It Makes a Dad Proud

In Family, Giving Back, Inspiration and Motivation, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on January 24, 2010 at 9:16 am

The past ten months have been a time of tremendous transition for my family, in particular, my son.  At the age of six, he started learning some pretty difficult life lessons.  It started last March with the loss of his great grandmother (Bubby).  Two weeks after his great grandmother passed away, he was dealt another crushing blow.  Our dog (who had been with him his whole life) had gotten so sick that we were going to have to put him to sleep.  This was also around the time that we told him that we were going to be moving to Texas, which meant leaving the only place that he has ever called “home.”

We made the decision to move to Texas to give my kids a better life.  Even though my son is (and always has been) wise beyond his years, the concept of a better life was difficult to comprehend, especially considering that it meant giving up his home, his school, his friends and proximity to most of his family.  While the transition hasn’t been easy on any of us (with the exception of my 3-yr old daughter), it was most difficult on my son.   Needless to say, my wife and I both worried about how my son would handle the move – particularly the change in schools.

When we met my son’s teacher early in the year, she gave us a glowing report, and told us that he seemed to be adjusting very well, not just academically, but socially as well.  Like his pre-school, kindergarten and first grade teachers, his current teacher told us that she wished that she had a classroom full of kids like him.  This is not to say that he is perfect, or that I am some starry-eyed parent who only sees his children through rose-colored glasses.  It just so happens that my son, who has excelled in school with nearly perfect grades, saves all of his not-so-perfect moments for us at home.

I am very proud of the fact that my son’s behavior in school is beyond reproach.  I imagine that it has something to do with his maturity level, which he displayed to me last week at the trophy presentation for his football team.  At the end of the team lunch where the trophies were presented, my son’s coach gave a brief speech.  In his speech he told the team that playing football is costly for parents, and that it is something that we all work hard to pay for.  He then asked the team to give the parents a round of applause to show their appreciation for us.  Most kids clapped politely.  My son, who has been learning the value of money, stood up and gave me a big “thank you” hug as tears welled up in his eyes.  He may not be one of the all-stars on the field, but off the field, no kid on the team is in the same league as far as I’m concerned.

Respect for teachers and parental appreciation are great qualities that my son possesses.  But perhaps the moment that has made me most proud recently is my son’s generosity towards others.  If you’ve been reading my blog, you are already aware that my friend Trish recently lost her daughter to a rare metabolic disorder.  Unfortunately, Trish’s son, Mikey, suffers from the same disorder.  My son has gotten to know Trish’s children through the videos and pictures on Facebook, and by asking me questions about both of them.

Olivia Grace Armand passed away two weeks before Christmas.  Although it was only a small gesture, I wanted to get Mikey a gift.  I decided on a NY Jets blanket since Trish is a big fan of the team.  My son saw the blanket on the computer screen and asked me what it was for.  When I told him what I was doing, he told me that he wanted to pay for it with his own money.  I told him that it wasn’t necessary, but he insisted.  After a bit of negotiating, we agreed to split the cost, but that he would pay the extra penny.  During checkout, there was an opportunity to donate a dollar to a military charity.  Without hesitation, my son asked me to make the donation and to allow him to pay for it.  Once the order was complete, I asked him if he wanted to make a card for Mikey to go with the gift.  He immediately sat down and made a card with a NY Jets theme.

For a 7-yr old kid, my son is acutely aware of things that are going on in our lives, due in part to his penchant for eavesdropping on conversations that I have with my wife.  He knows that I am a part of the Olivia Grace Armand Foundation that was started recently.  When he found out what the foundation was all about, he went running into his room to donate his own money because he wanted to help.  I told him that I’ll find a way for him to contribute without having to spend the money that he’s been saving.  I also let him know that he can make a bigger difference by helping to raise money than he could by just donating some of his own.

It was just decided that the Olivia Grace Armand Foundation will be raising money by selling bracelets featuring the foundation’s website on it.  When I asked my son if he wanted to sell the bracelets to help raise money, his eyes opened wide, he smiled and gave a very enthusiastic “YES!”

I have certainly made my fair share of mistakes in life that I would like to go back and fix.  But it is easy to leave those mistakes in the past when I think about how lucky I am to have a caring, generous son who is willing to go the extra mile to help others…it makes a dad proud!

  1. This one left me in tears. Thanks for sharing!! Your son is going to do great things over the next 90 years!! 😀 (let him know he’s got my vote, but I think he’s better than politics).

  2. Adam…sounds like you are doing a wonderful job! You should be proud for sure! 🙂

  3. Your son is amazing!!! Everyone should have a child like him 🙂

  4. You are your wife are doing a great job. Teaching him and letting him eaves drop is the best thing. They have to understand that money does not grow on trees. When Kristen was applying to colleges she was accepted everywhere, she received a $16,000 scholarship to Case Western, balance would have been over 35,000 per year. Buffalo offered her just short of a full ride (we pay half room) she went to her room and returned with her decision. Going to Case which was her first choice would have equated to over $140,000 in loans not counting going on for her masters, or going to Buffalo and coming out with $20,000 in loads, She figured she could buy a house with what she would save, so she made the right decision and went to UB. And on THursday she was accepted in to the Nursing program, so her dream is going to come true.

  5. Hey Adam… I definitely believe that children like your son are a direct reflection on their parents and upbringing. Kudos!

  6. You and Karen are great parents and u shuld be very proud of your son.. When I first met him, I was very happy with the choice that my child picked as a friend, I knew he was a polite and respectful child,and as a parent you are happy to see ur child making good choices. Sadly you moved…my son loved him as well as I did and If you guys were still here I know they would be closer than ever….He is a great kid and hopefully pat came come close to a friendship like that again…… he has alot of nice friends,but your son was his PERFECT match.

  7. Adam it sounds like you’ve done well by your son. What a sweet boy you have!

  8. We are so proud of our grandson and I now have tears rolling down but please don’t mention that.

    love Grandma & Grandpa (and that is why we’re visiting)

  9. I just read this post (little slow these days)…I am in tears.

    I know you told me he wanted to help…but see it on “paper”…just has such an impact.

    Please give him a big hug from us and tell him that every night, Mikey and I “woo woo” (Olivia’s term for cuddling) in the Jets blanket before he goes to bed.

    Much love…

  10. Adam,
    As a converted Texan also, (as I live in Houston), I just wanted to welcome ya’ll with open arms. Your son is living proof how resilient and wonderful children can be IF led by the right parents; obviously you and your wife have done that soooooooo right. I have been following Cookie’s journey and am thrilled you are on the Board. I know how much Trish values your friendship and how special your son is to her. Your son is such a major player in this organization, thanks to your guidance. What a super special son you have! Muah!
    May he continue to bring you happiness and amazement. Mazel Tov!

  11. First, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree(s). Second, pass the tissue box!

  12. Adam, what a wonderful snapshot into who your son is. I look forward to hearing more great things as he grows older. Give him an extra hug from us – not just to help him with the transition, but just because he deserves it. What an incredible kid!

  13. Hey Adam…Bottom line is that your son is so lucky to have parents that have put him first and he is now able to do the same by having empathy…. your a good man raising a good son…… cheers to you

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