From Chicken Soup for the Father & Son Soul

The New Math

One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money was in my bank account. . . . But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.

Forest Witcraft

I have a perfectly good calculator that calculates up to twelve digits . . . even Donald Trump wouldn’t require more than that to count his billions. But when I sat down recently and reflected on the staggering numbers my husband has logged while rearing his two sons over the years, I quickly discovered that the calculator wasn’t nearly powerful enough.

At various ages and stages, a devoted father racks up the big numbers! I was quite surprised to learn how that looked for my husband over the course of his sons’ lives:

• Logged 1,248 trips to the playground

• Chauffeured the boys to and from school on 4,836 occasions

• Taught strategy for 1,872 hours as the kids learned their colors in Candy Land and the art of wheeling and dealing in Monopoly

• Pitched and caught balls for more than 2,081 hours (Of course, this does not include the time spent climbing over neighbors’ fences and rocks to retrieve the myriad tennis balls that inevitably ended up in their yards!)

• Attended 468 hours of school conferences and recitals and cheered every accomplishment, big or small

• Supervised 2,418 hours of homework and assisted with those oh-so-special school projects that were “easy” for the kids to do on their own (I’m not sure our sons can build a volcano or replicate a living cell, but my husband now can!)

• Coached the Warrior soccer team and the Apache baseball team for a combined 1,466 sweaty hours

• Held his breath for 2,129 miles while giving driving lessons

• Lost 1,036 hours of sleep waiting up to be sure his teenagers arrived home safely

• Climbed 2,832 steps . . . and counting . . . while visiting prospective college campuses

Of course, this doesn’t cover the countless hours he spent teaching the boys how to shave, tie a tie, tip the barber, or build that lightning-fast wooden car for the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. It also doesn’t include the countless hours he provided a strong role model of what a good husband should be . . . a lesson that is sure to pay dividends when the boys become husbands and fathers themselves.

So while Donald Trump may be considered a billionaire, the return on his investments doesn’t hold a candle to my husband’s. As his sons would surely agree, the return on their dad’s investment of time in their lives is incalculable.

Pamela Hackett Hobson

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