Things won’t always go your way. You can’t always get what you want. Sometimes you do everything right and the wrong thing happens. You study, prepare, set goals, make a list, hope, pray, etc and it doesn’t work. Someone else wins. Someone else gets the job, the love, or the big break. The thing you thought you were promised becomes elusive. It’s easy to get upset about this. Allow yourself to be upset about it. It’s normal to feel emotions. A moment or so later, remember that life isn’t fair and sometimes that will actually work in your favor. Sometimes you will suck at life and for some reason you are winning. You don’t deserve it, but you are getting it. We all have times in our lives where things are not working, and it seems hopeless regardless of what we are doing to fix it. Then there are times where things just shake our way regardless of what we are doing. This isn’t to say do not have a plan or set goals or have good work ethic. You absolutely need to work hard and learn. It’s to say when traveling the path to achieving your goals, be flexible in the routes it takes you to get there because things won’t always go your way.
Your parents are human and will make mistakes. We might say some things or do some things that aren’t right. We might lie. We might do mean things in anger. We might cheat. We might be impatient, unkind, or harsh. We might be hypocritical. We might not always practice what we preach. This is true for all humans. We are incredibly flawed. Your dad and I will do our best to be parents of the year every year of your life. We will love you deeply, feed you, cloth you, shelter you, rear you up to be a good man. At least, we will certainly try our hardest. I hope we teach you to show grace and mercy and to forgive. Yes, even us. Your super hero perfect parents. Forgive us when we fail to do it correctly. Side note: Just because we make mistakes doesn’t mean you can talk back and act out.
Women are not inferior beings. We simply are not. Your dad is amazing and all, but mom carried you. My body created your bones, heart, brain, and teeth. Never forget it. Women are strong, smart, beautiful, capable, and most of all necessary. We are not some disposable irrelevant creature in the history of the world. Treat women with respect. Don’t be a creep. No means no. All men and women are created equal. That doesn’t mean we are not different. It means we are not less than.
Respect the earth and the people in it. Did you know there’s a whole island of trash? Yea, we did that. We created a whole island of trash. One of the great achievements of humankind. Sometimes we are trash. But you don’t have to be. We only get one planet. Pick up after yourself. Try to not be wasteful. Use only what you need. Take care of this place because Mars is, honestly at this point, uninhabitable, and if at some point the future it will be, remember that we created an entire island of trash. This next part is hard. Respect people. I didn’t say respect good people or only the people who deserve it. Doing that will take you down a dark path. No one is deserving of respect, but everyone needs it. The world is better place with respect. Respect the poor, the ugly, the lonely, and the hurt just as you would the rich, the beautiful, and the ones who have it all. I believe we all have value. Some of us lost sight of that value by growing up in hard circumstances. That hardness makes us hard people. Our world looks at these hard people and often don’t even see people anymore which makes it easier for them to not value their lives. This is a shame. Listen, you can’t fix or help everyone, but do for one what you wish you could do for millions. You have no idea the impact that will have. I know because someone did for me.
You are enough, and you have exactly what you need. Self doubt is an invasive little seed. It starts so small. Eventually it prevents you from believing you can do amazing things. Then you don’t anything at all. But you have everything you need to fulfill your purpose in life. You were created specifically for the exact thing you need and desire to be for yourself and for others. I believe this with everything in me. No one is better than you, and no one is less than you. This is challenging. The world will tell you differently. The world will tell you you’re ordinary, but these other people are not. The world will compare you, categorize you, and rank you. Don’t let their confines trap you into a life you don’t want. You have what you need. It’s tricky. I won’t lie you to you. Some people have a lot more than you. I say you have what you need to succeed, and yet you will certainly find that where you are born, what you look like, where you live, what wealth, education and power your parents have play a role in your success. Don’t use this as an excuse to not achieve your goals. Use your resources whatever they are.
Good meaningful relationships are worth more than millions. Live long enough. You’ll see.
I won’t force you to have the same faith as I do. I believe in Jesus. That faith hasn’t come easy. I grew up in the church, but went my own way after a while. I wanted to discover things for myself. All the christians I knew gave christians a bad rep. I’m part of that, sometimes even now. Again, I’m flawed. There are many things to believe. Everyone believes in something, even if they believe there is nothing to believe at all. Some people believe in science. Some people believe in many gods. I will teach you about my faith and what I believe. You can decide for yourself what you choose to believe. I do not think that forcing a religion on you will make you a good person. I also don’t think religion makes people good. Not even sure if being good is the goal. This is going places I didn’t intend. Anyway, you shall decide for yourself. My love for you will not change.
Don’t fall for macho-ism and hyper masculinity. You are a man. You don’t have to prove that you are a man. You just are. That’s how you were born. You can express emotions and be vulnerable. You can be muscular or not. You can be tough or not. You can be good at sports or not. None of that will make you more or less than a man. What makes a man a man is not how fast he can wrangle a bull. The colors you wear don’t make you a man. Being comfortable in your own skin makes you a man.
Greed is ugly. Sharing is caring. That felt lame to write, but it is so true. Greed might not look ugly at times. You’ll see that we both love and hate a filthy rich celebrity with all of the worlds greatest things at their disposal. That’s the extreme end of it. Don’t think that greed is only for the super rich. You, too, can be greedy at whatever level of wealth you have. I think that greed comes from a void of happiness. Be mindful of how much stuff you think you need to be happy. Stuff won’t make you happy, at least not a happiness that is sustained. Maybe the word I’m looking for isn’t happiness but joy, peace, satisfaction, or contentment? I’m not sure. I just know having a bunch of stuff doesn’t bring it about. What you are looking for isn’t found in a new toy, pair of shoes, home, partner, or island vacation. Those are really nice things, however, the happiness you get from them will eventually fade. So, just realize that, and don’t hoard things to fill a void. Just deal with root of the void. I’ve found that giving and sharing are really amazing actions. It’s mutual beneficial, even when you might not think it is. Someone gave to you even before you could do anything for them. Yes, I’m talking about me. 🙂 Be cognizant of giving and sharing in all circumstances, but especially when you have a lot to give. You’ll find it is much more rewarding to give than to receive. Don’t roll your eyes. I didn’t really come to the full understanding of this wise phrase until much later in life and I have never regretted giving.
WE LOVE YOU LIKE CRAZY. Seriously. That love will be shown in many ways over your life. It is not conditional. It will come in the form of hugs, encouragement, support, discipline, service, gifts, correction, and a bunch of other stuff. It is what it is. Love you.