Thursday, April 3, 2014
Devoted: The Story of a Father's Love for His Son by Dick Hoyt
If you seriously struggle with feelings of inadequacy, I recommend NOT reading this book. There were times while reading this book when I really thought I needed to step up my parenting game, especially when it comes to Samantha. But overall, I was just truly, incredibly inspired.
Devoted. The perfect title for this book. Since the beginning, Dick has been just that...devoted...to his son. Rick Hoyt was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Back then, children with disabilities were hidden, put into homes and institutions. Parents were encouraged to do so. But Judy and Dick Hoyt were not going to do that for their son. No. They were devoted to raising him just as they would any child. They fought for Rick. They helped him achieve all he wanted. They helped others realize that disabilities are necessarily limiting...that we can all have the chance to accomplish the same thing...just differently perhaps. Their motto: Yes You Can. For Rick, this meant, yes he can graduate from high school. Yes he can graduate from college with a degree. Yes he can run in races. Yes he can conquer Ironmans! Yes he can be an athlete...and anything else he darn well pleases.
I couldn't help but think of Samantha as I read. What does she want to do that I can help her with? What are her desires? What does she feel like her body holds her back from? If she had all the freedom in the world, what would she do...and how can I help her experience that now? I don't know these answers, and I may never know them in this lifetime (believe me, I have a list of conversations for us to have one day!). And that's ok. What I do hope she knows is that I love her and am devoted to her...that I want everything for her because there's no one on this Earth that loves her more (ok...her dad may love her equally...but not MORE than me).
I also really want Sammy to understand what a blessing she is to me. I tell her this often. But, I want her to really understand it. It's so easy to see how Dick is a blessing for his son...how he is able to use all his abilities to help his son experience, first hand, competition. It brings so much joy to Rick. And he wouldn't have that without his father. That's a beautiful gift. It's the obvious blessing that we read about. But then, if one steps back, hopefully we see that Rick has been an amazing gift to his father. It's because of him that his father's life has changed for the better...that he's healthier, stronger, has an amazing relationship with his son, and has had the opportunity to reach out and help so many other families. In the book, Dick tries to explain his gratitude for his son...but, honestly, the words don't truly convey what I think he tries to express. And I think I know that because I often find my words falling short when I try to express how much gratitude I have for Sammy. It's just a beautiful story.
Read the book. It's inspiring the obstacles they hurdled over. But, if you think you won't read the book, watch the video below. It's pretty incredible what a little love and devotion has the power to do.