A Letter To My Son On His 18th Birthday

Seth 10.6Dear Son,

Happy Birthday!

You have waited patiently for this day. The day you become your own man. The day you can live life by your own rules. The day you can make your own decisions. I hope this day is everything you imagined, but, before you go and celebrate, we wanted to tell you a few things we wish we had known when we were 18.

  1. Being an adult is not about fun and freedom. It’s about character. Make wise choices and well thought out decisions. Consider all of your actions with your future in mind, because everything you do will have an effect on your life in some way. Study each situation and have the proper perspective. There is no such thing as an easy decision.
  2. Remember, every single decision you make, action you take and sentence you speak will have an effect on others. You may not know the individuals you affect, but you will affect someone. Always take that into consideration. Everyone is free to do and say as they please. However, once your actions or words are impeding on someone else’s rights, human decency needs to come into play.
  3. See beyond the surface of those around you. Pay attention. Everyone is dealing with some sort of demon. Their smiles don’t necessarily mean happiness. Offer to help. When we reach out to others, it brings meaning and purpose into our lives.
  4. If there is jealousy or misunderstandings toward you, repay the ugliness with kindness, love, understanding and forgiveness. Love everyone… even those who are hard to love.
  5. Be respectful to everyone… always… no exceptions. Everyone deserves respect. Even if someone is treating you poorly, treat him or her with respect. It shows character and strength. We are all different in so many ways and, no matter our differences, we are all the same on the inside.
  6. Treat a woman like a Queen. Always ask permission. Always use your best manners (open doors, hold hands, introduce her, say please and thank you, let her order first). Pay attention. Listen to her when she speaks. Thank her for the things she does. Compliment her and don’t expect anything in return. If you’re unhappy with your relationship, be honest and leave. NEVER cheat! Always be honest. Don’t put her down and don’t EVER hit!
  7. Always take the high road. No matter the situation or how you are being treated, take the high road. Don’t sink to another person’s level. It’s never worth the consequences.
  8. Don’t burn bridges. You never know when you will run into that person or company again in your life and will need to depend on one of them. Always keep every relationship in the green… even if you don’t really care too much about said person or company.
  9. Remember who you are. Decide what is important to you and define your values. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. Don’t be afraid to be you.
  10. Intelligence and wisdom are not the same. Intelligence is the ability to learn. Wisdom is using knowledge and experience to make good choices. Many intelligent people have no idea how to put their knowledge to use. You are a very smart young man. Use your knowledge to help you create a wonderful life.
  11. You’re a very kind person with a beautiful heart. Stay that way. Don’t let the ugliness of this world have any effect on you.
  12. Be the very best you can be in all circumstances. If you don’t put your full effort into whatever it is you’re doing, then it’s not worth doing. You won’t get the result you’re looking for. You won’t learn what you need to learn. It’s not worth your time.
  13. Don’t quit when the going gets rough. Life is full of difficulties and each one will make you stronger and a better person. Learn from your struggles, try a little harder and get it done.
  14. Know when you are wrong, admit your mistake and ask for forgiveness. No excuses.
  15. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to. So, don’t doubt your abilities. On the other hand, don’t think too highly of yourself, either. Humility is a strong characteristic.
  16. There is no substitute for hard work. The process of working toward a goal can be as rewarding as the achievement itself.
  17. Never stop learning. There’s a whole world to be explored beyond the classroom… long after graduation.
  18. Refuse to have “what ifs”. The only things in life you’ll regret are the risks you don’t take.
  19. Keep an open mind. Others will often have ideas worth pursuing. Don’t assume you’re right just because you were taught or raised to do something a certain way or believe a specific view. The world is full of ideas and possibilities.
  20. Listen more than you speak. You will learn and achieve more by paying attention to others and trying to understand their point of view than trying to get others to pay attention to you and prove your own point of view. Plus, people always appreciate being heard.
  21. Volunteer at something you are passionate about. Giving without expecting anything in return is the best way to learn about life, about others and about you.
  22. Keep your promises. Trust is earned and, once it is lost, it’s incredibly difficult to earn back. If you’re fortunate enough to receive someone’s trust, don’t give it away.
  23. Value your family. We are the ones who will be there for you no matter what… without judgment… without question… we love you unconditionally.
  24. Make friends with those who respect you as much as you respect them, with those who will be honest with you and appreciate your honesty in return and with those who are willing to lend an ear as much as they are willing to ask for yours.
  25. Be safe. This sounds easy. However, life is a challenge no matter what path you take. You will always have temptations of all sorts. Just walk away. They may seem like fun, but the outcome is always an ugly picture.
  26. Trust in God. He has a plan for you. He always listens. When you feel overwhelmed or scared or unsure… Give it to God. He will always guide you and watch over you. When you feel happy or blessed or thankful… Give it to God. Praise Him. He has provided you with a wonderful life.
  27. When all else fails, when you need an answer you just can’t come up with on your own, when you need to bounce an idea off of someone or when you just need to talk… Call your Mom!! I can fix anything!

Son, you are an amazing young man. Your love for your family, your work ethic, your sense of humor and your drive to give and help others are just a few of the things that make us proud. No words can adequately describe our love for you. We are blessed to call you our son…. And, today, we are pleased to call you a man.

Love Always and Forever,

Dad and Mom

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