In a few hours you are going to turn 12 so I find myself sitting here lost in the memories and moments of your life and mine.
When I think about what sort of blessing I want to give you my mind goes many places but it always touches upon my friendship with ‘G‘.
You have heard the story about how we met the first day of kindergarten many times but I don’t think you understand yet how lucky I am to have a friend like ‘G’ because not everyone shares in that luck.
That is what I want for you. I want you to have a friend like ‘G.’ I want you to have the kind of friend who will always be there without question.
I want you to watch the clip here and relate to it because you understand the friendship between Kirk and Spock. When you hear Spock say “I have been and always shall be your friend” I want you to feel an ache in your soul because you know what that means.
The Puppy and The Big Dog
Sometimes when we wrestle I tell you that the puppy isn’t ever going to beat the big dog, but that is not entirely true.It is going to be years before you are even close to being able to handle the kind of fire I breathe, but that is because I have size, strength and an ‘old man’s cunning.’ You won’t be able to match that until puberty and life experience kicks in.
But the thing is that doesn’t apply to thinking games.
When we play Chess I have to pay attention because you have gotten too good for me to just ignore. You have learned many of my tricks and come up with more than a few of your own and I have paid the price.
You beat me and I couldn’t have been happier or more irritated.
That’s because my competitive spirit doesn’t like to lose to anyone, friends, family or my children. Yet at the same time I love that you beat me because it is a clear indication of how you have grown and continue to grow
My ‘job’ is to teach my children how to grow up to become productive and self sufficient members of society. I love doing it so I suppose it is not entirely fair to call it a job or work.
In the ‘real world’ your supervisor sits down with you at least once a year to give you a ‘performance review’ where they review your strengths and weaknesses and then you work on a plan for the coming year in which you figure out how to improve your performance.
But in the ‘real world’ of parenting performance reviews are different because so much more is riding upon them. The consequences of failure are much more severe which is why I have spent so many hours thinking about how I have done and am doing as a father.
I can’t take responsibility for everything you do, good or bad. Much of that falls upon you because all I can do is try to teach you the right way to do things and then hope you do them, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t try, hope and wonder.
What Advice Can I Give?
So what advice do I have for a 12 year-old boy of the twenty-first century? What can a twentieth century lad share of life that will help you along your way?
Don’t let fear of circumstances and consequences prevent you from going out there and living your life. I have very few regrets but those I carry are major and I don’t want that for you.
Don’t make excuses and think that you will have time to do things later because sometimes today is the only day.
I used to hate it when ‘old people’ spoke that way, but sometimes it is true.
‘G’ and I spent a few minutes today catching up and reminiscing. We have been through the cycle together, school, weddings, children, divorces, funerals…
More than a few of those things were unplanned because sometimes life decides to push you off of a cliff to see if you can fly. Some people can’t. Some people won’t.
You aren’t ‘some people.’
You are my son and I know that is more than my bias speaking when I say you can and you will do it.