Each June, we celebrate skinned knees and fishing trips. We celebrate baseball games and soccer matches. We celebrate the kings of early morning day-care drop off and the stay-at-home laundry masters. We celebrate the day-shift, the night-shift, and the 24 hour shift.
We celebrate dads. Blue collar, white collar, no collar – we celebrate those men that decided there needs would forever take a back seat to ours.
A mix of blue and white collar, my dad was a small business owner – an insurance agent. A man of routine, there were few night he didn’t make it home for dinner, only to leave shortly after to return to the office. Ten hour days were the norm and, for me, nights spent in the office with Dad were the best kind. It’s funny how through my eyes at 12 years old, my dad’s meticulous attention to the way in which papers were stacked on his desk was a quirky habit. Today, those same eyes make sure not a paper is out of place on my desk when I call it quits each day. Just one of the many little, but significant things that I learned from those nights with Dad…
The namesake of our Foundation, Cal, Sr. used the baseball field as his office. Cal and Bill have often told the story of their dad tapping them on the knee on Saturday mornings for a trip to “the office.” Not to train or practice their own skills, but rather to teach little pieces of the game and life to neighborhood kids that didn’t have someone to tap them on the knee.
Cal and Bill attribute this to the fact that Cal, Sr. lost his dad when he was a young boy – a trait far too many young men and women today share with Cal, Sr.
According to the US Census Bureau, nearly 1 in 3 – 24 million – young people live in a home without a father. 24 million young people don’t get tapped on the knee. 24 million young people don’t go back to the office with their dad. 24 million young people lack the perspective learned from their interactions with a father. Study after study on topics including teen pregnancy, drug use, obesity, educational attainment, poverty, and incarceration (to name just a few) have proven that young people without a fatherly influence in their lives are at significant risk.
This June, I’ll enjoy spending time with my Dad, as will millions of others. But for many, by both chance and choice, this Father’s Day is simply another day where the chance to learn is lost.
As we celebrate the dads that tapped our knees and returned to the office each night, we should also take a minute to think about how we can fill the void for some of the 24 million – Cal, Sr. did and today we follow his lead.
On September 6, 1995 Cal made history. Figures, I was at the office that night with my dad. One of the many memories…