To my son,
If there is any bit of advice I can give you, it is this:don’t worry about what it means to be a man. Be you. Don’t buy into what the world wants you to. IPods, video games, gadgets and all that jazz is fun, but it doesn’t bring lasting happiness. It works exactly like it was designed to; costs a lot of money for something that costs more money to play and there’s no real tangible result in the end but high scores and bragging rights. You’re missing out on a great deal of childhood if all it is is iPods and video games. You can change the world if you want to. I believe in you.
Change this world. Make things happen. This world listens to kids who want to make a difference more than ever before. Kids matter! Don’t be afraid to get in front of people and advocate for a cause you feel is important. There is a lot that we have right, but so much we have wrong. This planet needs people to say, ‘ENOUGH! No more! This is my home!’
Sex. Keep your pants on and your belt done up. This instant gratification culture isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Know yourself well before trying to know someone else. Many have gone before you leaving a wide trail of broken hearts and promises. Don’t be one of those guys. It’ll be hard, and you will be ridiculed, but keep it special. More people will respect you in the long run. Real love isn’t found by seeing people as sexual partners first and friends second, but the other way around. Enjoy yourself and your friends, and above all, keep your word. This means that text conversations should be something you can share with the person you’re sitting next to. Don’t use illusion to separate and have multiple lives, but to bring people together. No one likes feeling lied to, even if it’s deniable.
Communication. Communicate as well as you can given the situation, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to make yourself vulnerable, because how people respond to another’s vulnerability reveals their integrity. And that said, some people will take advantage of your vulnerability. Stand up to these bullies and call them out on their crap. Sometimes it takes someone who can deal with bullies to care for those who cannot. This is how you can find true friends.
Speak your truth. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Do what you say you’re going to do. This builds trust. Don’t be a hypocrite and say one thing and do another. Such things destroy trust.
Make mistakes, and then own up to your mistakes. Learn from them. The absolute best thing you can do for yourself is to see your entire life as a learning experience. I’m not perfect, and neither are you, so don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes. I still love you. Sometimes mistakes are meant to happen, and how we respond and learn and grow is more important than the mistake itself.
Be the bigger person by being humble and accountable. Accept feedback. Don’t be above receiving feedback, no matter if it’s in a job, a friendship or an endeavor. Be open to criticism, and thank people who are truly honest and tell you like it is. Mirrors like that are hard to come by, and I think you will find that self-reflection is one of the tools that you can carry and use your entire life. Be thoughtful and willing to see different perspectives. Do this and others will see you are considerate, and they will feel cared for, even if you agree to disagree.
Stand up for what you believe in. And never, ever stop believing in yourself, my son. Say and think things that lift yourself and others up, not tear down.
Be careful. Thing is, there are lots of people who would rather bring you down than lift you up. They would rather enslave you than set you free. They are powerful, ruthless and thrive on poverty-physical, emotional and mental. Don’t be swayed by these people. Many will try to change the way you see things, they will use rhetoric to confuse you and mess with your head. Unfortunately you can’t shut them up, nor can you change them. Once you see them for what they are, create a diversion and get the heck out of there.
Listen. Listen to people and be empathetic. Hear what they are really saying, and not just the words, tone and body language. Listen on a soul level. Listen for their unexpressed hurts, yearnings, hopes and fears. Respond to those, and people will feel truly heard, and you will be known as a good person.
Feel. Most people are kind and generally want the best for each other. This is normal and humane. Keep friends like these close. Talk to them about your hurts and challenges. You will need their kindness and support when things get rough. Just remember that not everyone experiences love and kindness the same way, nor does everyone have the same words for the same feelings. Figure out shared feelings, and make sure you have identified the same feelings with the same names. This will keep kindness and support crystal clear throughout life. It is too easy to loose quality friends because you don’t feel the same way, or you are each at different phases and stages in life. And remember, sometimes, as heartbreaking as it is, feelings change.
Question everything. Seek answers to life. Don’t be afraid to think big thoughts. And it’s okay to daydream every once in a while. In fact, it’s important. Daydream about what kind of world you really, truly want to live in, then use those visions as guiding lights. It is here where you find passion.
Follow your hearts passion. True sight sees with the heart. Nurture your heart. Speak, see and act from the heart and its passion. It is through here that life is well-lived. No one ever came to the end of their life and looked back and said, “Man, I should have done what everyone else was doing and ignored my own spark.”
You have the potential of the universe inside you, my son. And that potential is something that can either be tended to with love or neglected. And I promise you, that if you choose to stay close in life, I will help you tend. I love you, my son.
I will leave you with a quote from a wise, old Lion-Turtle:
A true mind can weather all the lies and illusions without being lost. A true heart can touch the poison of hatred without being harmed. Since beginning less time darkness thrives in the void, but always yields to purifying light.