Commercials aren’t typically things that make us stop and reflect, but an ad created by American Family Insurance is barely an ad at all. Instead, it’s a story of a father and son that’s both touching and inspiring. It reminds us how powerful a parent’s support can be, and how satisfying it feels to pursue our dreams even in the face of opposition.
The video opens with a young boy sitting on his bed, entranced by the skilled Flamenco dancers he’s watching on his phone. As the boy’s dad walks in carrying a box, he quickly shuts off his phone in an attempt to hide what he’d been watching.
“Got you something,” the dad says quietly, placing the box in front of his son.
Upon opening his gift, the young boy reveals that his dad had bought him a Judo uniform. His smile fades as he looks up at his dad with concern, realizing that the gift was more than just a gift. It was a commitment to something he had no interest in, a non-verbal direction to become someone he wasn’t.
As father and son walk to school, they pass a group of bullies who are undeterred by the presence of an adult. They see the young boy, timid and lacking in confidence as if he has a target on his back. The dad walks with his arm around his son, pulling him closer as the bullies hurl insults like gut punches.
Despite his hesitation, the boy begins practicing judo. He trains with his peers and independently, and as the days go by, his hard work pays off. Not only is success apparent when he takes home his first trophy, but even outside of class, the formerly shy boy begins to walk with his head held high
At the end of the video, the boy’s dad approaches him with a second box. He opens it with slight hesitation this time, perhaps fearing a gift similar to the last one. But as he opens the box, he looks up at his dad in disbelief. Hidden beneath the cardboard and tissue paper is a brand new Flamenco costume, a silent sign of support from his biggest cheerleader.
The young boy walks to school in his brand new costume, confidence emanating from every step. The bullies throw their verbal punches, but rather than looking at the ground, the boy meets their gaze. His dad watches quietly from the window as the boy shakes his head and smiles slightly, continuing on his way. He can’t be bothered by the neighborhood bullies anymore – not when he’s busy pursuing his dreams.