Examine Cal's meaning when he said "a balance must be struck between pressure and concern."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Cal's statement about finding the point of navigation "between pressure and concern" is reflective of how he is struggling to be a father to a lost son.  Cal struggles with how to best be there for Conrad.  There is no primer and no instructional manual for this aspect of parenthood, and as Guest indicates in the narrative, for parenthood in general:

It has only been a month.  All the other signs seem right.  Stay calm.  Keep it light.  Try not to lean.  A balance must be struck between pressure and concern.

Cal is struggling with how be best be there for Conrad.  He understands that he must care, but he must also embrace the supposed cliches of parenting such as "stay calm" and "keep it light."  For Cal, being able to speak of a "balance" might be worthwhile advice that he can recall in his mind, but it is a struggle to practice this with knowing that he cannot reach his son.  In striving to find the "balance" that "must be struck," one senses Cal's feeling of challenge in being both a father and an individual who must try to piece together the fragmented condition of his family.  The notion of "balance" becomes difficult, and the meaning of the statement is to help illuminate this condition.

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