“Hey, Javier, can you get Asier’s shoes for me?” We were heading out to the hardware store to replace our butane tanks. Need some fire for grillin’. I asked Javier, if he could put on Asier’s shoes for me.

“Yes, Daddy, I can do it.” And he scooted off looking for Asier’s shoes. I watched him unstrap the velcro on the little red, blue, and yellow Superman shoes and carefully place them on Asier’s little twinkly toes.

“Good job, Javier. That’s great. I didn’t know you could put Asier’s shoes on.” Javier smiled. “Okay, let’s go get in the car.” I looked down and noticed that Javier’s shoes were a mess. The laces were dragging in a tangle. “Javier, do you need me to tie your shoes?”

“Uh, huh.”

“Hey Javier, we need to practice tying your shoes, so you can tie them yourself.”

“I already tied them, Daddy,” he declared.

“Oh really?”

“Uh, huh. I tied them myself.”

Now it was becoming clear. They were in a tangle because he had attempted to tie the laces himself, looping and pulling and twirling this way and that until they held together.

“I like your style, Javier. You’re a can-do boy.”

“Thanks, Daddy.” He understood from my tone it was a compliment, but didn’t quite grasp why his failed attempt at tying his shoes would warrant praise.

“I just like that you just tried to do it yourself. I liked that you didn’t let anything stop you. You didn’t know how to tie your shoes, but you tried anyway. That’s cool,” I said.

I looked back at almost five year old Javier sitting in his booster seat, his shoulders straight, his head held high.