As I start to write this, my son is with the Rancho Cotate Cougers Varsity Football team to play his last game of the regular season. This was his sophomore year and he moved straight from his freshman team to the Varsity squad.
He is 15 years old and a hulking 5 foot 10 inch 230 pound mass of strength and grace. He’s seen quite a few accomplishments in his own life already, a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, 8th grade class president, MVP on the Frosh Soft football squad, an accomplished shot put and discus player.
He’s had some challenges regarding his academics but has now been showing the discipline and rigor that I never had in school. He is a good friend because of his kind and considerate heart, and is a polite and respectful young man. He is a constant source of inspiration for me. I am happy to see both his maturity and personality grow into the wonderful man that I know that he will be.
The thing I love most about my son is that he has confidence in who he is, not because off the achievements he’s accomplished or the things that he’s acquired but because of that passion, that fire in the belly that is such a fleeting thing for so many men, both young and old. He is happy, humble and nice.
I remember talking to his mom when she was pregnant with him. I told her that beyond any accomplishment, I want him to grow up to be a nice man. I didn’t care if he was coordinated, good at sports, or had a face only we could love. I wanted him to be a nice man. Nice seems to be an overlooked or misused word. Nice does not mean a push over, it does not mean that you allow someone to trample all over you. It means that you are kind, considerate, speak genuinely from the heart, and are not afraid to dream big and chase them readily. And my son grew up to be nice… He also has so much richness in his life.
So, with that….
I direct this final few sentences to you, Steven. Life is short. Things will come and go. Your high school, football, college, career… they will all start and end. Know that you make me proud each and every day, simply through the accomplishments that you achieve when you hold the door for someone at a store, when you offer to help me around the house, when you show kindness and consideration on a daily basis to everyone that you come in contact with. You, son, inspire me to be the man that I am. The honor and privilege of being your father has taught me things about myself that I never knew I had inside.
Steven, there is no real reason that I’m writing this. This is not a milestone event, although I am very happy for you in this season and the great job you’ve done on the field and as a good team mate to your squad. There doesn’t have to be a reason though. You are on my mind and I feel overwhelmed by the love I have for you. You will accomplish great things in your life and I will look forward to seeing them come to fruition.
As you grow up and come into your adulthood, my hope for you will be that you will know what things are important to you. Your friends, your integrity, your family, and perhaps your sons or daughters will be the things that will be most important to you. Good things will always come your way. I know this because you know how to identify them.
You will not read this till after you’ve come home. I want you to win tonight, but I know that however the outcome, you will be okay with it and know that you’ve done your best. I will be there. I’m not too loud at the games, I don’t hollar and hoot, but my heart sings for joy for the fact that you are out there with your other 10 team mates and you are doing what you love to do so much.
I love you,