I’ve spent most of your life telling you, “a good man does the right thing even when no one is looking.” I hope those words matter to you. I hope you always strive to do the right thing. Do I think you always do the right thing? No. But perfection was never my expectation. I want for you to alway TRY to do the right thing. To always want to do the right thing…even when I am not watching. When that happens my job here will be done.
I have a question. An honest question- not a rhetorical (look it up) one. It’s one I may should have asked a long time ago. But I didn’t. Maybe I was too busy trying to create you into how I would answer this question—
Who do YOU want to be when people ARE looking?
Have I given you the tools to be who you want to be?
I’ve always encouraged you to lead…not follow. But I never asked-Do you want to be a leader?
I’ve taught you the importance of manners so you are well thought of by all the adults you meet. From all accounts I think you want this because I get constant reports on how well mannered you are in public.
My lessons have been that I a pro-teacher. I’ve taken the teachers side on more than one occasion. Occasions when your grades slipped or your mouth ranneth over. I’ve grounded and yelled and lectured and pleaded. But I don’t know that I ever asked,”do you care about being a good student?” Was being the life of the class, the one to make everyone laugh more important to you? I ask because I pushed you into harder class, asked for higher grades and demanded more attention to assignments. I made you take medicine that dulled your personality but improved your attention. Was that what you wanted?
You are so clever, so smart and so curious. I know standard test and normal lectures aren’t your style of learning. But test scores aren’t the only measure of your intelligence…did I make you think that they were?
Honest. Kind. Hard working….I can’t imagine that you don’t want those things for yourself.
In the pool you’ve created your own identity. I can’t take credit for one second of your determination, your heart, your drive or your character on the pool. When I see you swim—be it winning or losing–I think I see glimpses of the man you will be. And I am proud. I see you shake hands after every single race. And I am proud. I see you take the blocks and I am proud. I see you make goals and then work to achieve them…and I am proud. I hope the boy that swims is the man you want to be.
In the pool you earn respect. Not just from me but from others as well. I’ve heard little boys talk about you in awe. I’ve had adults come up and compliment you on races. I’ve seen you finish in times no one thought possible.
All that you are in the pool….that’s what I want you to be in life. In school, at work, in your relationships…do you want that too?
I also watch you try to be the life of the party– The funniest one in the room. I’ve seen you swagger into a room full of confidence and ego. Is that the you that you want to be?
I watch you being the kindest, most gentle and loving brother imaginable. I’ve also seen you be quite the jerk. Who do you want to be? That’s silly. I know who you want to be when it comes to your sisters. You are protective and proud and take your responsibilities of being the older brother seriously…I know the kind of brother you want to be and I think you, for the most part, are succeeding.
I’ve seen you handle responsibilities with a grace that most adults don’t posses. You’ve juggled advanced classes, daily swim practices, a job and your sisters and managed to smile all the while. I’ve also seen you get lost on video games and Netflix and forget things like senior picture appointments, chores and homework. I’ve seen you get so caught up in yourself that you’ve abandoned everything else. Which one do you want? Be careful not to get so caught up that your forget who you want the world to see.
Pickup truck and boots; a charcoal gray suit and bow tie, a speedo and goggles-I’ve seen you comfortable and at home in all of them.
The decisions you make now will all impact The Who you will someday be. At your age it’s so hard to understand that but it’s true.
Have fun, enjoy life, have experiences, work hard, find a passion but don’t rush life, always take time to be kind and always make decisions you can be proud of. No matter who you want to be I believe these things matter.
No matter who you want to be I can’t help but offer some advice that will ring true for anything you decide to do or be. No matter what path you want in life these will help get you there. You’ve heard it all before but I am your momma and it’s my job to keep reminding you of these things:
- Work before you play.
- Early is on time and on time is late.
- School is your job.
- Treat girls with respect. Always ask yourself ‘how would I want a guy treating kinsley or Sadie?’ And act accordingly.
- There is a time to work and a time to play.
- You earn privileges.
- Life isn’t fair.
- Earn what you want.
- Treat everyone kindly.
- Trust and respect have to be earned. And kept. Neither are guaranteed.
- Make a promise-keep a promise.
- Open car doors and hold doors for strangers
- Be thankful
- Every girl you meet is someone’s daughter or sister
- You never know who is watching.
- Honesty is always the best policy.
- So everything with sincerity.
- Make time for family.
- Driving is one of those privileges…not a right.
- Don’t forget to pray.
- Always look for ways to help.
- Turn off and unplug sometimes so you don’t miss out on life
- Get outdide sometimes
Remember I am always your biggest fan,