Community effort

Yesterday as I was working from home building the program of the kids camp that I am running this summer, when I got the news of another school shooting. This is becoming too normal, and too often, but how can we help? what kids really need nowadays?


I have coached and worked with kids on and off for awhile. I thought many kids how to swim, bike and run. Now, I am working with after school program and I got to experience many different things in short period of time.

I am not in a position to judge parenting, and I will never be. However, I notice a three important things:

  1. Help and attention! Kids are screaming for help and attention. Sounds crazy, because  we thing kids have everything. I mean things that were really hard to get back then now became so easy, but they are still screaming for help. So we are definitely missing something here.
  2. Food! This for me was the most impressive things that I ever seen in my life. After kids have their typical snack or school lunch (loaded with sugar and chemicals) their behavior gets at least 90% worst. It’s a reality and is out of control.
  3. Trust! Kids are starting to not trust adults anymore.  Can we blame them when we are destroying the environment around us? I don’t think so.

When I became a father I learned 2 things super quick. The #1 was when my son was born and he was in respiratory distress. I came to him and said, “Daddy is here” and he grabbed my finger. That moment he knew that he could trust us, he knew we were there for him. Think about it, this was his first thing he saw in this world, and I believe that was the moment he realized “I am not alone”. You can see how important it is to a kid to trust an adult.

The second part is acceptance. When we were pregnant people were telling us that he would be a great triathlete because of that fact my wife and I were good athletes. Our answer was always the same: He is going to be whatever the hell he wants. I am glad that we always thought that way, because Luke was born with a rare muscle condition called nemaline myopathy. So, thinking this way made a lot easier to accept his physical challenge. And if I am pretty honest here, hearing the diagnose was not that hard, because the minute I decided to become a father I automatically accepted him the way he is. Like I heard the other day, to be a father is to be responsible for a life that you have no control of it. This is so true, because I have no control on who he is, I can only accept him with love and provide him with all the necessary tools to overcome his life challenges. Please download the kids book I wrote for me son here. It’s FREE!

I do not have a solution for this obviously, but I can say one thing: Getting out of this mess it will require a community effort. I mean, we are our environment, and the change must come from within, from how we see things. For example, start accepting our differences can be a great place to start.

One thing I do often with my son is talk to him. Luke is not even 3 years old and due to his muscle weakness he does not talk yet, however, I explain him everything. I mean every surgery, every procedure, everything that he had to go thru I talked and explained to him, and guess what? It worked, every time I explained to him what was going on he was way calmer.

Now, we are what we eat. Honestly, sound cliche but we are, and what we feed kids make a HUGE difference. I see it every single day. Don’t believe me? Go work in the school the week before valentines day and the week after and compare. Keep in mind that the week before they are still eating lots of sugar and chemicals, but on valentines week the amount is increased tremendous. The behavior during the valentines week is completely insane. So, changing our dietary habits to real food is critical. Please take some time to watch the documentary called Magic Pill. 

Just to finish my food for thought, I grew up Rio de Janeiro Brazil, which you may know is not the safest place in the world. In fact, I had a gun pointed to my head for over 2 hours at one time. However, when I was in my school I never worried about someone coming in and shooting us, especially a classmate. I few weeks ago, 20 years after I graduated from high school, I am preparing my son to go to PRE SCHOOL, I repeat PRE SCHOOL, and they told me at that they already  do drills to protect from shooting. I must say, this is not the world I imagine be living at 38 years old. This is not normal and is up to us to change something. Government and new policies might help but the change must come from within….

With Gratitude,

Richard Wygand – A Dad on a mission!

Ps: Feel free to join me on my fatherhood rocks podcast and share your story. Click Here.

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