Key Takeaways

  • We can learn much from watching our 8 year olds
  • Puerto Rico is an awesome country 🙂
  • I am so proud of my compatriot
  • Monica Puig from Puerto Rico won the first gold medal my little country has ever won.
  • Don’t let old age jade you into losing your sense of compassion.

“I feel bad for those guys working out in the heat”, “I feel bad for…”  Time and time again I hear my youngest say that phrase, almost every day.  His constant compassion reminds me how jaded life has made me.  Through life, we try to be compassionate, but as adults we get burned so many times that we become guarded.  It sometimes takes the innocence of an 8 year old to remind me how compassionate I was, and still can be.

His constant compassion reminds me how jaded life has made me. @getconnectdad Click To Tweet

We live in a society in which, “shake it off”, “don’t be a wuss” and “not my problem” have become a little bit too common. Empathy and compassion have been replaced with contempt and skepticism. I think this is case in which we can learn a lot more from our kids than what we can teach them.

This past Saturday the 13th Monica Puig from Puerto Rico won the first gold medal my little country has ever won. To say I was proud, excited and emotional is an understatement. I cried a lot.  I went to the gym, cried on the way, channel the emotion into lifting, cried on the way back and got home desperate to see the gold medal celebration. My Facebook feed was filled with friends and family sharing their pride and emotions. I walked in, found it on the laptop and set it up to watch on the TV.

I stopped the boys video games, and their friends scattered as I took over the TV.  My two boys stood by me as I hit play on the video. Monica Puig smiled as she took her spot on the gold medal podium, unlike any Puerto Rican had ever done. Then the Borinqueña started to play, and I lost it.  I sobbed. I cried from pride. I cried because I felt hope. I cried because a gold medal might be the unifying point for a disfranchised and broke country. I cried because a compatriot of mine made an old saying a reality.

I grew up hearing it, it was ingrained into my being and I live my life guided by it. “Si se puede”.  It means, “Yes you can”.  I have thought that to my boys ever since my oldest said he couldn’t’ do something and still remind them every day.   I even wrote it and taped it in their room, so it started to get burned into their consciousness, like it did with me. As I watched that video, with my hand on my chest, sobbing I saw the saying and the mantra become a reality.

That is when the most beautiful and amazing thing happened. My boys, who stood next to me with their hands on their chest as the Puerto Rico national anthem played, leaned into me. They hugged and held me as my lips quivered and I cried overwhelmed with the moment. Their compassion and love held their big strong dad when he was trying to keep it together and was miserably failing. They didn’t mock me, they didn’t say, “get over it” or “toughen up”. Instead they supported and loved me, allowing me to be human.

Maybe the world would be a much better place, if we all held on to that innocent and childish compassion, even when life tries to beat it out of us.

What is GetConnectDAD?

@GetConnectDAD is an international project focused on One goal:  More ConnectDAD families.   We are 150 writers from around the world, focused on 52 Traits we want in our children.

The GetConnectDAD team would like to challenge every parent to:

  • Devote 1 Extra Hour of Time each week to your kids (uninterrupted)
  • Read 1 story or have 1 story read to you by your child this week 
  • Take 1 Walk outside with your partner and kids
  • Take 1 moment to say “I love you” to your kids
  • Hug your kid(s) 1 time this week