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Saturday, April 26, 2014

On Being a Good Dad: A Letter to Governor Christie

Dear Governor Christie,

I was the opposing coach at your son's baseball game yesterday.  When you arrived to watch, the buzz quickly spread from among our parents and into our bench.  In 15 years of coaching middle school, we have never had such a high profile fan watching one of our games.

Although we probably do not share many things in common, two that we do is love for our family and love of baseball.  Your presence at the game yesterday to support your son was a reminder to me of how important it is to take time out of my schedule, no matter how busy it is, to spend time with my daughters.  It reminded me of my own father, who was a factory worker.  When I played ball games close to Elizabeth where he worked, he would use his lunch hour to come over and catch a few innings. Even after the game got out of hand, you didn't use it as an excuse to leave.  You were there cheering your son and his team on from the first pitch to the last out.  Sadly, in my years as a coach, I have seen fathers walk away in similar situations, allowing the tyranny of the urgent to overtake them.  As an adult I can't put a value on the admiration that grew for my father from the efforts he extended to take in as many ball games as he could right through college. I can guarantee your children will as well.

You're going to be your child's father for more years than governor or any other office you may choose (or not choose) to run for.  I think that we all can learn from that; our job or position isn't our identity and is definitely not what our kids see when we come home at night.

I'm not saying that I agree with all your decisions as governor (as you probably could guess since I'm a teacher but then again, my wife and I don't agree 100% on everything either), but the decision you made yesterday to cheer on your son is something I think everyone can agree was a good one. In our toxic political environment, it saddens me when people will not give praise to politicians when it is deserving just because we don't agree with them on other points.  If we can't say "Good Job" when it is deserving because the politician has the wrong letter next to their name, then our society is hopeless.

I have been a teacher and coach for over 20 years and have the pleasure of seeing how a father's love for their child has helped him/her to succeed in the classroom, ball field, and life.  Tragically, I have also seen how the lack of this commitment from dads effects children as well.

Thanks for the reminder of how important it is to be a Dad first.

Congrats on winning "Father of the Year".

Respectfully,

Kevin Cullen
Baseball Coach/7th Grade History Teacher
Black River Middle School
Chester, NJ


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