A few years ago my wife’s extended family gathered to swim at a local fitness center. All of the cousins had a good time reconnecting. As I saw my children laugh and play I was reminded how wonderful it is to have a family. My cup was overflowing.

The day had reached its end and we were waiting for the girls to exit the changing room. I was talking to my brother-in-law about work things when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed little Wyatt dart past me. I turned my head only to discover Mitch being supported by his younger brother who wanted to keep him safe from harm. I could hear Wyatt say to Mitch, “It’s okay, you can do it!” 

Mitchell’s arms and legs were weak … his footing unsure … but he was determined to try something new. And Wyatt, ever a faithful friend, jumped in and did what he could to bear him up. He gave no thought to his own safety – he only knew his older brother needed help and came rushing to his aid. 

When I saw this spontaneous act of love and service I felt a lump in my throat begin to swell. I was captivated by what I saw and my heart was awash with gratitude, admiration and deep love for these little people who lived large. 

If ever there were a symbol of how to live and love, this is it. 

I will always strive to follow my children’s example and be willing to jump in. Like my youngest son Wyatt, I will look for opportunities to serve others and offer love and encouragement. And like my broken son, I will strive to be as brave as him … to look past my weakness and limitations and reach higher.

I don’t know what hardships the future holds – I only know the direction I must climb. And like my son whose arms and legs were weak and footing unsure, I will keep reaching upward. And perhaps at some point when I’m scared, or sad, or tempted to retreat, I will hear my son whisper from that place beyond the hills “it’s okay dad, you can do it.”