I had a pretty emotional day yesterday.
I spent the whole day with Nichole and the girls manning the sunscreen booth at the Summer Special Olympics.
I remember when I was 12 and 13 years old. I was interested in basketball, girls and doing anything other than what my parents wanted me to do.
Until yesterday, I thought that was normal and that I should expect that with my own kids when they hit that age.
Then I was lucky enough to see something amazing.
All day I talked with and watched these amazing athletes as they celebrated their wonderful abilities. Their families and friends were there to participate and cheer them on.
What struck me the most, though, were the youth who were there as partners and volunteers. Here you have kids who could be out playing with their friends, going to summer camp, watching TV or playing video games at home.
But they’re not.
They are spending their time doing something much more important.
Now, the cynics will say these youth are volunteering to pad their resume, or because their parents made them, or because the like the attention.
I say these kids aren’t selfish little jerks like I was when I was their age. I say they care about their friends with special needs and recognize that there’s more to life than goofing off and doing whatever they want.
I say they get a special “high” off of seeing the joy and excitement when a special needs athlete is celebrated and recognized because of their abilities instead of their disabilities.
I don’t have a special needs child. I have the utmost respect for those parents who do.
I have an equal amount of respect for parents who have taught their kids to give instead of take; to love and sacrifice; to think of others instead of themselves.
I want to be like you.
While I recognize the need for me to give more of my time, what I really need to do is teach my children about loving those who are different, giving to those who need, and thinking about others instead of themselves.
Seems like a problem for Super Dad! I guess I’ll give it a whirl.