This is a guest post from my middle son Brad…

In today’s world, there’s a common narrative that paints teenagers as perpetually glued to their screens, often labeled as lazy or indifferent. Critics often reminisce about their own youth, lamenting that today’s teens don’t do things the way they used to. However, this perspective overlooks the incredible generosity and potential for goodness that teenagers possess when given the opportunity.

Take, for example, my 14-year-old daughter, Lyla. Like many teenagers, she loves her sleep and could easily snooze until dinner if given the chance. Yet, when presented with something meaningful, Lyla is up early and ready to make a difference.

My wife and I recently decided to organize a free soccer clinic for 3- and 4-year-old toddlers in our town of Maricopa. We recognized a need for more activities for this age group, and while it might sound like a chaotic endeavor, we were committed to making it work. Knowing how challenging it could be, we were thrilled when Lyla immediately offered to help run the sessions. Despite it being her summer break, she eagerly wakes up early every Friday to assist at the park, becoming a role model and a helper to the toddlers—and they absolutely adore her and her friends who have joined in as well

Lyla

Today, however, Lyla’s generosity and kindness reached new heights. One of the little girls attending our clinic had never stepped foot on the field, having been isolated from social gatherings her entire life. Each week, Lyla, along with others, patiently approached her, trying to make her feel comfortable. This morning, Lyla spotted the girl up on the hill and decided to start a conversation with her. In a matter of minutes, they were passing a soccer ball back and forth on the hill. Gradually, they moved closer to the field, and the once shy girl transformed into a chatterbox.

By the end of the session, this little girl was the last toddler to leave. As she approached her car, she told her dad she wanted to say goodbye to Lyla. She asked Lyla if she would be there next week. When Lyla confirmed she would, the girl gave her a high five, jumped up and down, and exclaimed, “Yes! I LOVE soccer!”

In reality, it wasn’t soccer she loved—it was the feeling of being noticed, valued, and special. Lyla’s kindness made this little girl feel seen and appreciated, which had a profound impact on her. As we drove home, with Lyla, her boyfriend Lee, and our toddler son Elek chatting in the backseat, I took a moment to highlight the power of kindness. Lyla didn’t just make that little girl’s morning; she made her entire week, giving her a sense of belonging and joy, and making her father immensely happy.

Lyla and Lee

This experience reinforces the idea that teenagers, when given the chance, can do extraordinary things. They possess an incredible capacity for kindness, empathy, and generosity. All they need is the opportunity to channel these qualities into actions that make a positive impact. Lyla’s involvement in our soccer clinic is a shining example of this, demonstrating that with the right support and opportunities, teenagers can indeed do good things and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

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  1. What a Great life lesson you allowed your Beautiful daughter to experience, Brad !! You were wise enough to “open the door” for her, and she “gobbled up” the chance, because of Wonderful lessons she’s been learning from You since she was little…. GREAT JOB DAD !! (And LYLA….) Tucking in early Happy Father’s Day wishes, to Both YOU ….and YOUR Wonderful DAD !!

    1. Thank you, Bette. We can just provide the foundation and let them do it better than we did before… and it’s worth recognizing special when it’s right in front of us.

  2. It looks to me like Brad has some potential with writing, and Lyla has some of grandpa’s traits. I sure enjoyed reading this article.

  3. I teared up writing this, proofreading it, and now reading it again several hours later. Sometimes I think we overlook some pretty awesome stuff in our worlds because we are distracted.

    1. At one point you write, “Lyla didn’t just make this little girl’s morning; she made her week.” As I read the story, it absolutely made my day.