10 Things I Learned From You

“You can’t just give up on someone because the situation’s not ideal. Great relationships aren’t great because they have no problems. They’re great because both people care enough about the other person to find a way to make it work.”

Wow, 10 years goes by quickly! So much changes in 10 years, yet so much stays the same. Ten years ago, September 26, 2009, my wife, Christine, and I stood in front of our family and friends to dedicate our lives and our love to one another. As I stood at that alter I knew I probably couldn’t do better than her, and I figured that I was probably just another part of her charity work. Obviously, I’m joking. I’m one hell of a catch!

But seriously, from the beginning of our relationship she has saved me and stood by me countless times. She inspires me to expand my spectrum of thinking, to be a better person – something I fail at more often than not, yet she’s still here. She’s always been there, through all the highs and lows, teaching me what it takes to be a better person.

So, in honor of our 10th wedding anniversary, and since people used to say she looked like Julia Stiles (10 Things I Hate About You), here are 10 lessons I have learned from my wife over the years.

  1. Accepting another’s beliefs doesn’t compromise your own. We are all different but that doesn’t mean we can’t coexist. We can accept others without losing our own identity. 
  2. Unless you invest in yourself no one else will. If you believe in yourself, others will follow. Christine exudes confidence even when she doubts herself. I believe in her because she makes everyone believe she can move mountains.
  3. Emotions don’t make you weak, they build strength through understanding and compassion. Vulnerability is the basis of growth. Showing your emotions shows your vulnerability. It shows that you are human.
  4. Your past doesn’t define you, the lessons you learn from it do. We all make mistakes. We all have a flawed history. But that doesn’t mean that those mistakes will create a flawed future. Learning from those mistakes will make you better, wiser, and more prepared.
  5. Comfort zones are for the complacent. We are only given this one life so make it an adventure. By stepping out of your comfort zone you learn what you are made of, what truly gives you joy.
  6. A soft tone is the key to parenting. This may be the most important and the one I struggle with the most. When I lose my temper with my son, not only does it make him feel worse, it makes me feel like $#!+ as well. I’m still learning and with her help the soft tone will become standard.
  7. There’s nothing that a fire, a glass of whiskey, and a conversation can’t fix. Tell me a time you didn’t feel better around a campfire. It promotes conversation. It promotes understanding. There’s something to that Kumbaya mumbo-jumbo.
  8. Run toward, not away. It doesn’t matter if it’s Halloween, or we’re on Pleasure Island, we can’t run away from our problems. They will be there until we run toward them to solve them and move on.
  9. It’s never too late. Whether it’s finding happiness, chasing your dreams, or going to Blue Karaoke, it’s never too late in life, or in the night, to live your best life.
  10. Just breathe. Even if you can’t because you just broke your ribs, remember to relax and “just breathe.” Everything will be ok.

Thank you for the last 10 years. Thank you for all the lessons. Here’s to the years to come, and remember to Save The Last Dance.

And as you always do,

Be Good. Do Good.

ABCs for My Boys

ABCs for My Boys

“Each letter of the alphabet is a steadfast soldier in a great army of words, sentences, paragraphs, and stories. One letter falls, and the entire language falters.” ~ Vera Nazarian

 

One of the first things we learn as children are the ABCs. They are the foundation of our language. Individually they are just letters. But together they make words, which together make sentences, which together make up communication. Each letter helps to tell us a story, teach us a lesson, give us information to pass on to generations to come. So, to my boys, these are the ABCs I pass onto you.

dvocate. For others. For animals. For anyone and anything who needs a voice to fight for their rights.

B e true to yourself. Others will undoubtedly try to influence you or take advantage of you in some way. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe.

C atch your breath. These days everyone is trying to do more, have more, be more. They try to cram so much into each and every day that they burn out. Take time each day to relax, reflect, meditate, and breathe.

D on’t ever give up on your dreams! Whether you dream to be an astronaut, a doctor, a professional athlete, or a man who disconnects from this world to live off the land, you are the author of your story. Don’t let others edit the outcome.

