"Yes, my priorities have changed because from now on whatever it is, work or anything else, family will come first because at any moment they can take it from you or you can lose it and after that what will you do or what you will have”.  Javier Perez

In the blink of an eye, your life can change, and the change can also teach you lessons. That happened to Javier Perez, principal of South Dade Senior High School, to whom life has given a second chance to value and see fatherhood from a different perspective. It was important before, but now he has realized that it is more important than he thought and that it goes beyond his working career.

Perez literally opened the doors of his home to talk about how his priorities have changed and how he sees fatherhood today. As a good host, he made us feel at home from the first moment, and it was enough to hear him speak to know that we were going to have not only a journalistically productive morning, but a very pleasant one. Of course, his pillar of strength, his wife, was with him always.

This young father, who has been inside the school classrooms most of his life, lost both legs a little more than a year ago when he was run over by a car in the park where his son was playing baseball. He said that from that moment on he has concentrated on seeing the positive things he has around him. “It is true that I lost my legs, but I could have lost my life and I did not. I am here and I can go on.”

Moving forward meant not only overcoming several obstacles from his recovery and rehabilitation but also changing his priorities and recognizing that because of his responsibilities and his work, he was not giving 100 percent to his family.
This is how the 2016-2017 school year became a new experience for him in his role as a dad: it has allowed him to enjoy moments that he had never lived before. For example, for the first time he could attend the first day of his children’s classes, spend time to help them do homework and attend school activities, which had always been his wife’s job. This was the same work he facilitated for other parents and students when he served as teacher or principal of a school.

“What for some people could be a small thing is what I value more today, being able to spend more time with my family and being able to do things with my wife and my children,” Perez told us while we heard small footsteps around the house. Those were the footsteps of his little son and his niece, who were entertaining themselves with their own game, while our conversation was going smoothly.

Pérez has obtained a special license to drive a car with manual controls that was donated and that will be delivered to him soon. That way, as he says between laughs, he will recover his freedom; up to now, he has had to depend on his wife for transportation. In addition, he can alleviate the burden that she has had by being the only chauffeur in the house, taking the children to school, to sports practices and to rehabilitation.

With all the adjustments, one of the things that worried him as a father was the reaction of his children, who, according to Perez, have given him some life lessons. “I do not take credit from my wife who did a great job preparing them while I was hospitalized, but they have shown us their love, understanding and care. My daughter told me that she loves me, and all she cares about is that I am here.”

Nowadays, they are his impetus to get ahead, to overcome any obstacle and to know that it is not worth wasting time complaining. “With the accident, there have been many positive things and they will continue to be because now I focus on seeing the positive of everything that happens to me,” is part of the new philosophy of this father, whose injury not only gave him a second chance, but life lessons.

Haz clic para leer en Español: Javier Pérez: Una segunda oportunidad para disfrutar a mi familia

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