When our doctor told us our 3rd child was due on December 25th, I looked at my wife and said, “Don’t you dare.”

I didn’t know if it would be good or bad for my child to have his birthday be Christmas, but it seemed like a lot of stress for a dad, so I prayed we would avoid it.

My wife is a champ.

She held off and our little Elijah made his entrance on December 27th.

After the birth, as I helped Sara get comfortable in the room where she would spend a couple of night recovering, I heard people shouting in the room that shared a wall with our room. A man and a woman were shouting at each other. We waited for a few minutes, but it didn’t stop. We couldn’t hear what they were saying, but they sounded really angry and really frustrated.

As Sara tried to rest she was frequently startled by more yelling.

I thought to myself, “What kind of people yell at each other in a hospital? Are they yelling at each other with their baby in there? Besides, didn’t they just celebrate Christmas?”

Anger built up inside of me.

I told Sara I would take care of it.

I felt like a hero as I walked confidently and stone-faced to the nurses station. I let them know that my wife had just had a baby and the people in the room next door were making it absolutely impossible for her to sleep. The nurse at the desk was flustered, but promised me she would talk to them.

I went back to our room triumphant.

The shouting stopped and Sara slept.

I was a hero.

The next day, as a doctor and I pushed Elijah in his wheeled-crib to another room for a hearing test, the doctor pointed at the door of the room where all the shouting had come from the night before. He shook his head and said, “Poor couple. Their baby passed away in delivery a few days ago.”

I felt like I had been slapped across the face.

I don’t know why I have to keep learning this lesson the hard way, but my eyes were opened, once again, to the reality that everyone you meet is facing a battle you know nothing about.

Be kind.


Hank Smith
Hank Smith loves to run marathons and eats a lot of ice cream (which is why he runs marathons). Hank has a Master’s Degree in business administration and a PhD in educational leadership. He leads his own consulting firm and thoroughly enjoys helping schools and corporations succeed. Hank has spoken to audiences all across the country, but his favorite presentation to give is his “internet safety assembly” designed for elementary schools. Hank and his wife Sara, and their 5 children, live in Mapleton, Utah. Hank says, "Sara is incredible, she knows everything about me and still loves me.” You can contact Hank directly through his Facebook Page ( or his website (
Hank Smith
Hank Smith

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