E ach day is a new day. With each new day there are new decisions to be made. Although the choices you made yesterday, last week, last month may affect you today, today is different than yesterday, and tomorrow will be different than today. So always ask yourself, “How can I make today great?”

F ind beauty in the world. This world can seem like a cold, dark place but there is beauty all around. In nature. In the person you pass every day. In the simple words you hear when you are struggling. Find the beauty in every moment.

G ive. Give your time. Give yourself. If you have more than you need, give to those who need more than they have.

H old your head high. Losses will come. You won’t always be right. You will have trials and tribulations. Through it all be confident that you will learn from each and improve.

I magine. Great ideas come from those who imagine great things. Innovation is driven by the imagination that something can be better. Don’t lose your imagination because it will forever bring you joy.

J ump into the darkness. It is normal to be afraid, but don’t let your fear keep you from doing something you will remember for a lifetime. We don’t know what each day will bring so take a chance, and JUMP!

K iss and hug. Affection can heal. Affection can save. Affection can warm. A kiss, a hug, they are the simplest ways of saying “you are loved, you are accepted, I am here for you.”

L isten, learn, laugh, and love. If you don’t take anything else from this, please read this one over and over. Listen to others. Your voice doesn’t always have to be heard. Just by listening you can spark change. Never stop learning. The more you know the more you’ll grow. Nothing cures sadness like laughter. Laugh fully, laugh often. Love freely. The amount of love we can give and receive is infinite so spread your love.

M ake memories. Chances are, as you get older, you aren’t going to remember what the toy was that you got for your 6th birthday. You know what you will remember? The wonders you got to see, the places you got to go, the adventures you got to live. Fill your life with experiences instead of things. Fill your life with memories.

N o one will ever love you as much as your mother. People will come and go from your life but the one who has been there from the day your hearts started to beat together is the same person who will be there for you in every success, every failure, and every moment in between. Love her, cherish her.

O pen yourself up to the possibility of getting hurt. I wish I could tell you that you are never going to feel pain. There will be failure in your life, you will get your heart broken, you will experience loss, but our greatest lessons in life come from these. If there isn’t a possibility of getting hurt it’s probably not that important.

P lay. No matter how busy your life gets find time to play. It can be as simple as a game of cards, building a castle in the sand, or jumping off rocks on a hike. Our lives become so structured that our minds and bodies need that unstructured play that we have as kids. Never stop playing.

Q uestion. The greatest change comes from those who question. Listen but make your own conclusions based on the information and what you know is right.

ead. Do you want to know the one thing that will keep you young? Reading. You can never know too much so read everything you can. You can never get too lost in a story. A good book can make you feel every emotion. Read to learn, read to escape, read for fun.

S tay humble. You can accomplish great things but you will always need the help and support of others. Know you can’t do it alone and be sure to thank those who have helped you along the way.

T each others. We learn most from what we can teach others. We learn our own comprehension. We learn the ability of others. We sometimes learn that not everything we thought we knew is true. Teach so that you can learn.

U se your talents for good. You know what makes a hero? It’s not a cape. It’s not special powers. It’s using the talents we are given and the ones we cultivate through individual growth, to improve the world around us. Be someone’s hero.

V isit. Visit your grandparents. Visit the places you want to see. There is so much we can learn from taking time to visit, talk with, and experience the people and world around us.

W ear your heart on your sleeve. It’s ok to show your emotions. Everyone cries. Everyone feels anger. Be open about how you are feeling and allow others to do the same.

eit this world knowing you lived a full life.We only have this one life. Do all the things you want to do. See all the things you want to see. Be all the things you want to be. Don’t leave any wish unfulfilled.

ou are the only you. My boys, you are my boys. No one else will ever be you, and you will never be anyone else. We are all different. We each have something unique to give to the world. Be you.

ippers hurt. Make sure you have everything tucked in.

Be Good. Do Good.

 

Love,

Daddy