A father’s letter to his son on his birthday on making mistakes, facing fears and seizing the day

Sunday, September 09, 2012

There's a unique bond that mothers have with their children, and fathers with their sons and daughters. Each parent plays a different role. Society gives more credit to mothers when it comes to raising a child. However, a father plays a very important role, too.

My son once said,

“There simply are no words to describe the role and importance of a dad.
  NO dictionary will tell you the real meaning of the word, DAD.
  However, one strong word could summarize a dad, LOVE.
  This power exceeds any other,
  This bond is unbreakable,
  NO tragedy can move it,
  NO earthquake waver it.
  It is the strongest thing in the universe.”

I’m sure most fathers turn sentimental when theirs sons celebrate another milestone in their lives.  Last week, our third child celebrated his 17th birthday, and my husband wrote him something that I thought was worth sharing. ( Permission granted)

As you begin your 18th year, you have crossed into the young-adult stage of your life.  It’s a wonderful time that will present you with opportunities to achieve great things, and to make mistakes where the lessons will last a lifetime and where the feared consequences will disappear like footprints in the sand. 

Our fear of mistakes is often the wall that separates us from our goals.  This fear encourages inaction because we mistakenly believe that the consequence of being wrong is negative, long-lived, and debilitating.  But time always moves on, and what we often call “mistakes” are actually life’s invaluable opportunities to learn and improve.  Time presents a continuous flow of opportunities over our lifetime.  We cannot slow it down, nor speed it up. We can, however, accept it.  Let time do its job, and take advantage of the opportunities it delivers to us, casting aside our misplaced fears and rationalizations to not act, and seize them. 

Opportunities can arrive in rapid fire succession.  It can be hard to decide which to pursue, and which to dismiss.  One criterion to consider is to weigh the upside of each opportunity, and choose those with the highest potential.  This approach seems obvious, for why would anyone choose to cast aside the great opportunities in favor of the small?  The answer is because many people fear the downside of the choosing the great opportunities. Choosing a small opportunity seems less risky, for how much can it hurt to fall out of a basement window?  But by choosing the small ones over the great ones, we ensure that the outcome will be capped at something less than what could have been.  Falling out of a basement window certainly doesn’t hurt, but in the end you are in a basement.  This is a path to “could have”.  It’s that fear-thing kicking in again.  It’s not our friend.

Luckily for us, our children are blessed with big hearts and a passion for following their dreams no matter how difficult or uncertain the paths may be. 

(guest writer, Craig. (aka GottaLoveDad)

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