The Men That Drive Me Places
Everyone who has ever lived has had a father (and a mother). There is not much that every human being can say they have in common with the whole species; this fact is one of them. Another fact of life is that none of our fathers were perfect. Like all things in life we must look to those who did it right in order to show us what we have, and who we should imitate. The greatness of our fathers portrays just how perfectly God protects and provides for us.
Father’s Day can remind us of many things, but these are remarks for an ordinary weekend (one week after Father’s Day). We can reminisce about the effects our fathers had and have on us, but most importantly it’s about spending time with our father. Whether they are still on this earth or not, this song by Ben Rector is a call for all children to pay heed to the ways their fathers served and sacrificed in the hidden ways of driving us places.
Howard is the main character of this powerful and beautifully written song about humility, sacrifice and fatherhood. He is the driver for the songwriter Ben Rector, so Howard literally does the driving for him. However, the song is about so much more than being behind the wheel and dropping off the rich and famous at their destinations. Fatherhood consists of a countless number of tasks and obligations. Howard shows us that the manner in which a dad does anything and everything to provide and look out for his children determines his destiny as a father figure.
The main focus of the song is this awareness that the songwriter has for who this driver is; between what Ben does for a living and how Howard makes his living. Rector doesn’t say that his job is meaningless or even that he hasn’t worked hard for it. Although, he does strongly portray that Howard’s job is one of being behind the scenes while he provides for others and for his own family. For some reason as human beings we instinctively decide to ignore the people who sacrifice for us. Most people he drives will never know his name or why he works so many hours or how he silently provides for those he loves.
Howard picks up Ben and drops him at the site of his concert. Everyone will obviously know and cheer for him when he is on stage, but no one will ever know about the man who sacrifices everything for his family by working tirelessly at “no-name” jobs. Great fathers don’t look for recognition; they work nights and grueling jobs through long hours in order to take their kids where they need to go in their lives.
Ben Rector wants to give him a voice and a name by writing a song about him. His chorus rings: “Why am I the only man who knows I’m half the man, of the men that drive me places?” He has a great career and loves his job and life. However, he knows that without Howard, and countless other people who have helped him along the way, he would never be on stage that night. He is convinced that great fathers bring the world to where it needs to be.
Let this song be a reminder that we never gain success without climbing the shoulders of those before us, like our fathers and parents, who often go unnoticed and unnamed. Maybe we can be like Ben: thank them and bring their sacrifices into the light. This way we can always pay homage to the men that drive us to where we are today and strive to become more like them in the process (even when it is not Father’s Day).
Thomas Griffin teaches Apologetics in the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island and lives with his wife. He received a master’s degree in theology from St. Joseph’s Seminary & College and is currently a master’s candidate in philosophy at Holy Apostles Seminary & College. He writes for several Catholic media outlets.
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