Great Dad Tip: A Moving and Troubling Story

Last week, I posted a Great Dad Tip of the Week regarding spending more time with our children. In that email, I argued that children spell LOVE as T-I-M-E.

One of the men who recived that email wrote back to me and gave me permission to share this story. The man is a high school creative writing teacher. He shared this.

Juan is a sixteen year-old 11th grade student of mine at my school. He is the star of all three of the major sports teams, Homecoming King, sings in the choir. I’ve heard other teachers call him “the Mexican Keanu Reeves.” However, in my class, he sits with an agitated blankness on his face. The only thing he says when I call on him is “I hate writing, Mr. Johnson, call on someone else.”  

But today, he popped up and shared something that stopped me alive in my tracks. He is in my remedial class of mostly kids who have yet to pass the state standardized exams afar several attempts. Today, I was teaching about concrete detail in our writing. I showed them a diagram and asked for a volunteer to come up on the board and do one on their own. I gave them the word “love.” So, my volunteer would start with the abstract idea of love and progress through the diagram down four levels to end with a concrete detail. This is what Juan wrote on the board:



My Mom


My mom has dinner with me every night and comes to all my games ad events.


When I walk up to the plate, nervous, I see my mom in the stands, I see her rooting for me and I know she loves me for real, unlike my dad, who never shows up for anything.

He wrote all that up there and then went and sat down. It was everything I could do to not give him a hug.  

What a powerful story that really hits home with me.

To read more from Keith, take a look at his book:

Large Book with Outline



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