Off-Ramp for June 14, 2008

When jet-setting reporter Charlie Le Duff became a stay-at-home-dad

Mercer 7429

John Rabe

The New York Times' Charlie LeDuff, contemplating America's haves, have-nots, and used-to-haves.

A few years ago, when his daughter was born, Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter Charlie LeDuff gave up his jet-set life to become a stay-at-home dad. He wrote:

"I find myself staring into the rearview mirror of my career. There was that time in Iraq when I wandered into a city hall that had been taken over by a radical cleric and his followers. It was Good Friday, and in the spirit of brotherhood we prayed together. By the end, the holy man's supporters were chanting with thumbs raised high: "Charlie good! Charlie good!" In some way I was an ambassador—not of the U.S. government, certainly, but at least to the notion that Americans are a decent, brotherly lot."

Being at home, changing diapers, exchanging emails with his former colleagues who are still covering the exciting stories, hit Charlie hard. But he got advice from a man named Jose:

"Jose articulated the thing my friends — the go-to-work dads — were not able, or not willing, to tell me: You have to decide if the child is more important than the stature, the action, the money. If she is, you must accept it and get on with the routine."

LeDuff is now a muckraking reporter at WJBK-Channel 2 in Detroit.


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