[above: artist’s rendition of author’s father]
My father is a great, great man. Now, almost everyone says that about their fathers, but keep in mind that, frankly, anyone who shares DNA with yours truly is guaranteed to be a genetic mastodon. Luckily, through what I am about to share with you, this Father’s Day you can have the treasured gift of pretending that he is also *your* father, which more importantly lets you pretend that you and *I* are related. If that’s too overwhelming for you to accept here, feel free to contact me and I can give you my Paypal details for payment before you read on.
In addition to being a very high-level professional, my father was an amazing and involved parent who fostered my love of technology at an early age *and* taught me a lot about leadership, both in how he led our family and how he led his staff at the office (he was in a leadership role pretty much from the 1st year of his career until the day he retired). Generally I agree with Clarence Kelland’s statement of “My father didn’t tell me how to live, he only lived and let me watch him do it”, except of course that this post is actually regarding my father, well, telling me how to live!
This is an excerpt from a letter I received from him on my 21st birthday. This advice went a long way into shaping the person I am today and is almost completely applicable to anyone, with the exception of “Know that I and your Mom will always love you and that we will always be here for you – no matter what” – you’ll have to ask him that one personally. If reading this benefits you half as much as it has me in the years since I’ve read it, I think you’ll be pretty happy with where you are heading.
I know that parents are biased in favor of their children – so it should be, otherwise we wouldn’t be parents – but I know in my heart that you are genuinely one of the best. Certainly you are that for me. You are a special guy – and a special son. All of these things make me proud of you. And I would like you to know that.
So today on your 21st birthday I would like to share with you some of the things that I think you
should hold on to on your journey through the many other milestones still to come in your life:
Never forget your friends – they are one of the mainstays in life. Always remember and appreciate those who have helped you.
When you have the chance, help them back.
Do your best to bear up under the obstacles and losses that will confront you on the way to where you want to be – they are a part of everybody’s life.
Risk making a mistake from time to time and never look back. A mistake is never a failure. It is an opportunity to begin anew, with learning that we didn’t have before.
Overcome the bitterness that tries hard to accompany defeat and find in times of disappointment, the beauty of tomorrow.
Be a victor over anger.
Smile even when tears would try to wipe you out.
Learn to hate hate and to love love.
Go on even when it would seem good to die.
Look up with unquenchable faith in yourself and in that which you want to be.
Pursue your dreams and make them happen, because that is what the world is made of.
Know that I and your Mom will always love you and that we will always be here for you – no matter what.
And there are several things that I want to wish you – not only for your 21st birthday, but for the whole of your life:
I wish you happiness in whatever you do
I wish you good health
I wish you a mate some day whose love will match your own
I wish you the joys of a family and the memories of good times with your children
I wish you the knowledge of being a good father
I wish you continued friendships that are tried and true
I wish you all the success that I think you very much deserve
I wish you the ability to see yourself as I believe many others around you see you – then you will indeed know what a fine person you are
I wish you love
I wish that the important dreams you have for yourself will come true
I wish you God’s blessing
P.S. I wish for you also the discipline to GO TO CLASS, PICK YOUR CLEAN CLOTHES UP OFF THE FLOOR, BRUSH YOUR TEETH, AND BUY THE BAG-LADY OR THE GUY ON THE STREET A SANDWICH OR A CUP OF COFFEE INSTEAD OF GIVING HIM MONEY THAT HE WILL JUST SPEND ON BOOZE!