*My little buddy, Flynn, turns 4 in a couple of weeks. So, to commemorate the occasion, I wrote this letter. My hope is simple – one day in the distant future, he will read these words and understand that my love for him was – and remains – boundless. *
Dear Flynn –
Gone are the days of watching PJ Masks. And building castles with your magnet tiles.
You’re a teenager now, which means that life has become infinitely more demanding and complex.
Even though you now have a deep voice and some peach fuzz on your chin, your days as a small child are forever etched into my soul.
Vividly, I remember playing tag by chasing you around the kitchen island. Round and round we went. You never wanted to stop. (even though, we got in trouble for running in the house.)
Fondly, I recall all of the times you said “daddy, you’re my best friend.” And then you’d cuddle up next to me. Those days are beyond precious.
And I will never forget those nights during your infancy when I had the magic touch. I’d cradle you in my arms and sing made-up melodies until you drifted off to sleep.
Since you’re a full-fledged teen now, here’s a bit of wisdom from your old dad. 😊
Be Your Own Man
As a little boy, you were so curious. And I’m sure you still are.
I’ve never been asked so many questions in my life. You wanted to know everything — about everything.
Your inquisitive nature makes me so proud. I know you’ll never succumb to groupthink. Because, you will question so-called norms, and try your best to truly understand the world around you.
Peer pressure will sometimes be relentless and tempting. But, stick to your moral compass and always do what’s right. Even if that means going against the grain. I have confidence that you know, in your heart, what the ‘right’ thing is.
When I say question everything, that doesn’t translate to being disrespectful. I just mean, try your best to read between the lines. Dig deep to find the subtext in every encounter and situation. That’s where people’s true motivations reside.
Do not let anyone dictate how you should live your life. (Except mom and dad, of course — just kidding, kinda).
Being your own man doesn’t equate to being selfish. Far from it. An independent and responsible man always handles his business.
This advice may seem obvious, but based on how the world behaves sometimes, I think these words need to be reiterated and reflected upon throughout life.
Be a Great Brother
As a little boy, you adored your big sister. Following her around and repeating – verbatim – every word out of her mouth was your forte.
One day, you and Sienna may live far from one another. Distance can affect a relationship. But, that’s okay. It just means you guys will both have to work harder at keeping the relationship strong.
I know you’ll do your part in maintaining that special sibling bond.
This world can be a cold place. It’s hard to trust people sometimes. That’s why it is so important for you and your sister to stay close. To trust each other. To rely on one another.
Respect your sister’s life choices and be happy for her. Never be envious, bitter or vengeful. And I’m confident your sister will treat you with the same love, kindness and understanding.
You’re a tenderhearted soul with strong convictions. I know you’ll always look out for your big sister. Because that’s the type of boy you were – and the kind of man you’ve become. 😊
Life is a roller-coaster of experiences, emotions and challenges.
Life can be amazing, annoying, awesome and abysmal. All in one day!
Your existence will be filled with ups, downs, and turn-arounds.
Always remember one thing- life is never static. Change is the only constant. And that goes for both the good, and the bad.
Always appreciate what you have, and never stop striving for love and success. But, please keep in mind, my son, that you should measure success on your own terms.
Above all, choose happiness. When you feel sad, frustrated or stuck, never forget that you were born from love – have been loved – and will always be loved.
How you confront problems is your choice.
And, I am confident that you will choose to smile each day. You will treat others will respect and empathy. But, above all, you will open your heart and allow love to permeate your entire being.
When challenges become seemingly insurmountable, dig inside for that love and remember that life is fleeting. Nothing lasts forever.
And because things always change, you should always approach situations with an open mind and a smile. That smile will help you overcome life’s challenges more than you could ever imagine.
Laugh. A Lot.
Take it from your comedian dad. Laugh all the time. It’s cathartic. It’s natural. And it’s just plain ol’ fun.
Never take yourself too seriously. Or life.
People will be drawn to your positive vibe. Everyone loves to laugh.
Keep being a fun-loving kid, even when you’re all grown-up. Don’t allow the world to temper your sense of humor with their artificial norms and hypocrisies.
Enjoy yourself, man! Dad gives you permission.
I love you, Flynn.