1. Always strive to see the good in the world. - It's easy to read the headlines of the day and see only darkness. There is hatred, intolerance, corruption and destruction all around us. But there is also love, acceptance, honesty and creation. The good outweighs the bad in big and little ways every day. Neighbors offer their hands to those in need. Nations offer their wealth to those in crisis. More often than not, mankind moves forward, not backwards. It may be hard at times to see, but the good is always there for those who look.
2. Work to BE the good in our world. - We lead best when we lead by example. If you wish to live in a better world, then be that example. Focus on what is good in others. Ask how you can help. Know that you are fortunate and want to share that fortune with your fellow man. Something as simple as looking someone in the eye and saying hello can sometimes be the difference between life and death. We are all connected. Strive to make those connections good ones because you never know how the smallest gesture, good or bad, will resonate with others.
3. Recognize the value of you. - Our culture often puts too much importance on looks or fame or wealth. None of that matters. Being you, being here, makes you just as valuable as ANYONE else in this world. Never feel you have to look a certain way, hold a certain title, or have a particular amount of money to be relevant. The spark that is inside of you is here for a reason, and the fact that you are here is reason enough to matter. Live, love, and be. There is great value in simply that.
4. Never be afraid to stop and breathe. - Life can be crazy and hectic and sometimes overwhelming. If you spend all your time rushing to the next event or goal or moment, you can't truly appreciate the one you're in. There is beauty and peace in nature, music, and even silence. Know that you can close your eyes, take a deep breath, and commit to the moment. Whether it is to regroup and settle your thoughts or to validate and enjoy the moment you're in, simply stopping has great value. Take the time to live the life you've been given.
5. Know that you are loved. - Most importantly, and because it fuels so much of what I wish for you above, know that you are loved beyond words. Relationships can be difficult and anger may arise, but the core of what I feel for you is always love. I want you to be healthy. I want you to be happy. I want you just to be. The privilege of being your father is an enormous gift, and I am thankful for it every day of my life. Never, for a single moment, doubt that I love you and that I always will.
*originally posted to The Handsome Father