Tag Archives: Parents

“If At First You Don’t Succeed…”

* AUTHOR’S NOTE: Regarding this post (as with all my posts discussing strangers), should the person in these photos find them offensive or disruptive to their personal lives, please leave me a message or comment, and I’ll remove them. *


While in Amsterdam for King’s Day last year, I witnessed a very common, nonetheless teaching moment between a man and a young boy. For the sake of this story, as I did that day, I’ll assume the man was the father and the young boy his son. As the father walked, pushing a stroller, his son tentatively rode his bike a few meters in front of him. I could tell the boy had been riding without training wheels for some time, but he was still in the “uncomfortable” phase of bike-riding. Just as I was thinking this, the boy lost his balance and down he tumbled. As one can imagine, crying ensued. His father calmly walked over, knelt down, and began to speak in (what I like to call) the “it’ll be ok” voice. The “it’ll be ok” voice is used not only to calm and reassure a child, but also to give the parent a moment to assess the damage and make sure that the situation will, in fact, be ok. Although I don’t speak Dutch (again, assuming), I’m sure this is what was occurring, as I’ve used this same voice with my daughter on countless occasions.

(photo: Fidel Amos)


Speaking of my daughter, I began to think of her profoundly as I watched this scene. Did I use my “it’ll be ok” voice enough during her youth? Did I use it too much? Did I console her during her times of distress while simultaneously reinforcing her self esteem? I imagine these types of questions are on the minds of many parents. I’ve heard stories and read numerous accounts of communities throughout history who would raise their youth together; various community members teaching children (not their own) the skills and trades they knew, so that said children would gain a “general knowledge” of what the world was and how to survive in it. While I appreciate and applaud the idea, I don’t believe that would work in the current society I live in (I must say “I” here, as I’m sure there are still communities/societies around the world who practice this successfully). Our opportunities as adults (parents or not) to instill knowledge and share experiences with the youth of today are ever decreasing. With all of the social media, news, applications, rumors and falsities circulating, it’s no wonder they might have some difficulties understanding what will “be ok” and what will truly hurt them. Furthermore, with travel being easier, opportunities abroad becoming more common and communication across multimedia practically inescapable, we’re not always physically close enough to pick them up when they fall…like this father in Amsterdam was.

Try Again

Wiping tears from his eyes and straightening the brim on his hat, the boy pulled himself together, got back on his bike, and began tentatively riding ahead as his father followed, smiling slightly. That smile is also something I’m familiar with: the often sought but not always found “it actually was ok” smile. While we may want everything to turn out “ok” for those we care about, it doesn’t always end that way. I say this not only as a father, but as a college professor and humanitarian photographer. Our children won’t always be the best on the team, our students won’t always finish top of their class, and the situation of impoverished children in countries around the world often times do not improve. Are we as adults then liars when we tell our youth that things will “be ok”? Are we being deceitful when we encourage them to “try and try again when at first they don’t succeed”? I don’t believe so. I simply believe that achieving perfection shouldn’t be the true measurement of one succeeding or not. Although my daughter didn’t finish high school as the fastest swimmer on her team, she beat her own record and impressed her coaches on more than one occasion. While all of my students can’t finish at the top of their classes, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing many of them go on to find jobs which make them happy and start families which make them even happier. A number of the children I’ve photographed in situations too bleak to describe went on to not only pull themselves out of those situations, but they’ve been able to volunteer and help give back to those communities in need. I’ve learned in life that few people achieve the “perfection” they strive for, and therefore may not recognize their own accomplishments. I think it’s our job as adults, parents, friends and family to remind them…it’s the “try and try again” part that is the actual success.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“Apparently Soda CAN Kill You…”

Hey gang.

I just had to re-post this email that my Dad sent me a while back (and my response to it). I just couldn’t stop laughing..!

– F

PS. Love you Dad!!!!!


*The Email From My Dad*

From: Hosea Amos
To: Fidel Amos
Subject: FW: Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee be carefullllllllllllllllllThis is Serious!!!!!!!!!

Hi Fidel.

This story is true. It is not restricted to soda cans, it pertains to all cans. Mama and I wash all of the can foods and
drinks before we open them. Please do the same.

Love You,



*The Original Message*

Happy Holidays To All!

Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee be carefullllllllllllllllll

This is Serious!

This incident happened recently in North Texas .
A woman went boating one Sunday taking with her some cans of coke which she put into the refrigerator of the boat. On Monday she was taken to the hospital and placed in the Intensive Care Unit. She died on Wednesday.
The autopsy concluded she died of Leptospirosis. This was traced to the can of coke she drank from, not using a glass. Tests showed that the can was infected by dried rat urine and hence the disease Leptospirosis.
Rat urine conta ins toxic and deathly substances. It is highly recommended to thoroughly wash the upper part of soda cans before drinking out of them. The cans are typically stocked in warehouses and transported straight to the shops without being cleaned.
A study at NYCU showed that the tops of soda cans are more contaminated than public toilets (i.e).. full of germs and bacteria. So wash them with water before putting them to the mouth to avoid any kind of fatal accident.

Please forward this message to all the people you care about.


*My response*

Dear Dad,

It saddens me to actually think of all of the precious time that you’ve lost sending me this “Warning: You might die” email. It must have taken at least 3 sweet minutes out of your importantly busy, retired, italian style day to paste this into an email and hit ‘forward’.


…you could have been doing so much more with your time.

Like taking a walk, enjoying the people, practicing italian, eating a merendina, smooching on my Mom (gross!), watching a western, reading the Bible, cooking spaghetti, eating Nutella, taking nap, taking TWO naps…

The point is, next time, just shoot me an email that says:

“Hey son, heard there were some knuckleheads out there dying…sucking on dirty soda cans. Ha! Ok. gotta go, your Mamma’s callin me.”

And I’ll laugh about it with ya, and then be on my merry way. It only takes 30 seconds, and then you can spend the other 2 and 1/2 minutes doing the stuff that I mentioned before.

Because come on, of all the things that I do, ONE of them is not sucking on dirty soda cans. Geesh. How many times have I heard it “Wipe the top of that can boy…don’t make me jump on you. And even if you didn’t teach me as well as you did (and let’s face it, you did), my simple life experiences and personal hygiend standards would keep me out of that particular bracket of imbecils.

Come on, North Texas? On a boat? On a sunday..??

You know me better than that…I only drink Diet Soda. She was drinking a regular Coke.

Ha! Death by Aspertame!!

That is all.


– F

PS. Oh, and WHO did you get this information from, ANYWAY..? You sure do trust a lot of emails from a lot of random people. I mean, look at the can in the picture…it’s in Japanese. I thought the girl was in North Texas..?? And look at that warehouse…that does NOT look like an officially licensed Coca Cola storage facility..! Nope. It looks like a Costco…or a Super Wal-Mart…and yeah, those are kinda dirty.

PPS. And I don’t care WHAT that survey said that was taken at NYCU (and where the HECK is NYCU anyway??)…but I will never, ever, EVER believe that the tops of soda cans are more contaminated than public toilet seats!! Ha!! Seriously???? I live in New York city…I’ve seen public toilet seats so scary, grown men would rather go in their pants and just clean it up when they get home.

PPPS. …I’ve seen public toilet seats SO scary, you have to be 21 just to look at them.

PPPPS. …I’ve seen public toilet seats so scary, they wear Phantom of the Opera masks.

PPPPPS. (Yep, still going) …I’ve seen public toilet seats SO scary…the restroom attendant has to blindfold you before you enter the stall.

(Ok, I’m done.)


Filed under Mom & Dad...Gotta Love 'Em, Really America?