A few years ago I wrote this letter to my daughter. For those of you playing the home game, you know I also have 3 sons. Sons who are all three in various transition stages of life. One transitioning to an adult, one dealing with the fabulous angst and hormones that are issued to you in middle school, and one trying to disassociate from the title "baby of the family". So this letter is to my boys.
My amazing boys,
Whereas it is true that I have never myself been a boy, (shocking I know.. we'll have that talk later) I do understand where each of you are in your lives, and that some of the things you are facing are pretty terrifying, but here's the good news.... Everything is going to be ok.
YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH
When someone compliments you, it is coming from a place of love, don't brush it off.. Be the best YOU that you can be! Often times it isn't skill, knowledge, or ability that you don't possess, it's confidence. However being confident doesn't mean being a dick. Never use your accomplishments to make others feel small.
Believe in yourself, and know that I always have and always will.
I HAD NOTHING FIGURED OUT WHEN I WAS 17
Seriously, nothing. If you would have asked my junior/senior self what my life plan was, I would have told you that I was going in the Peace Corps. I would have said that I was going to take some time away from the world, I would have told you I was never getting married. As you may have guessed... NONE of that happened, which is good. Everything that needed to happen did. It's ok that you don't know know what exactly your life will be when you're 40. I don't either!
DON'T CHANGE YOUR DREAMS FOR ANYONE
You will have relationships in your life, and that's great! However you need to still stay true to yourself and your dreams and goals. If that special someone is meant to be in your life than they will be, no matter what. So don't put your own aspirations on the back burner, know that when you care about someone and they care about you, you support each other so that you can build those dreams together. (Cue Starship)
IT'S OK TO NOT BE THE STAR ATHLETE
Playing sports is awesome. I am proud of each of you for everything that you do. However if you don't want to, thats ok too. You are no less of a man or of a human because you aren't playing football or whatever 24/7. Playing the sousaphone is just as cool. Don't let anyone tell you it's not. Being athletic is good, but I think society as a whole puts a lot of pressure on boys to be sporty, and if they aren't.. well who freaking cares! Whatever you do, if it's play Waterpolo, or the banjo, just give it 100%, and love what you do.
DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
In good and in bad times. Don't do it. Compare yourself to you! There will be people smarter than you, that's ok.. just do your best. There will be people who you feel like everything comes easy to them, spoiler alert.. it doesn't... just do YOUR best. Now on the opposite side, just because someone else did something worse, or got a lower grade, or made a worse choice, this in no way exonerates your bad choice.
BE A MAN OF YOUR WORD
Nothing is cooler, hotter, sweeter than an honest man. (trust me) BE HONEST. Sometimes that will be hard, but it will never let you down. If you say you are going to do something.. DO IT. Follow through on what you say. Your word really is your bond. When you fail, don't make excuses, take responsibility for your actions and move forward.
Your character is always showing.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE IMPORTANT
I know you are probably thinking "DUH?" ..
I don't know, maybe it's a "guy thing". I have seen many of the men in my life, grow up, move on and their friends and family become more and more distant. SO I am telling you right now. CHERISH your relationships. Don't get so caught up in the present that you completely let go of your past. Hang out with the guys once a week. Send your grandmother a letter, an actual letter, not an email not a text, a letter. Make time to take your sister to lunch.. and never ever forget, no matter where you go, no matter how old you are.. always.. and I mean always..
CALL YOUR MOTHER!
I LOVE YOU
We will argue, you will think I'm horrible, I'll wonder what is wrong with you, but I will always love you. I'm so proud of the men you are becoming.
NEVER GIVE UP