It is normal to feel embarrassed when we have an accident while growing up. But one dad in Utah doesn’t think this way and found a creative way to comfort his 6-year-old who had an accident in school.
One day in April 2017, Ben Sowards learned from his wife, Connie, that their 6-year-old daughter, Valerie, had wet her pants at school. Valerie was crying and wanted to go home. “My heart kind of just broke,” Sowards told BuzzFeed News.
Before picking her up, he decided to splash some water on the front of his own pants to make her feel less embarrassed.
“I walked into the school … I walked up next to Valerie, who was sitting, looking down at the floor, and I put my arm around her and I said, ‘Valerie, can I have your backpack? I need to cover up this accident,’” Sowards told TODAY. “And she just looked at me with the perfect look—just disbelief—and we started laughing.”
Sowards’s eldest daughter, 17-year-old Lucinda, later uploaded photos of his wet pants to Twitter. The tweet soon went viral with many social media users praising the loving father for his idea. Sowards said he was “very humbled at all the positive responses,” and says “he knows a lot of parents out there would do the same thing,” Lucinda told Scary Mommy.
“She just looked at him … just in awe,” Lucinda recalled Valerie’s reactions to ABC 10. “He pretended like they were sneaking out of the school together, like they were both getting away with something.”
“My dad has always had a great sense of humor and he’s always taught me to use humor to handle life’s challenges,” she told PEOPLE. “When I was in the 8th grade, I fell while I was ice skating and hurt my face pretty bad. My dad, knowing that I was worried, painted a black eye on himself to make me laugh. So it was just like him to make it look like he’d wet his pants for my little sister.”
“With parenting, a lot of what you do is based on instinct,” Sowards explained of his actions. “It was a gut reaction. I wanted to demonstrate in a clear way that I love my child and it didn’t matter to me that she’d peed her pants. I knew that ‘wetting’ my own pants would cheer her up and help her to handle the embarrassment.”
Sowards, who has 11 children, with four being recently adopted from foster care, added that there is a reason for his approach to parenting.
“Kids are going to get teased no matter what but if they’re prepared for that with a little self confidence and have assurance that they are loved, they can weather that teasing. I want my children to be equipped to laugh at life. And if I can do that by splashing water all over the front of my pants, why not? It turned a sad moment for my daughter into a happy one,” he said.
What a great and creative way to help his daughter overcome a little “oopsie” moment. They’ll probably all look back on the memory one day with fondness.