Rob has penned many popular books on marriage, parenting and Christian living including the bestselling Sixty-Minute series, TEENAGERS! What Every Parent Has to Know and THE MONEY SECRET. Care for the Family distributes several of his DVD seminars and accompanying workbooks: THE 21st CENTURY MARRIAGE, THE 21st CENTURY PARENT, BEATING BURNOUT and THE HEART OF SUCCESS. His latest book, BRINGING HOME THE PRODIGALS, is based on a message he has presented worldwide at live events for the last five years.
Once described by the British newspaper The Daily Mail as “the man who reinvented fatherhood” (Rob says that when his own kids read the quote, they “fell about laughing”), Rob is particularly passionate about helping parents relate to their children, particularly their teenagers. His writing on this topic often reflects what he considers are areas where he feels he could have done better in the fatherhood department. “Sometimes when children ask us to do something with them now, we say we’ll do it later. Then ‘later’ never comes. Eventually the kids just stop asking,” he says. “Fathers all over the world say to me that they are going to make more time for the families…then they turn 65 and wonder where their lives went.”
Rob and his wife, Dianne, met in their church youth group at age sixteen. They have been married for 37 years and have two grown children, Katie and Lloyd, a son-in-law, and will soon welcome a daughter-in-law into the fold. The Parsons family also includes Ronnie, a man who was homeless and who, when a child, belonged to Rob and Diane’s youth group. He has lived with them since the night of his unexpected appearance on their doorstep thirty years ago, just before Katie was born. Rob maintains a busy travel schedule, and Dianne is his frequent companion. He also serves as ambassador for Tearfund, a Christian relief organization. The couple enjoys reading, strolling the streets of Cardiff, kicking about with friends and spending time in their home church.