To My Sons,
You are so little right now, so small and so sweet. Your lives revolve around naps, playing, eating, and bedtime. Daddy’s your hero and Grandma’s your best friend. As long as there is apple juice in the fridge and episodes of your favorite cartoon on the DVR, everything is okay. Life is simple. But before I know it, you will be all grown up. These are (just a few) of the things I hope to teach you.
#1 Be Grateful
You won’t always get the toy you want so badly. But look around you and see all that you already have. I want you to know how lucky you are. You have parents, grandparents and siblings who love you. You have a home to live in, clothes to wear, food to eat, books to read, and toys to play with. As a parent I hope to instill a sense of contentment in you.
#2 Love Each Other
You will have your differences and fights over the years. You will struggle to share. You might feel jealous of each other at times. Please try to always love each other. You are brothers for life. Treat each other with respect and be kind. One day your dad and I won’t be here anymore, but your brother will be.
#3 You Are Beautiful
Girls get a lot of attention in the media these days when it comes to body image and self esteem. I don’t want you to be forgotten. You are beautiful (not just handsome, beautiful) just the way you are. Your body won’t look exactly the same as everyone else’s, but it is capable of amazing things. Take good care of it, and respect it. Set your own boundaries.
#4 You Can Do Anything*
*If you work really hard. Sometimes really, really hard. If you are willing to put in the time and effort I believe you can learn and accomplish anything you set your mind to. Try not to say “I can’t” because you can. If you are struggling, ask for help. Find an expert, find a mentor, do your research. Don’t give up!
#5 Remember Your Manners
Good manners are an essential life skill. If someone tells you “nice guys finish last” be a nice guy anyways. Hold doors open. Be quiet during movies. Chew with your mouth closed. Help people carry heavy things. Say “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me.” Try to limit the burps and farts.
#6 How to Hold a Conversation
In a world of texting and twitter, this is a lost art. Put away your cell phone (or whatever device is cool now) and listen when other people talk. Ask questions, and show genuine interest. A conversation (face to face) is one of the best ways to get to know another human being. I hope you find at least one person in life who you want to stay up all night talking to.
#7 Manage Your Money
There is so much to learn about money, and I hope I do a good job teaching you. I want you to understand debt, credit and savings. I want you to not just understand the value of a dollar, but also how much your time is worth. I want you to save for your own future, and to feel the pride that comes with paying cash for a big purchase. Learn from your parents mistakes. I want you to avoid debt and feel secure.
#8 To Love Books
You are growing up in an age of technological innovations. You’ve been surrounded by screens since birth! But don’t forget about books. You are blessed to be growing up in a house full of books, not all kids are so lucky. The ability to read is an important skill that you shouldn’t take for granted, and the books we own are a privilege (plus, you don’t have to charge them!). There are amazing stories to be found and lessons to be learned from books. Read to learn, read to have fun. Recommend good books to your friends, and tell me about your favorites. Take good care of your books, they are special.
#9 Be Nurturing
Don’t let anyone give you a hard time for being nurturing. You can change the direction of a person’s day (and perhaps life) with a loving touch, a sincere hug, or by wiping away a tear. Learn how to make babies smile, and how to soothe them when they cry. Recognize when your friends are struggling and offer them a shoulder to cry on. Be gentle, be caring. The mushy gushy stuff is not just for girls.
#10 How To Cook (& Grocery Shop!)
I promise, before you graduate high school you will know your way around the kitchen. Cooking is not “for girls” – cooking is for people who like to eat! I want to teach you how to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a really good batch of chocolate chip cookies. You will know your way around the grocery store, be able to read a recipe, and most importantly make delicious food for yourself and your loved ones.
& a Bonus – #11 I Will Love You No Matter What
I want you to choose your own hobbies, passions, friends, and jobs. I want you to make (just a few) bad choices, and get into some trouble. You are your own unique person. Don’t worry about what you think your dad and I want you to do or be. Don’t be scared to come talk to us when you are in trouble or unsure. We will always love you no matter what.
Fellow boy moms, anything you would add to my list?