5 Minute Interview: Caleb Gardner
Alvin: Who are you, what do you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?
Caleb: By day, I’m a strategist at Edelman Digital, which basically means that I get to help companies think big picture about their social media efforts, and how to have meaningful conversations with people online. I can honestly say that I love it. It affords me the opportunity to work alongside some of the smartest people in the industry.
By night, I wear many hats. I like to say that I’m an amateur father, husband, musician, photographer, designer, writer and blogger. I’m also the co-founder of a company called “Save The Cups”, which tries to make the world a little better, one paper coffee cup at a time.
Alvin: Pick any man in the world, who would be the most influential to you and why?
Caleb: This is probably a pretty nerdy answer, but I’ve always been a fan of Atticus Finch. I know it’s strange to find such inspiration from a fictional character, but when I read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school, I was instantly like, “That’s the kind of father I want to be.” I was attracted to his internal strength, and his generosity.
Alvin: What do you wish to accomplish 1 year from today?
Caleb: This year I’ve started on a long-term goal that I’ve had, and that’s to start boxing. There’s something romantic and tough about it, and I guess its part of a continual quest for self-exploration. I want to know what I’m made of, and boxing is a (big) step along that path.
Alvin: So far, what has been your greatest experience with being a dad?
Caleb: When my son was born, we naturally had several visitors to the hospital shortly after. I remember this moment, where one of my friends was very hesitant and timid around him, and I stepped in to show him how to hold my newborn son and take care of him. That was a defining moment in retrospect, because I thought, “OK. I can do this.”
Alvin: What has been your largest step to manhood?
Caleb: My senior year in high school, my parents and I disagreed with my next steps after graduation. I wanted to go to one college, and my parents wanted me to go to another, which was closer and less expensive. I knew that my choice was the right one for me, and I stood my ground. The fact that I was going at all was a big step, since I was the first in my family to go. I went, worked my way through, and I don’t regret it for a second. I met my wife there, and can’t imagine how my life would be different if I had conceded.
Alvin: What has been the best advice you received about being a man?
Caleb: I’ve always found inspiration in the poem “If-” by Rudyard Kipling. My favorite part is Kipling’s reference to the “unforgiving minute” – that moment in war when you have to cross the battlefield to meet the enemy. It’s the ultimate test of manhood. If, in the moment that makes cowards of many men, you can say that you stood your ground, “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, / and – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!”0