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ICYMI: Rubio Joins First Class Fatherhood

May 5, 2023 | Comunicados de Prensa

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined First Class Fatherhood to discuss the value of being a dad. See below for a lightly edited transcript and listen to the full interview here. Watch the interview on YouTube y Rumble.

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On Rubio’s experience of fatherhood:
 
“I have four kids. I have two daughters that are 23 and about to turn 21. I have a son who’s about to turn 18 [and go] to college. He’s going to play football at the University of Florida. So we’re like in the middle of the graduation stuff. It’s actually an interesting dynamic, the difference between boys and girls. Then I have a younger one who’s only 15. 
 
“All my kids are all very different. They present both very unique moments of joy and very unique challenges that are different to one another. It’s the most important job I’ll ever have. The most impact I’ll ever have on lives is on their four lives, for better or for worse.”
 
On how becoming a father changed Rubio’s perspective on life: 
 
“I was 29, and it was in 2000 when my daughter was born, in April. It changes your life in a fundamental way, in that it’s no longer about you. I think it arises different feelings in men and women and fathers and mothers. But for me, it was the first time in my life that I had been responsible entirely for the life of another human being, for everything from whether they’re going to have enough to eat to whether they’re going to get medical attention if they get sick. And that’s just the beginning. 
 
“At that time, my daughter was two weeks old, I was in the state legislature, and we just threw her in a car seat and drove up to Tallahassee. Obviously, the old Cuban grandmother and Colombian grandmother are screaming at us: ‘You can’t take a baby out of the house after the first two weeks. They can get infections.’ But we just had to roll with it. It was a very special time in our lives. It was just the three of us. 
 
“I always tell people about kids: ‘When you have one or two kids, you can play man to man, but when you get to three or four, now you’re playing zone.’ Now the two of you are kind of covering areas and triaging a lot. I really can’t imagine what my life would have been like had I not had my kids. I’ve been blessed with that. It really is the greatest – I used to hear people say that as a cliche all the time – the greatest joy and purpose in my life I’ve ever found is through them.”
 
On balancing being a father and a senator: 
 
“First of all, my kids have grown up in it. So my kids don’t really have a memory of a time that I wasn’t a public figure at some level. Not maybe not the way it’s been the last 10 years, but at some level it’s always been a part of their life. 
 
“The biggest challenge is the one thing you can’t get back, and that’s time. I don’t care who you are or how much money you make. We all get seven days in a week and 24 hours in a day. That’s what you have. And so how you allocate that time is important. 
 
“The kind of balance I’ve found is the following: it’s good for kids to see that Dad has a job and that Dad is working. It’s a good thing for kids to see that Dad is busy, that Dad has things to do. It’s good for kids to grow up seeing a dad who serves,  and I know a lot of people don’t view politics that way, but there are things I have to go do that may not be how I would spend a Saturday afternoon if the choice were mine, but it’s an honor to do it and have a chance to serve others. I think that’s a very positive thing. 
 
“My dad was not a talker. He was not a sit-me-down, give-me-a-lecture, life lesson stuff from a commercial. My dad was a doer. I learned most of what I know about being both a man and a father through modeling, through example, through what I saw. 
 
“What I saw was this: the dad who got up every day and went to work because he had to, and came home every night to his family. He didn’t go drink with his buddies at the bar, didn’t go on a three-day weekend, didn’t vanish, didn’t show up at three in the morning drunk with my mom screaming at him because he had lipstick on his collar. You learn, and you learn from that example. You learn from modeling. 
 
“To me, for kids to see a dad who’s busy working, serving, that’s how I’ve balanced it out. I would say there are things I’ve missed because of family. I’ve missed stuff at work. If it’s something that’s never going to happen again, I don’t miss it, unless it’s like the urgent end-of-the-world thing. I try not to miss things that are never going to happen again. 
 
“You’re never going to play your last high school football game twice. You’re never going to graduate twice. There are things you’re never going to get to do again. I don’t miss things that are never going to happen again. If it’s just a run of the mill thing, I hate to miss it, but I got to be at work. My dad had to do that [because] he was a bartender.”
 
On empowering men to become strong fathers: 
 
“We’re in an era now where people debate things about gender and biology. The bottom line is this morning the sun rose in the east and it’s going to set in the west. Men are men or women are women. They’re different. They’re equal. They’re equally important. God loves them both just as much. They both exact equal and vital roles in society, but they are different. 
 
