Today, my son Connor heads off to a school retreat for the day. As part of the process, we were asked to write a letter that he could read during the retreat. We were encouraged to write about how we feel about him; things that make us proud of him; our hopes and dreams for him, what a fantastic person he has become, etc. This is what he will read sometime today …
Every single day, I am so very proud of you, and who you are becoming. It is not because you get good grades, or you stay out of trouble, or have a nice sense of humor … it is simply because deep down inside, you know exactly who you are; an intelligent, passionate, independent and thoughtful young man. Equally as important is the fact that you possess the self confidence and awareness to choose your own course and not be swayed by others along your journey.
I am always impressed by your ability to absorb information, digest the facts, form your own opinions and ground yourself in what you believe to be right and avoid what is wrong. As you explore different scenarios in this complex world, your boundaries undoubtedly will be challenged, but I am confident your thought process and ability to choose the right path will successfully guide you. This is your internal compass; trust it to continue to show you the way.
The passion within you, whether it be for gaming, academics, music, or fencing, is very strong. It drives you forward and compels you to do better, to try harder. Yet, you don’t wear your passions nor your emotions on your sleeve. You are too mature and thoughtful for that. These passions are your fuel; feed them and let them drive you forward.
At the heart of who you are, is your individuality. You are self aware and comfortable with yourself. You don’t let anyone steer you anyplace you don’t want to go. When things don’t make sense to you or don’t appeal to you, you respectfully refuse to follow. Your ability to be grounded in yourself allows you to be open to all the opportunities that await you in life and make good choices. This is your road to happiness; when you stray away from it, take care to keep your eyes on it so that you will always find your way back.
You possess a great sense of humor. Your intelligent and subtle delivery may not always be understood by your current peer group, but as you grow and expand your community, you will find it an effective way to communicate to a variety of people across many different walks of life. This is great gift that should be nurtured; use it to spread joy whenever possible.
Connor, my hopes and dreams for you are pretty simple. I wish for you to recognize all of the talents and traits I have written about, as well as those I haven’t mentioned. These are the things that make me so proud of you. Embrace these things and use them in pursuit of your hopes and dreams, nobody else’s, whatever you choose them to be. I will be there to love you and support you, always.
I hope I haven’t embarrassed him too much, and more than anything else, I hope there is nothing in the letter above that I haven’t already said to him a million times. Our children should always know exactly how we feel about them.