January 14, 2008

How Proud Can a Dad Be?

By Paul Bieber

How proud can a dad be? So proud, I want to shout it from the roof tops.

If you want to read a glass blog, come back next week when we will talk more about hiring, but this week I am going to share a story about my son, Philip.

Philip is the kind of kid who respects his parents, but not too outwardly. He doesn’t call home, just to kibitz, like his sister. In fact, we may not hear from him for a week or two at a time. If he sees us calling on his cell phone, he usually lets the message do the talking. I did ask his permission to write this, and surprisingly, he said yes.

Philip is a senior at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. He sings in the chorus, but forgets to tell us the dates of the performances, as in “Mom, do you really have to come?” He is good at what he wants to do, learning history and literature, participating in theatrical productions, and being involved in extra-curricular activities at school.

I come from a business background, with budgets and goal setting. Phil’s life is learning to teach and to work with kids.

In November, Phil told us he was coming home for the winter break, but that he accepted a volunteer job with a climate-change organization, gearing up to work during the New Hampshire primary election. He tells us no more than that, and won’t, even under heavy questioning. He knows this is an important cause and he will do whatever the leader asks him to do.

The night before he is leaving he tells us a little bit of what is going to happen. The group has volunteers dress up in costume and attend every rally or speech by a Presidential candidate. In the week before the New Hampshire primary, these events are non-stop. He tells us that a costumed character garners media questions, and that getting media exposure for this global warming/climate group is the goal.

He calls us the next day with this story: He dresses up as Santa Claus for a Hillary Clinton campaign stop, and sure enough, Hillary points to Santa in the crowd, invites him to come to her, and poses for a photo-op with Santa. Santa then gets interviewed (as promised) and makes a case for his cause. We were excited, but were a little unsure of the facts. The next morning we Googled the event, and holy cow, there was a picture of Hillary Clinton and Santa. Reuters had this picture on their web ite. So, I contacted Reuters, and soon five 8×10 glossy color photos were on their way to us … five you see, one for each member of our family, and one to send to Hillary for her to autograph and return to us.

A friend of Phil’s told him this: Only in America can a Jewish kid from Long Island grow up to be Santa Claus for the former First Lady, maybe even President of the United States.

It gets better. Two days later, the Wall Street Journal did a front page feature story about getting media attention during the campaign and interviewed Philip. He was quoted in the article. On the front page of the Wall Street Journal.


Now think back … I have been in business all my life, ran a medium-sized company, and my contact with the Journal was reading it. My son, who doesn’t know a P&L statement from a chicken leg is quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

It proves that being creative and dedicated to a cause does work in America. Way to go, Phil.