You are growing up so quickly and this is causing me much excitement, but also some nervousness. However, when I really think about how you are developing, I know that there is no need for me to be worried about your future. I know that your father and I have done our best to teach you to be honest, kind, respective, creative, hardworking and curious. Yet, I still want you to always have in the back of your mind, these reminders, about people, about life and about yourself.
Remember this my little man…
You are beautiful — every inch of you from your toes to your heart to your head.
All people are beautiful – no matter their shape, size, color, ethnic background or sexual preference.
You are really freaking intelligent. You are smart, you are a go-getter and you are motivated and all those traits will get you far in life.
You are humble – humble enough to know that you are not better than any person and that no one is your inferior.
Your family loves you. You come from a good home and good people who will forever support you and will always have your best interest at heart.
You owe homage to the people that raised you and to those that raised them. Your parents and the generations before them are all part of the reason you are here today. You should show gratitude to them for that.
You have super-strength, both physically and emotionally. No one is stronger than you and no person is capable of knocking you down. You, my child, will never be down for the count.
You can use your strength to help others. You have the ability to be strong for those that are unable to be.
You deserve respect – from every person and under every circumstance. No one has the right to disrespect you.
All people, animals, places and things deserve respect – from every person and under every circumstance. You have no right to show disrespect to anything or anyone.
You are self-sufficient. You do not need another person to take care of you. Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient and therefore, it belongs to you.
It is okay to ask for help. In fact, it is more than okay to ask for help – this does not negate your self-sufficiency. Knowing when to and being willing to ask for help is actually a strong indicator of independence.
You are not perfect – and nor should you be. Perfect is boring. Perfect is a façade. Perfect is an illusion.
Your imperfection is endearing. It is also flawless, beautiful and intriguing.
You are unique. You have every right to be yourself and embrace who you are.
Not everyone has to accept your unique ways. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and you should not let those opinions and/or judgments affect you, your attitude, or cause you to change yourself.
You have passion. You also have purpose and the power to put that passion into action.
Your passions may conflict with others’ passions and that is okay. Try to understand others’ passions. If you look hard enough, you can find a way to let another’s passion inspire you in some way.
Your talents do not entitle you to be “cocky”. In fact, the most talented and successful of people choose to recognize the talents of others and let them shine.
Age does not determine one’s level of talent. However, talented people with “experience” can and should be respected and admired.
Tragedy does not have to be stifling. Let it fortify your strength – do not let it weaken you.
Kindness goes a long way – it goes a lot farther than you think. The effects of your compassion may not be seen for a while, and in some cases, not at all. However, you are affecting lives and touching souls.
Jealousy is waste of time. Focus on your blessings and be sure to not let the ugliness of jealousy dull your natural beauty – inside and out.
Laughter is the best medicine. Use and appreciate humor whenever you can, in all circumstances. Humor is disarming and irresistibly contagious – it is seriously one of life’s best survival tools.
And, in case you forget any of this, your father and I are here to remind you — day in and day out. Think of us and these important reminders as your map for navigating your days at school, as well as this ridiculously awesome, but slightly frightening world you are growing up in.
I love you buddy!