My Dad told me this story when I was in eighth grade. I liked it so much that I used it in my salutatorian speech to the hardy souls who made up the St. James Catholic School class of 1984.
I relate it again, here, because graduation season always reminds me of this story and I figure the statute of limitations on its reuse had to run out sometime in the last 26 years!
Stop me if you’ve heard this …
A father arrived home from work to find his 9-year-old son waiting in the front yard with his glove and a baseball.
The father stepped out of the car and his son immediately, shouted, “Dad, ready to play some catch?”
The weary father paused for a moment. Like all good dads, he wanted to play ball with his son, but he was bone tired and stressed from the day. He needed a minute to catch his breath, take off his work mask and put on his Dad mask.
Luckily, an idea popped into his tired brain.
He said, “Sure, but first I need you to do me a favor. Follow me.”
The two walked into the house. The dad said, “I’ll be right back.”
He went into the den, took an old map of the world out of the desk drawer, ripped it up into a hundred small-to medium-sized pieces and called to his son.
His son entered the den and his Dad said, “Son, I need this map of the world for a presentation at work tomorrow. While I eat dinner and change my clothes, can you put this together for me?”
The son, of course, happily agreed and got to work.
The father went to the kitchen, sat down with his wife and his dinner and began enjoying himself. But, before he started his dessert, his son returned, proudly holding the world map all taped together correctly.
The father was surprised (and a little proud). He asked, “Son, how did you ever do that so fast?”
The boy replied, “Easy. Once I realized the back of the map had a picture of a man on it, I simply put him together correctly. I knew if the man was right, so was the world.”
For me, this story never gets old. I like to envision the father bringing the taped map of the world into work the next day and proudly showing his co-workers what his son had done–and relating to them how he did it. And, I like to envision the father’s story passing from person to person until it ends up in an eighth-grade graduation speech and, eventually, in a magazine read by 12,000 people all across the country.
Of course, it also reminds me of the work you do at camp. You are literally helping to put our men (and women) together correctly and, by extension, you’re making sure the world we live in is “right.”
Keep up the good work–and thanks for all do.
Till next month…
Rodney J. Auth