When this particular father got a call saying that his elementary school-aged daughter had an accident during the school day, he knew that he had to think fast and figure out a way to help her get over the embarrassing moment.
Eventful Day At School
At the end of what had been an embarrassing school day for one little girl, she waited in the classroom, her backpack placed carefully on her lap. Meanwhile, her dad was walking through the halls as students and teachers looked at him, did a double-take, then laughed, giggled, or chatted among themselves in hushed voices. He made his way to his daughter’s classroom.
Back when Ben Sowards was a child, he had trouble paying attention in school. He knew he was supposed to sit still with his eyes on the chalkboard, but many of the subjects they studied during school simply didn’t interest him. Instead, his head was always in the clouds – literally. He’d imagine dragons soaring through the sky or mythical creatures roaming beautiful forests.
Doing His Best
Ben was not a bad child and he knew he was supposed to do his best in school. He tried to diligently take notes in an effort to make his mind stay focused, but sometimes as he was writing he’d find himself doodling or his pencil wandering off of the paper. Times tables, spelling, history, he did his best but couldn’t seem to stay focused.
Teachers aren’t dumb, and they can tell if a student is truly engaged in what is being taught or if they’re just kind of zoning out. Ben would try to stay prepared because he knew that certain teachers would call on him out of surprise to see if they could catch him daydreaming. On one particular day, the teacher started to make her way around the classroom and found herself standing over Ben’s desk, looking at Ben’s paper.
Teacher Sees All
Ben didn’t realize until it was far too late that he had been caught goofing off in class. While he was supposed to be taking notes, he was doing something else entirely. He was startled to find the teacher standing right over him, and he tried to cover what he had been doing, but the teacher gently reached over and pulled his notebook away, looking at it.
Though Ben wasn’t an ace student, he clearly had artistic ability well beyond his years. She was impressed, even as she reminded him that he needed to pay attention to what she was teaching. His parents wouldn’t have been surprised, as little Ben had protested against preschool, wanting to stay home and draw instead. “They put me in preschool, but I couldn’t deal with the macaroni and beans and yarn and glue and things,” Ben said.
Somehow He Made It
Although many of Ben’s teachers probably expected him to drop out of high school, he was determined enough that he worked hard and finished. He knew he had to clear that first hurdle to pursue his passion. He went on to the Laguna College of Art and Design, then Brigham Young University. He eventually gained international attention for his skills as an artist. But art isn’t the only thing Ben’s good at.
Love At Last
When Ben got older, he found love with a young woman named Connie. It was her that he confided in, saying he’d love to be a teacher. Also, he always had wanted a large family, despite both of them being very dedicated in their career pursuits, with Connie serving as the executive director of the Family Support Center nearby. Sure enough, the future would provide plenty of blessings and challenges to the young couple.
Helping Students Improve
Ben and Connie continued to grow their family even as Ben continued to pursue a career in teaching. He became the director of Southern Utah University’s illustration program in 2001, where he got to teach eager students about everything from digital art to traditional painting techniques. He really enjoyed helping students reach their full potential.
Back in the present day, and Ben received a call from his wife, Connie. She said that the school had contacted her to let her know that their 6-year-old daughter, Valerie had a bathroom accident and needed to be picked up. Ben was getting ready to go pick up Valerie when Lucinda, the couple’s oldest daughter, came downstairs and saw a curious stain on Ben’s pants, as if he had spilled water on himself. But why?
Ben’s Big Plan
Ben knew his daughter Valerie very well, and he explained to Lucinda that he knew if he could make Valerie laugh, she would get over the embarrassment and stress of her bathroom accident. Sure enough, when he went to the school and met Valerie in the principal’s office, he stage whispered, “Hey, can I borrow your bag to hide something?” He then gestured at the stain, and Valerie cracked up laughing as planned.
Sense Of Relief
Sure enough, Ben’s plan had worked and he had been able to help Valerie relax with a bit of laughter. “Once she saw my pants, I got that look from her where I knew everything was OK,” Ben said. “All dads know what look I’m talking about.” Lucinda waited outside and snapped some photos when the pair emerged from the school so she could show her mother. She never realized how much attention her dad’s quick thinking would get.
Sharing With The World
Ben had no idea that Lucinda was going to share the photos not only with her mom, but also with the world. Lucinda was so proud of how her dad had responded to her little sister’s mishap that she decided to post the photos and story of what had happened on Twitter. Her friends thought it was a cute story, but when she went to bed she didn’t think much of it. When she woke up, she was shocked at what she found.
Ben Goes Viral
Lucinda woke up to thousands of Twitter notifications and was amazed to see that the story of her dad’s Billy Madison-esque plan had gone viral. Her post had received over 250,000 likes and over 60,000 retweets, in fact. She showed her father and he was amazed, too. He truly felt that he was just doing what any father would have done, after all.
What A Family
Ben loved having a big family, and he and Connie had an astonishing seven children of their own. Not long after the story of Valerie’s embarrassing day went viral, Ben and Connie decided to adopt four more children, bringing their total to an incredible eleven. The pair have truly found their calling in life and enjoy being the parents of nearly a dozen happy kids.