If someone asked me, "in 20 years time what would I wish for my son?"
Happiness. In a word Happiness.
If I could condense my knowledge into one quote, this is it :
"It is the people and the experiences in this life that will bring you joy, don't strive for material possessions or social status. There will always be those with more and those with less, only compare yourself to the person looking back at you in the mirror. When you climb into bed at night, may you have a clear conscience and a full heart."
I would want him to know, every man has within him the inherent strength to be a hero.
To rise above the circumstances you are born into and become whatever you choose to be. To be a hero for the ones you love.
To be their rock in times of need. To give them hope.
If you have nothing to give but your time, often that is enough.
If people come to you for advice, listen. Be patient, listen and listen some more. Sometimes letting people vent is enough to help them immensely.
Be strong but not cold. Don't hide from hurt, embrace it.
You will cry a lot in this life, and that's ok. You will cry when you're hurting You will cry when you're frustrated. You will cry when your heart is broken. And if you grow into the man I'd like you to be, you will cry the most when you've hurt the ones you love.
No man is perfect, but in imperfection we grow, we learn and we move forward.
I pray you never stop making mistakes and consequently never stop learning.
Treat everyone with respect. But only share your time with those who respect you.
We only have limited minutes on this earth.
Don't spend them trying to impress people who don't love your honesty.
Being YOU will always impress the right kind of people.
Never worry about "playing the field" it's not a numbers game.
You will know in your heart when you find the one. They will set your heart ablaze, they will be the piece of you that was missing.
I was 19 when I met your mother, so, never pay attention to naysayers. If it's love, you'll know.
If it's not love, then treat the same way you'd like to be treated.... Honestly.
When you have your own family, realise your life will change completely. It will be the most beautiful and selfless thing you can ever do as a human being.
However, it's not without challenges.
Becoming a father was without doubt the most tumultuous time in my life.
Realise it's Ok to not be great at it in the beginning.
Everything worthwhile takes time, and day by day it gets easier and more enjoyable.
If you need help, seek out your friends who have gone down this road before you.
Their advice can be invaluable.
Even so, you may need professional help and that's ok too.
Life is hard sometimes and the pressure our society puts on you to raise the perfect family can weigh heavily on even the strongest of us.
The best advice I can give about being a father is "Don't just be there. Be present"
It's easy to take your loved ones for granted. Be mindful of this.
Life is beautiful. You will have triumphs, losses, great days and days where you don't want to face what's beyond your own front door.
When you're having a great day, breathe it in. Absorb the moment and be completely present. It unfortunately won't last forever.
When you're having a bad day. Do the same. It also, won't last forever.
Take from this advice what you can and discard the rest.
At the end of the day, each man must walk their chosen path, but it's an easier path to walk with the support of your loved ones.
You are my son. I love you and I am proud of everything that you are and everything you will one day strive to be.