A letter to my son the high school senior
As your father, I have spent an innumerable amount of time thinking about the inevitability of you becoming a high school graduate this year, heading off to college along with you walking out the door into the world as a man. There for I feel as though it is time to “check in” with regards to the realities of life surrounding you these days.
Where are you mentally?
Do you feel as though your mother and I have prepared you for a life away from your family?
Have I presented a good image of not only a male figure, but a man for you to reflect upon and draw strength from when emotionally or physically drained?
Do you have an inkling of strife, injustice, immorality, ethical shortcomings, death, financial ruin, and some of the day to day struggle this world will lay upon you?
Can you keep an open mind and remember that everyone in this world deserves to be treated as a human being? No more, no less than you would treat yourself?
Have we taken the time to enforce a belief system which lets you see people for who they really are? Not the facade they may hide behind or trappings they live within, but who or what lies beneath? Separating the good from the bad, the kind hearted from the evil spirited? Can you spot an intelligent, well rounded person from a poop spreader at a hundred yards?
Here are a few things I think you should know.
This country is yours for the taking, by that I mean whatever suits you be it play, work or just day to day life, do it with fervor, passion, love and intensity as God has given you one life, no more, no less and we never know when our number is up. So do what you can for not only yourself but those who surround you and those who need your help.
When was the last time I reminded you it is better to give than receive? Not gifts of tangible make up, gifts of hard work, sharing, compassion and the best gift of all, love.
Remember that “love” is not just a word to be tossed into the wind like withered leaves of fall. Today people use this word as a bargaining chip, it is held hostage for emotion, traded like commodities to be sold to the highest bidder. There is no way you can honestly love another unless you can love yourself. Like who you are, be proud of the things you enjoy and participate in with pride and never let someone else change that about you because then you are just living for that person and soon you will cease to become yourself. That is not love, I don’t know what to call it but love it is not, for love is a two way street where you are appreciated and enjoyed for who and what you are and that feeling is mutual. Love cannot be forced, sometimes love just isn’t there and that is ok.
Love is a feeling so strong it grips your chest, tears your heart, makes you cry at the thought of losing its powerful hold. Love is a lump in your throat, sweat upon your brow, a smile behind your face, a caress that lasts forever yet only a second passes. Love will make you dance though you don’t know a step, giggle when all alone, long to be in the presence of that you love the moment you have left love behind.
Notice son, not one statement I have made compares love to sex, for sex is an act, you don’t need love for sex; you only need an urge and a willing partner. Oh many will try their best to persuade you that love and sex is in fact the same beast, but lo they are not, they are as separate as water and oil. Only the weak of mind combine the two, strongly claiming the one (sex) to be nothing more than love itself. But love, true love will leave you weak at a touch, warm in the cold, happy even during the hardest of times. Love true love is what you have left when time grows short and the light grows dim, when you can hold someone’s hand asking for nothing more than that moment in time, love will guide your way. You will learn all these emotions and figure out how to use and learn from them and one day, long after I am gone I hope you will smile at the love I have shown you.
Relationships are like walking a tight rope; sometimes the rope is large and easy. You know beyond a shadow of a doubt there will be no trouble and that rope holds strong and true safely carrying you across the pitfalls of any relationship. Other times that tight rope is small and shaky; your fears continue to evolve, leaving you wondering if you should continue risking it all, possibly even plummeting to your emotional death or do you turn around to find another rope more to your liking. You will walk them both and all I can say is learn from each journey, so when the right tight rope comes to cross you step out with confidence that it will hold, leading safely across the relationship crevasse towards joy and happiness.
This country was built on a political belief system. Do not under any circumstance let your friends decide what that belief may be. There are many parties to choose from and you need to look deep inside yourself and determine which one best suits you. I am fairly sure you know your father is conservative, but that does not nor ever will mean you should be. As your father I welcome any choice you make and look forward to the intelligent conversations we will have over such a selection. Truth be told, I call myself a Demublican. Both Republican and Democrat as there are many wonderful ideas and strategies surrounding both parties. Whatever you choose do not hide in the shadows, this country says you have a voice so use it while you can.
Stay healthy. You will go through a phase in your young adult life where you will abuse your body by staying up to late, eating horrible food (delicious mind you but not healthy eating) and drinking way too much. It happens to us all and the only thing I can say is never forget about staying fit, eating right, not indulging too much. Moderation is and always will be the key to social survival.
You will be tempted to do stupid things all in the name of fun and humor. Some you will get away with creating memories that last a lifetime, but remember before choosing to risk it all, ask yourself; is the juice worth the squeeze?
Always be a leader not a follower, stand up for what is right and admonish those in the wrong.
Remember your roots and those who helped you throughout this crazy journey called life and no matter where you are or what you are doing, I promise your mother and I are thinking of you as we will always be your parents. You have been a joy to raise son, I can’t believe you are almost a grown man, the time has flown. I miss the little boy waiting for me to return to the fire house with a teddy bear in his hand. I have enjoyed watching you succeed at dang near everything you have tried. You continue to leave your mother and I spellbound at the ease with which you make life appear. We are incredibly proud of you and know beyond a shadow of a doubt what a fine adult you will become. The door is always open; this will always be your home and remember our love for you is eternal.
I am and always will be proud to call you my son.