An Everyday Hero: Ralph Casey Showed Me How to Be a Good Dad


Carey-and-pop2It’s a month of “everyday heroes” here at During these weeks leading up to Father’s Day, I’ll be highlighting some fantastic dads who live out Championship Fathering. In doing so, I hope to honor all dads for their dedication, and I think you’ll be challenged and inspired by their examples.

I’ll start with the man who was the main hero in my life: my pop, Ralph Waldo Casey. I think about him just about every day, and I’m still hearing and thinking about many of the things he said to me, even though it’s been more than ten years since he died.

Even today, whenever a public figure says or does something crazy, or government officials talk about a new policy that could threaten something I hold dear, I think about my dad. Although I know what I believe (since he trained me well), I’d still like to hear his words.

I commented on this just last week, and one of our staff members caught it on video:


I still long for those summer days when we’d be sitting in the back yard, just hanging out, and he’d be coaching me about something important to him. He always seemed to have some wisdom to share regardless of the topic.

While I say that, understand that my pop didn’t go to college. He didn’t take us on extravagant vacations or pay for us to travel the world, and he didn’t teach me a foreign language or a musical instrument. He wasn’t a pastor or an expert in child psychology. He wasn’t famous. He worked a blue collar job for his whole life. My dad was common as the day was long.

But he was also a hero because of his faithfulness to his family and the way he invested in us. He was an everyday hero.

Dads, part of coaching our children in character and integrity is speaking truth into them—consistently, at the right time. Just like I still benefit from my dad’s wisdom, you can influence your children. Some of it can be spoken, and my pop did that a lot. But I encourage you also to write notes, messages, and even journals for your children.

Take truths and principles that are meaningful to you and pass them on to your children. Give them plenty to remember and think about even after you’re gone.

Here are a few more Action Points. Please share some ideas of your own below or at our Facebook page.

● My pop used to say, “It would break my heart if you ever used drugs.” Without lecturing your children, let them see that you’re passionate about the things you believe in.

● Pay special attention to your tone of voice when you talk to your children. Do all you can to stay positive, even when you’re correcting or confronting them.

● Teach your child a new skill appropriate for his or her age: cleaning floors, putting away dishes, mowing the lawn, balancing a checkbook, car maintenance, etc.

● Marriage has been in the news a lot the past few weeks. Make sure your children know where you stand on this and other important issues in the headlines.

● As you coach your children about life, be patient with them. Sometimes it takes a long time for your message to really sink in.

● Start a list of things you want your child to see, do, or learn before he leaves home. (Then start checking them off.) You can find plenty of ideas in the books here and here.


Carey CaseyCarey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.

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