At last year's Little League World Series, one coach called a time-out to talk strategy with his own personal MVP: his son.
The first thing he said was something all children — especially young men — need to hear their fathers say more often.
"I just came out here to say I love you, as a dad and a player," Joel Jensen told his son, Isaiah. "You're doing awesome out here." Though the younger Jensen was having a difficult time pitching against the Italian team in the fifth inning of their consolation game, his dad made sure he understood that, no matter what happened, he would always be proud of him.
More importantly, he would always love him.
Since SportsCast posted the video to Twitter on August 22, it has received more than 3,000 likes and retweets — and for one "awww"-inspiring reason.
This dad proved just how important it is to make sure his son knows he's loved. Though many children assume their parents love them, hearing it on a regular basis has been shown to benefit a child's mental health in many ways.
Multiple studies have linked fathers' positive involvement in their kids' lives with the kids' overall life satisfaction through higher levels of self-reported happiness. Children of involved fathers were also shown to manage stress and frustration better, and to be more playful, resourceful, and attentive when solving problems — some skills that might come in handy at the Little League World Series.
"Overall, father love appears to be as heavily implicated as mother love in [a child's] psychological well-being and health ... " Ronald Rohner and Robert Veneziano wrote in a 2001 article for the Review of General Psychology.
Those words hold especially true when it comes to father-son relationships. Because boys are often taught by society not to show their emotions, it's even more important to witness a male role model publicly doing so. That action, no matter how small or simple, can have a lasting impact.
By hearing his father show his emotions and then watching the moment go viral, Jensen learned that sharing his feelings with others isn't just OK, but — just like throwing a ball — a form of masculine strength.