Sometimes a story involving a heroic, devoted dad can help motivate all of us in our own situations and challenges. This isn’t a new story, but it’s one worth telling again and again …
Patrick Hughes was born blind and with physical restrictions that keep him in a wheelchair. Can you imagine how his father must have felt? Patrick Senior often wondered, “Why us? Why us?”
But little Patrick had other gifts. Before his first birthday, he could repeat simple tunes on the piano. By his second birthday, he could play tunes after hearing them only once. Patrick’s passion and his talent grew, and he became an accomplished piano player, and learned trumpet as well.
Eventually Patrick enrolled at Louisville University. His father took a night shift so he could accompany his son to class, whispering to tell his son the written information he couldn’t read. In the music department, the band director had an idea: “Why don’t you join the marching band?”
At first it sounded ludicrous, but then this father’s heart stirred and he sprang into action:
“If [they think it will work] and Patrick wants to do it, then by golly I’ll give it my all as well.”
So they both began attending band practices—Patrick playing trumpet, dad pushing the wheelchair. This dad learned all the marching-band maneuvers while pushing a 165-pound young man in a heavy wheelchair, on grass, doing wheelies and spins and often sprinting to stay in formation.
Was it a sacrifice for this father? Sure, but here’s what he says: “[My son is] my hero…. A father couldn’t ask for anything more than the relationship I have with Patrick.” Watch the story as featured on ESPN:
It’s such an inspiring example of a father’s commitment, and each of us should be asking ourselves:
If this dad can do that, what can I do for my children? Can I give more of my time? Can I bypass extra work at the office or change my work schedule? Can I cut back on time spent golfing, watching Netflix, surfing the web or other activities to spend a few extra hours with them?
We probably aren’t being asked to work nights and then spend all day pushing someone around in a wheelchair. But this father doesn’t see it as a burden at all. As Patrick Hughes, Sr. commented,
“We still say, ‘Why us?’ But now it’s, ‘Why us? How did we get so lucky?’”
Of course, since graduating college, Patrick has gone on to achieve many more incredible feats through his music and inspiring message. Find out more.
How do you react to this story? What are you motivated to change so you can be a more involved dad? Join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Questions for Reflection & Discussion:
- What’s the most heroic or inspiring fathering story you’ve ever heard?
- What’s the biggest challenge or obstacle you face as a dad?
- How do you stay motivated to be involved and engaged with your children?
- What makes each of your children incredible? What amazing things have they accomplished? How have they overcome setbacks or barriers?
- What specific changes can you make so you can be a more involved, more encouraging, more supportive dad?
- What makes you feel the most “lucky” or blessed as a father?