One of My Proudest Dad Moments

It is no secret that I love my children and I am immensely proud of who they are growing up to be. I am proud that they are really into musical theatre to the point Everett will be in a major production next January. I am proud with how they are developing as celloist. I am proud of their active imaginations. I am proud Everett has been doing NaNoWriMo alongside with me for the last four years. I am proud with my kids' major achievements in school.

But none of those compare to the pure joy and instant 'tear-in-my-eyes' pride that I experienced recently, and despite being a very flawed dad, there is clearly one crucial value that my children have grasped firmly to their hearts.

In a recent discussion with the school principal, she mentioned how much she has loved getting to know Everett. She then mentioned that she was immensely proud that she observed that there was a boy who was new to the school that had been playing by himself the first few days of school, and it was Everett who left his friends and invited the boy to play with them. She had noticed Everett has gone out his way to make that boy feel welcomed and he has also included a few other new kids in activities as well.

I am getting teary eyed again typing about this massive act of kindness. The comment also struck my heart, because it was the third time that I had heard it. Everett's teacher also mentioned that he would invite the new kids to play games with his friends. Everett's French teacher mentioned that there was a new boy who was struggling with the subject, and Everett had taken the time to help him out.

Danika has been ball of friendliness and kindness her entire life, and that has spread to her time at school. Danika thrives on social interactions. She becomes best friends with everyone she meets. But I have been told a few stories from her teachers that have made me equally proud. There was a girl that was very shy, and had been in online schooling for over a year, and was nervous about coming back. Danika held her hand, and told she was there for her. Apparently, Danika has been crucial in helping this girl feel comfortable and invited at school. I have heard similar stories about Danika with other kids too, she is quick to support new and shy kids.

I am proud of the kindness and warmth of Danika, and how much she easily spreads love and compassion through her day. I also know this is natural for her, and being kind to others is a great habit. But the acts of Everett really warmed my soul because he is introverted compared to Danika's extreme extroversion. It likely has taken him more energy and effort to reach out to kids that he didn't know, but wanted to make them feel included.

The last few years have been an emotional beatdown. Many social media platforms seem plagued with toxicity and negativity. There are flow of posts about people talking about their rights and what they deserve while attacking anyone who they feel are threatening them. It seems arguing and insulting has become the new discourse. Politicians and other public figures who are selfish, mean-spirited, cruel, and petty are being celebrated. Kindness, compassion, empathy, and love are getting pushed away and thought of as a weakness.

But kindness, compassion, empathy, and love are the traits of the brave and courageous. They are the traits of the heroes. They are the traits that are necessary to make this world a better place. They are traits that must be front and centre in society,

I am so overwhelmingly proud that my kids are brave and courageous enough to lean towards those traits. That they have demonstrated them so often that teachers need to point them out to me. I am so humbled that I get to be the father of kids that understand what is necessary in this world.

This is my reminder to be better. To be kinder. To be more empathetic. To be more compassionate. I want to do my part to be brave and courageous enough to spread more love in this world.

I am proud of Danika and Everett, and I am grateful their actions force me to strive to be better.