Today I Taught Grown Men An Empathy Lesson After Judging Me For Carrying My 6-Year-Old

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“We are all guilty of it. We are scrolling through Facebook and see 12 kids trapped in a cave, a family that was in an accident and lost a loved one, and a family member diagnosed with cancer.

You stop and read the story. You feel bad and wonder what it would be like to be in that family. Then you scroll on and read the latest meme or watch a funny video and you forget about that family that is lost and doesn’t know how to move on.

This post doesn’t come looking for pity for Emma or my family. What I am asking is for a change in today’s world… a change in the way we think.

The world is what we as people make it. We have the power to make days better or worse for others. I choose to attempt to make lives better.

Today, I am going to do this by telling you a story. A story that I have only shared with my wife and my daughter Emma, who was with me. The same daughter was told earlier today that she will soon start her 7th, yes 7th round of chemotherapy for a brain tumor, she is only 6 by the way.

My daughter and I were leaving dinner the other night at Union Oyster House in Boston, MA. A dinner donated to us by an amazing business and friend that has been in our ‘family’ for years.

When I crossed the street carrying her – she can’t walk without the use of her walker – a man yelled at me from 30 feet away: ‘What the F–k?’ He yelled. ‘Make her walk. That’s what is wrong with kids today.’

I had a choice to make at that time. Can I make myself feel better by screaming at him or can I teach him something about life? I won’t lie to you and tell you that it was an easy choice, but I got inches from his face, with my daughter in my arms, and quietly asked him if he was referring to my daughter. ‘Hell yes,’ he said.

I responded with, ‘My daughter has been carrying my faith and my strength for the past 5 years since she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She can’t walk, but I am happy to carry her because of all the amazing things she has taught me through the years. So I would advise you not to address my daughter in any way other than respectfully.’

I won’t tell you the rest of the story but it ended with two grown men with tears rolling down their faces. One that needed to have his eyes opened to what real life and real love are, and one that is always needing a reminder that good can come from any situation.

This story is only important if it serves as a reminder that you don’t always know the whole story, so don’t judge others.

You have the power to make people’s days better or worse. What did you do today?? What will you do tomorrow??

I promise you this through hell and high water Emma has made each and every day of my life a blessing. I praise God for bringing her into my life. Emma, you are perfect just as you are and we will help carry you through chemo #7.”

Mom and dad sit with their daughter at a Boston Red Sox game
Courtesy of Brent Gehring

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brent Gehring of EmmaStrong. You can follow their journey on Facebook. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

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