It is easy to look at the newspapers or turn on the TV and be discouraged by what you see. But on radio this morning, Glenn told a story of a father and his son that shows the key to getting this country and, more broadly, our world back on track begins at home. In order to fix our country, we must start by fixing our children.
Dad slept in a bit on Saturday morning. He had a busy week at work, home, late most nights, not much time to see his son before bedtime. His wife was still asleep. So I got out of bed and headed downstairs, hoping for a quiet, peaceful start to the day. Made some coffee, stepped outside into a crisp fall air to get the newspaper. Back inside he poured himself a cup of coffee and sat by the television that he hadn’t turned on. He sat down in his favorite chair and watched TV and read the newspaper. This is what he had been waiting for all week, a chance to be alone, chance to have the house quiet and a chance to relax.
But just as he took his first sip of coffee, he heard Danny’s door open and coming down the stairs. His 8-year-old son said, “Dad, can we go outside and rake some leaves in a huge pile and jump this them, then we can play catch with a football. I bet I can throw the football clear across the yard. Can I show you?”
“Danny, I just sat down to read the newspaper. Maybe in a little while.”
So Danny went upstairs to get dressed. Couple of minutes later, he was bouncing back down the stairs. “Dad, can we go outside now?” “Not just yet. Just give me 10 minutes and then we’ll see.”
Danny went back upstairs, sat on the edge of his bed for what seemed like 10 minutes or so. He quietly came down the stairs, not making any noise. He walked up to his dad, peeled back the top part of the newspaper so his dad could see him: “Dad, has it been 10 minutes yet?” Now Dad, a little frustrated, said, “I’ll tell you when 10 minutes are up, okay? Just leave me alone for just a minute.”
Danny walked away with his head down, not sure what to do, where to go. His dad kind of felt like a jerk for a second. He had an idea. On the opposite page that he was reading was a full-page ad with a big map of the world on it. He tore the page off, said, “Danny,” and held up the page. And as he was starting to tear it, he said, “I’ll tell you what. I’ve just torn this up into a whole bunch of pieces. Take these pieces of paper. It’s a map of the world. Go in the kitchen, put them back together. When you’re finished, we’ll go outside and play.” “Okay, Dad.”
Danny barely knew the U.S. geography. His dad figured he would have some peace and quiet for quite some time. He sunk back into his chair, heard the paper rustling, Scotch tape tearing at the kitchen table. Maybe enough time for even another cup of coffee. It was about five minutes later that Danny came running in and said, “I’m finished.” His dad said, “Danny, I asked you to put all the pieces together.” “I did, Dad. Come see.”
His dad walked into the kitchen, and there it was exactly what it looked like before he tore it into a whole bunch of pieces. “How did you do this so quickly,” he said? “Well, I didn’t do it on that side of the paper, Dad. I did it on the other side of the paper.” On the other side of the paper that he had seen but his father hadn’t was a picture of a little boy in some far-off land. “I figured if I put a little boy back together, the world would take care of itself.” His dad said, “You know what? Why don’t we go have some ice cream for breakfast.” “Ice cream for breakfast?” “Yeah, ice cream for breakfast.” No matter how far we have to find it, no matter how long it takes to get there, every once in a while every little boy deserves to have ice cream for breakfast with his dad.
“Let’s take care of the little boy; the world will take care of itself. This is really the way to fix the world,” Glenn said. “This next weekend, if you happen to be the dad that said, ‘Not right yet.’ Did you go out and rake the leaves and jump in them with your kids? Toss the football? Do it. Rake the leaves this week. Toss the football, and then go get some ice cream and then while you’re doing it, stop and see what’s happening. See their joy and yours and treasure it for just a second. Treasure it.”
“If we fix our kids, if we fix ourselves, the rest of the world will be fine. There’s a ton of work to do, but that’s what Americans do best,” he concluded. “And we’re already starting to see people recognizing their job and trying to reverse the mistakes of the past by fixing the kids and doing what we know is right, not what the experts tell us is right.”