“One of the things about young men in particular is that young men have a biological, innate, programmed-by-the-manufacturer desire, at an adolescent age, to stand out [and] to make themselves attractive to the opposite sex. ‘I’m going to be a good mate. I’m going to be somebody that you want to marry and be with.’ 
 
“So when young men do not have positive examples or positive opportunities to do things that are constructive, then I think they become victims to negativity, meaning depression, suicide, and violence. Or frankly, they just go into this funk where they sit around and [their] identity becomes, ‘I’m really good at video games because I play them 17 hours a day,’ and things of that nature. 
 
“Then society begins to break down. You talk about fathers not in the home. There are a lot of fathers who frankly abandon their kids. They just flat out get up and go, and provide nothing. I have zero tolerance for that. I think that’s a real systemic problem. 
 
“I see this a lot in many of our communities, the lack of male role models in general, in many places. In some of our communities, like the African-American community, but also in some Hispanic communities in this country, the number of young men incarcerated is higher than the number of young men who are going to college or vocational training or the like. Society just can’t function that way. Young men now have no positive role models. 
 
“One of the ministries in this country that I think is really crucial is your sports coaches, particularly high school football coaches. They are, in many ways, the single most influential male role models that many young men will have. That’s why to me, it’s not so much about wins and losses, but it’s also about how you win, how you lose, and the lessons you learn from that. 
 
“I do think this is a major problem in our country, and I don’t think government can fix it. I think government can make it worse. But I honestly think we as a society need to wake up and understand that just like we tell people you shouldn’t smoke, you shouldn’t drink and drive, and you shouldn’t be overweight because you’ll get diabetes, I think we need to tell society, you need fathers, and we need men.”
 
On the need for adversity:
 
“I think a lot of times there are people that just swoop in and sort of fix it or tell their kids: ‘You didn’t do anything wrong. These cops are out of control.’ I think what you’re setting people up for is a life and situation where a lot of young people, the first time they hear somebody say something they don’t like or encounter something that’s unpleasant, they immediately demand that who they perceive as the adults, whether it’s a university president or their boss or whoever, fix it. ‘You got to come in and fix it, because this is unpleasant.’ Life has a lot of things that are unpleasant. It’s part of the process. 
 
“I think the lack of resiliency in young people today can be attributed to their parents stepping in and preventing. To me, discipline in many cases is allowing the natural consequences of things to play out for you. Do something wrong, you’re going to have to pay for it. It’s not punishment. It’s consequence. Some places might have gotten him two tickets.”
 
On the value of raising kids with faith:
 
“Two things about faith. The first is just the belief as a Christian that we’re called to eternal life, that we’re not supposed to die. We were not supposed to get sick. We were not supposed to. That’s all a consequence of sin. Sin entered the world. For some people now, death entered the world. Now we’re going through this process of ridding ourselves from that so we can actually live forever the way we were intended to when we were first created. 
 
“That’s that piece of it. It’s hard. It’s important to keep focus on that when the problems seem so big in the world. You recognize there’s this thing called eternity, and that’s what our aim is. 
 
“Then there’s a second component to it. That is right or wrong. If you don’t have a moral code, a compass of what is absolutely right and what is absolutely wrong, in the absence of faith – and I could say this about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, all of them – in the absence of faith as the foundation of a moral code, then what is your moral code? Your moral code is now, without that, based on what humans think is right or wrong from their own mind.
 
“Humans are pretty diverse. What you may think is wrong and what I may think is wrong are two very different things. Suddenly it’s like murder is wrong unless – fill in the blank. ‘I don’t like them. They’re not born yet. They looked at me the wrong way. They’re disabled.’ This is not a good life. You can start to fill in the blanks of how terrible that could get. 
 
“To me, the importance of faith in any society is that it gives you a grounding that says A) you’re not the center of the universe, and B) here is absolute right and here’s absolute wrong. It may not be what you feel is right or wrong or what you wish were right or wrong, but this gives you a code to regulate it. When you don’t have that, you get into the chaos we now face, which is, ‘Everything is relative.’ If everything’s relative, then nothing is real.”
 
On the importance of standing up for kids against woke ideology:
 
“I understand that no one wants to be singled out. But if you’re not willing to fight for your kids, there’s nothing for you to fight for. Ultimately, I think that’s why efforts to intimidate parents never work. There’s a lot of people out there that go along with the woke stuff and all that because they just don’t want the hassle, to be honest with you. They just don’t want the hassle. But not when it comes to their kids. That’s where they draw the line. They’ll claw your eyes out when you’re going to come after their kids, and you’re seeing that play itself out. 
 
