When we dream, we often dream of a victory, of an accomplishment, of reaching our wildest hopes and aspirations.
But no one dreams of coming up injured in the biggest race of your life.
That’s what happened to Derek Redmond in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. The British runner led the 400-meter finals midway through, but then his dream shattered when his hamstring cruelly snapped.
He immediately grabbed the back of his leg and went down on one knee. Medics rushed to his aide, but he shrugged them off.
He hobbled onto his one good leg and struggled forward to finish the race. That’s when his dad ran onto the track and told his son, “I’m here, son. We’ll finish together.”
With a father supporting his injured son, the two men crossed the finish line and fell into each other’s arms, tears flowing. The elder Redmond later said, “I'm the proudest father alive. I’m prouder of him than I would have been if he had won the gold medal.”
With the Olympics in full swing and medal counting underway, we love this story for its heart and soul, for the love between a parent and child, for the courageous human act of trying, for the humble pride of finishing even when victory is out of reach.
We all want our kids to succeed and reach their life goals, big and small. But we also want our kids to trust the journey, and recognize that our human spirit can carry us to beautiful yet unexpected places.
As Derek Redmond’s experience shows us, life’s hardships sometimes pop up when we least want them to. But in the midst of those hardships, if we can find the spirit to persevere like the Redmonds, then we will have attained something beautiful and worth celebrating.
We will have attained an expression of love in its purest form.
And so, we hope that our kids measure their self-worth by effort, dedication, and love, not just by results. We hope that they are grateful for the successes in their lives and strong enough to overcome the disappointments.
And we hope that, when they need us, we’ll be there to help pick them up and walk across the finish line together.