Life with me isn’t easy. It’s 97% happy-go-lucky, 3% WTF JUST HAPPENED?! I’m not going to pretend there’s method to my madness. Like all other parents, I’m just making shit up as I go along. But rest assured, the intention is good. I’ve always said to you, if I’m the toughest thing in your life, everything else will be a breeze. So far so good little buddy.
Why I push you hard in athletics. It’s not because I think you’re going to make a dime in sports. It’s because sport gives you a safe environment to try your absolute best and still fail miserably. I like that you lose sometimes. I like that you don’t make the cut sometimes. But you know what I like best? That you keep you trying; that you’ve lost the embarrassment of failure. Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without enduring failure. I’ve never protected you from disappointment and I never will. A kid who tries and fails is better than the kid who never tries. If you want to improve, find a kid that’s better than you and watch how they prepare. In most cases, they’re better than you because they’re better prepared than you.
Why I’m all over you about your grooming. Appearances matter. Appearances have always mattered. We’re a visual species and you know the science (click here). Regardless of how brilliant, creative or able you are, you’re going to find that people tend not to give a damn if they’ve already written you off because you’re a slob. It’s not fair or right. It’s what is. It’s not about what you’re born with. It’s about the effort you put into yourself. It’s about taking pride in yourself and dignity in what you show to the world. You’ll come to realize that people who put little effort in themselves, put little effort in all other things.
Why I’m always barking at you to be active. Horrible things can happen to anybody. Accidents and pathogens aside, there is growing evidence that indicate illnesses like cancer and heart disease can happen to anybody regardless of lifestyle. You can mitigate some risks by living well but someone has to be the 1 out of the 5000. You will get sick and you will get hurt. What’s unknown is where on the bell-curve you are. Far better to be of healthy weight and habit when it hits. Staying in shape and eating properly must be a way of life. Dealing will illness is tough. Dealing with illness with an extra 20 pounds roped to your gut is tougher. Eat sensibly and exercise. Forever.
Why we talk about everything in the news. There’s a reason I encourage you to read and watch history and science programming with me. It gives you context about the day’s headlines. Nothing happens in a vacuum and you now appreciate that everything is relative. You need to know why the Middle-East is the way it is. You need to know why the LGBT movement is always in the news. You need to understand the origins of the religiously themed daily headlines. You need to know what’s going on in the world so you can identify those who don’t, simply by keeping your mouth shut and listening. You’ve seen how mob mentality can rally around a single talking point. It’s not your place to change opinions and beliefs. But it’s beneficial to know who holds them and why.
Why I’m constantly bugging you about homework. Because it’s your job man. I can rein it in on most other things but school is something I will not. I have no idea what you’re going to do for a career nor do I know if your university degree will have any value when we’re all working for our robot overlords. All I need from you is the mindset of work before play. Not work while you play. Just finish the #@$#^& thing first, than play. This is where I messed up in university. Life with lots of options because you achieved stellar marks is infinitely better than life with few options because you didn’t. But even more important than marks and grades is mindset and habit. You know that awesome feeling when you accidentally finish an assignment a week before it’s due? Yeah, that’s what life feels like when you make getting stuff done before it needs to be done, a habit.
Although we’re proud and will happily share your exploits with others, we’ve never made you feel that you were any more than the sum of your own hard work. Nothing came easy for you and to be honest, that’s not likely to change. So until I can see you setting your own standards without me, you’re still going to have to deal with me.
Oh, and one last thing…
It’s far more important to be useful than to be nice. The world is filled with nice guys with meager self esteem. Guys who put minimal effort into self-betterment and only recharge their esteem meter by doing unappreciated favours. What is given away for free is valued the same. It’s far better to be reliable and helpful when it really counts than simply being nice and available all the time. Don’t ever get stuck in the zone…
You’ll figure this out soon enough.