“You tell everybody that in order to be anything, you have to go to college. So we send people to college, often to get huge debt loads, and then we send them into these places that have always been left of center, but that basically in every curriculum from the liberal arts to the sciences is just constantly pounding a one-line ideology, largely from the Left, I think the Marxist Left.
 
“The Left has long dominated academia, but the new dynamic is that there is no space for counterpoints of view. In many of these campuses, any counterpoint of view is now considered hateful, extremist. ‘We have a right to go in and blow up your meeting.’ The result is you now have been producing, for two decades, a workforce that has been inculcated in this. Who are these people now, 20 years later? Well, they’re CEOs. They’re their school board administrators and superintendents. They’re principals. They’re the people that are in charge of the media, and increasingly in politics. They are no longer just the young kids. 
 
“The theory always was don’t worry about it, once they go out into the real world and start paying taxes and have their own kids, their whole minds will change. Well, it hasn’t. It’s only reinforced itself and accelerated, so what we’re facing now is the consequences of 20 years of indoctrination, finding its way now into positions of authority and power. You know, the stuff with Disney was driven by employees. Sometimes, somebody goes to work at a company and a week later is joining an online pressure-the-boss campaign to divest of this and fire that and silence this person. That is what’s happening. 
 
“It’s not like we are setting the world on fire in this country in academic achievement, in math and science and technology and even the basics of history. That’s got to be the priority of our higher education system, and like I said earlier, you have limited time. You get these kids seven hours a day. Every hour you spend on some of this other stuff, which there is no consensus on, is an hour you’re not spending on these essentials that we’re already struggling with as a country. The countries we’re competing against aren’t spending any time on this stuff. To the extent they talk about it, they’re reinforcing values that are positive for the country, not divisive.”
 
On what a Republican administration needs to do:
 
“Eliminate from government, through regulatory executive order, all of these things Biden’s put in place that inject things that really have no place in government. The job of the federal government, primarily, is to keep America safe and then some additional responsibilities about regulating interstate commerce and the like….
 
“There is no such thing as racist roads. There is no such thing as some of this other stuff. At the end of the day, my view on some of those things is if you’re a man, a fully grown adult man who decides you want to live life as a woman, that’s your choice. It’s a free country. Here’s what you can’t do. You can’t make me pay for it. You can’t change the rules for everybody else. And you can’t mess with the kids. 
 
“I would go through those three things very quickly. The primary challenge, the number one thing, isn’t a bill. We need a strategy for how we are going to reorient our economy. As an example, there are things that make sense from a pure market standpoint. It is cheaper to buy things from China or make them over there. It is not in our national interest to depend on China for medicine, for rare earth minerals, God forbid, for agriculture one day. There are some adjustments we’re going to have to make to the orthodoxy of our economics, our culture, our society. 
 
“We in Congress can put ideas and talk about it, but really, it takes presidential leadership to say this is the goal of our country that we need to rally and unite around. Then every policy that you make, you tie it to that and explain why it works towards achieving that goal. To me, that’s what the next president has to do. 
 
“If the next president of the United States is not committed to getting this right in terms of reorienting our country for the new world we live in, then the 21st century is not going to be an American century. The 21st century is going to be the story of the decline of a once-great power at the expense of a new great power that happens to be a communist Marxist dictatorship. That would be a very sad chapter in human history if that were the case.”
 
On the importance of being a dad:
 
“It’s the most important thing that you’ll ever do in your life. It may not seem that way when they’re three weeks old, and all they need is to be fed and have a diaper change, but I’m telling you, it starts on day one, and it is the most influential job you’ll ever have. I don’t care if you’re president of the United States. I don’t care if you’re commissioner of the National Football League. I don’t care if you’re a U.S. senator. Whatever job you’ll ever have, whatever career you’re in, or however much money you make, the single most influential role you will ever play is the role of a father. 
 
“For better and for worse, fathers can do great things, and fathers can do great damage, too. For a daughter, the example of what a man is or shouldn’t be is her dad. For a son, the example of what a husband is or shouldn’t be is his dad. Now, you can do everything right as a dad, and things may still not turn out, because that’s the nature of life. It’s unfortunate. Humans are complex. 
 
“But you give your kids the best chance to succeed by being a father. This is a statistical reality that cannot be disputed. Kids have the best chance to succeed when they have two parents that are committed to their upbringing. Fathers are a critical component of that, and that is a role that fathers should never surrender. Not to your wife, not to society, not to your teachers, and most certainly not to television or TikTok or Instagram. You cannot surrender that. You’ve got to be engaged and active. It’s the most important job you’ll ever have.”