Hey Hubski -
So my sons 12 year old birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks. About a week or so ago I had gotten an idea and some inspiration to write him a letter/poem of sorts to give to him on his birthday. I wanted to try and pass on some words of wisdom to him as he moves on into his teenage years. I believe I have finished it up at this point, but I'm struggling to come up with some ideas on how to give it to him. I'd like for it to be something that he can keep and read again as he gets older. I don't want to just print it out on a piece of paper and hand it to him or stick it in a card. The only thing I've really been able to come up with so far is to take his sketch book, and write it in there (his mother is an artist and he likes to draw some - so he keeps a sketchbook around typically). I'm wondering if any of you might have some other thoughts and ideas that would be interesting and make it something memorable and easy to hold onto and not lose over time.
To give you an idea of what I need to transcribe or put on or in something, I'll share the words below. Please do bear in mind that I am not a writer of any real sort. I have always been interested in writing and poetry, but I've only ever dabbled in writing thoughts and poems in journals (and even that is fairly sparse). I've never studied writing formally or anything like that. So I have most likely broken many, if not all, of the rules of prose and possibly made many grammar mistakes as well. I tend to just go with what feels like it get's my sentiment across and flows well in my head. I also realize that, although I tried to keep everything on a level he would be able to grasp right now, I may have gotten a little carried away at times and gotten a little too heady for a 12 year old. Which is a major point of why I want to find a way to deliver this to him that will stay with him over time. So that he grows with this and it's not just a once read and tossed kind of thing.
So with that, let me know what you think.
Ode to My Son, 12 Years Old
My Son, my lineage.
On your journey to becoming a man.
I would like to share the following words with you.
To impart upon you some of my thoughts and feelings.
My hope is that you may carry these words with you.
That they may be of some use or comfort.
As you navigate along your journey to become your own man in this complicated world.
I trust in you to always try.
To do what you believe to be right.
To have empathy and compassion.
To be decent and just.
I trust, you would come to me should questions arise.
To seek out my experiences, and learnings.
To understand my triumphs and defeats.
To learn from.
To grow from.
I know I won't always have the best answer.
I know you may not always like what I have to say.
But there is nothing you should ever fear to confide in me with.
No subject, taboo.
No words, off limits.
I will always do my best to help you along your way.
It is said that no man is an island.
I believe that to be true.
Yet, even for me, it can be difficult to ask for help.
Independence is important.
But together, most often, more can be achieved.
For every man is built upon those who came before him.
His knowledge to be compounded to a sum greater than their parts.
Each experience shared, pieces from every man, are stories to gather from.
Tales of good and bad, all hold truths to be found.
Truths to uncover.
To stack upon each other.
To grow your collection of experiences whether you lived them, or not.
Words, thoughts, feelings.
That you can take and make a part of you.
To shape yourself how you want.
To become whatever man you want to be.
Which is not always easy to figure out.
Be mindful of the company you keep.
Surround yourself with people you admire.
With people who build you up, not bring you down.
But then, never underestimate the power of solitude.
To clear your mind.
To re-ground yourself.
To re-center yourself.
Life is often, if not always, about balance.
The Yin and the Yang.
Seek out the things that bring you joy.
Allow yourself to feel sadness.
It is impossible to always feel elated.
And dangerous to always feel sorrow.
So most importantly, seek out the things that bring you inner peace.
Life, is not exactly easy.
But then, it is not exactly hard either.
It truly is all what you make of it.
Times will be hard.
Times will be easy.
Most often, it will seemingly be both.
How you choose to look at any given situation, is exactly that.
You always have a choice in how you react, in how you perceive.
Perception is one of our greatest powers.
And being able to choose what color glasses you want to look at the world through, can make all the difference.
Passion and Purpose.
Passion often comes on like a fire.
Passion often extinguishes just like a fire.
It can be wonderful when it strikes like a lightning bolt.
But it is often just as fleeting.
As you contemplate the future, contemplate your purpose.
In order to build a life out of a passion, you must find the purpose beneath it as well.
You must develop a purpose and a plan that can carry you forward.
Through all of the times when your passion cannot be found.
For your passion will come and go.
But your purpose will always stay true.
You are amazing.
You are unique.
Your life, is your story, nobody elses.
You write your story however you want.
Strive to write yourself the best version of you that you can think of.
What kind of person is the star character in your story going to be?
Think of all the things that would make him the best version of that character.
Then go out, and live those things.
And you will become that best version of you.
Do not fret if things are not perfect.
They rarely, if ever, are.
Learn to appreciate imperfections.
For each and every one of us has them.
And those imperfections are yet another element that shapes us.
No one is exempt.
Learn that most anything can be overcome.
Rarely do we get things right on the first try.
Practice really does make perfect, as they say.
Or maybe better said, nearer perfect.
Again, perception, is everything.
Make the world perfect in your perception of it.
Filled with wonderful little imperfections.
Kids will remember things their parents tell them. We can't control how or what they remember, but they will. Probably more than words, they remember the things you do together and how we support them.
Your message to your son is beautiful. You are right that it might be a little too heady for a 12-year-old. Hang on to a copy and take it out again when he's 19.
I love the section on passion and purpose.