As I write this, you're too young to read these words and understand what I'm about to tell you, but I hope one day you can look back on this letter and understand that everything your Daddy's done was because he loves you more than you'll ever know!
But first, I need to apologize. I'm sorry, son -- I'm sorry that your life won't be an easy one -- that you're the son of a man who believes anyone can accomplish anything as long as they're willing to work hard enough to get it. There'll be no free rides, no complaining that life isn't fair -- those with life handed to them on a silver platter often prove ill-equipped when the going gets rough, and if Daddy can promise you anything, it's that life will rarely be a cake walk!
Of course, your Daddy will always want to help, but you'll grow up in a world far different from mine, filled with children your age who make fortunes from both hard work and dumb luck. A world where communities spring up for any and every interest, with the rigid ways we've defined things growing ever more flexible by the day. Son, you can do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be -- but you'll have to fight tooth and nail every step of the way to show the world you're worth listening to. My job is to give you the skills and resources to make the most of your life -- yours is to make sure you don't take it for granted.
And don't think me so foolish to expect you to do everything perfectly right away -- your Daddy's made mistakes aplenty in his decades so far, but he never let them hold him back. Mistakes are things you learn from to make you better, not things to lament over with regret. You'll grow and develop in your own time, learning lessons from all over to make you the fine man I know you'll become.
But no matter what path you choose to take, the world's filled with no shortage of obstacles meant to figure out just how badly you want your goals, and you need to understand the rules of the game if you ever expect to beat it!
You don't get good grades to impress your parents -- you get them to give you options, letting you choose your destiny rather than have it chosen for you.
You don't find the right job for the money -- you seek one out that'll fulfill you and help you grow as a person, not make you feel stuck and held back due to your life choices.
You'll need to navigate your way through a world full of rules and expectations -- you can be the smartest kid in the room, but without credentials and experience the world can understand, you'll likely find more doors closed to you than you'd like, making it harder to get wherever you'd like to go -- but not impossible.
So be prepared to show the world what you're capable of time and time again -- people have the shortest of memories, and you'll need to continually prove yourself if you want to keep moving forward in life.
But this isn't about them -- it's about you. About standing by your principles, even when they seem unpopular. About giving back to the world without expecting anything in return, living off the fruits of your own labour to get by. And of course about knowing that you can't know where you're going without understanding where you've come from, and the place that you're from is a place of love. You won't be this age forever, running around with a perpetual grin on your face, filled with innocent curiosity as you try making sense of the huge world around you. You'll develop a vocabulary. Firm opinions. A sense of individuality that you'll swear your parents are trying to extinguish more and more the older you get.
We won't always get along -- we might not even be talking to each other sometimes... but know that you're one of the best things that ever happened to your Dad, and he wouldn't trade you for anything.
All I want for Father's Day is a son who's healthy and happy, living life to the fullest just like Daddy taught him. A son who'll go out and be the best he can be at whatever he chooses to do -- nothing will change the fact that he's my son, and that his Dad will always be proud of him. In fact, he already is.
And that won't change anytime soon.
Love, your Dad,
-- Casey Palmer
Casey Palmer is a Dad Blogger and proud Torontonian, trying to teach his fellow men that fatherhood isn't as scary as they think! You can find him on his website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube!
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