Saturday, May 11, 2013

For my sons on Mother's Day 2013

My precious boys, today is "Mother's Day" a holiday created by the fine folks at Hallmark cards to "honor" mom's and make sure that many a harried husband and child runs in desperation to their local Hallmark store to buy cards, presents, flowers, and try to throw money at mom to compensate for a years worth of use and abuse of the aforementioned mom. I know neither one of you is rolling in dough and there is nothing that costs money that I need this year. Please read the following list of things I would like for Mother's Day.

1. Remember you are loved today-and not just by me, by your Nana, your Nan, your aunties and uncles, both honorary and biological, and a myriad of other friends who have become our family through the years of your lives. The fact that you are loved is important, and not to be taken for granted. There are many lonely people in the world, and you too will also have times where you are very lonely, but you are now and will always be loved by me and by one another and you will never be alone.
2. Remember you are lucky. You will have good days and bad days, successes and terrible failures, regardless you are very lucky young men by virtue of the fact that you are caucasian, male, and citizens of the United States. Simply by the happenstance of your birth you are both luckier than the vast majority of human beings on the earth who live in poverty related to need, education, location, and discrimination. Please do not take this for granted-use the power you possess as educated young men to advocate for those in this world who do not have your voice. SPEAK UP when you see or hear injustice. Announce to any and all who would hear you that you believe in EQUALITY for all people, all over the world, all the time.
3. Remember where you came from-spend time with older people in your family and in your community. You have no idea how much they can tell you about who you are and why you are the way you are. So much of the people we become is nurtured, but lots of it comes from our ancestors-you both love science fiction and have so many qualities in common with your Daddy. As you get older you may think you need less guidance and advice and can figure everything out on your own. You can, but I promise you it will be harder than necessary. You can always learn something from every person you meet-even if it is learning what NOT to do-trust me, there are many mistakes of my own I truly hope neither of you chooses to repeat.
4. Remember to have faith-my own faith in God has changed throughout my life and continues to change as I continue to grow as a person. I do not expect either of you to have the same faith or beliefs that I have exactly, but I hope you will both find the peace of mind that comes with knowing that there is more to life than just existing in the here and now. My faith has sustained me through some of the most difficult moments of my life and allowed me to pick myself up and begin again, knowing always that God loves me just as I am and God loves you too now and forever.
5. Remember to work hard and be grateful for the opportunity to work. Too many people are without meaningful work and desperately want the opportunity to work and provide for themselves and their loved ones. Please, please take every opportunity you are given to develop your work ethic and find the profession that helps give meaning to your work life. Please show up for work on time, dressed appropriately and be nice to your coworkers. A good way to start this is to treat every job you have as an important one-whether you are busing tables in a restaurant or serving fries at McDonald's there is a way to do those jobs with enthusiasm and to do them to a high degree of quality. Your first job will not be the last one you ever have, but the impression you make on people at that first job can last forever.
6. Remember to laugh everyday, especially at yourself. Having a sense of humor is a very important survival skill, being able to laugh at yourself will help you be more successful in all of your relationships:work, family, school, love. Because you are human beings you will screw up and do things that make you look like a fool. If you are able to laugh when you spill something on yourself or spill something on your mother in law, you will be able to put other people at ease and allow them to be themselves too!
7. Remember to have manners. "Please" and "Thank you" may seem like old fashioned concepts, but people with manners are remembered in the best possible way, personally and professionally. You want to be the young man who makes eye contact and offers a firm handshake to a potential employer.

Always your mom and biggest fan

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