Allan Clark has never questioned the importance of hard work and effort. Allan and his seven siblings grew up in southern California on his single mother’s salary. He recalls patching his shoes with playing cards and duct tape when money was tight.
Never taking things for granted, Allan began working full-time at a construction company driving forklifts and was quickly promoted to yard manager due to his hard work and diligence. At 19 years old, Allan saved up enough money to purchase his first house, a very counter-cultural act for a California teenager in the 70s.
Growing up with a distant father, Allan made fatherhood a priority in his own life. After marrying his wife, Silvana, they knew their lives were too good not to share with just each another. Allan and Silvana were active volunteers with local foster homes, volunteering their time to be a positive role model for children with less than perfect pasts. After seeing firsthand the frustration and bureaucracy of the foster system, Allan and his wife adopted an eight-year-old girl who had an abusive past. Allan dove into fatherhood, choosing a career as a school bus trainer so he could have the summers off, never missing his daughter’s dance recitals, school plays or softball games.
Heritage research has shown that adolescents with strong relationships with their fathers have more positive psychological, behavioral and educational outcomes. Having a father present also drastically decreases the chance of an adolescent to be delinquent, and/or abuse drugs or alcohol. Allan knew the implications and took the responsibility of fatherhood seriously.
When Allan and his wife had a second daughter, he again dedicated himself to instilling strong moral values and stressing the importance of hard work. As an active member of the church and community, Allan was always present in his daughter’s life, from helping her build a life-sized wooden horse for her bedroom to later teaching her how to change the oil, battery and tires on her car.
Allan always walked the second mile with anything he entered into. When his daughter decided at five she wanted to play soccer, Allan stepped up and took on the task of herding twenty five-year-olds towards the right goal. Since the Washington State soccer season is often rainy and cold, he would bring a tent, sleeping bags and hot chocolate to the games so the girls could recover from playing in the cold rain. After each game, Allan would present the players with a box with two holes labeled “Win” and “Didn’t Win”. The box would be filled with a new bookmark, yo-yo or other trinket to remind the girls that they worked hard and that winning isn’t everything.
When his daughters entered college, Allan stood as a rock of the family. He was always one phone call away to resolve a moral dilemma, boy problem or to be an emotional sounding board to add perspective to the often times trivial college woes.
A Heritage Foundation Member, Allan exemplifies the Heritage value of creating an America where civil society flourish. He is a true testament for the American Dream. He rose from humble beginnings to create a life centered around family and community, always relying on hard work, rather than others to support himself and his family.
As Father’s Day nears, this author would like to thank her father, Allan, for being an inspiration of the American Dream and for shaping me into the person I am today.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
How has your father inspired or impacted your life?