May 25, 2015

A Letter to my Unborn Son.


In a few months I’m going to become your father.

Your mother says you can hear me now, so if you’re not too busy swimming around in there, indulge me while I impart a little experiential wisdom to help you get a leg up in this crazy world:

First of all, life is wonderful and mysterious. It’s filled with beautiful people you will love and will love you back, and inexpressible nature that will awe and inspire you. Get and give the good stuff when and where you can.

There are also people and institutions that will not understand or accept you, that will judge you, and will be mean. I hope that when you meet them they will at least be honest and direct about their opinions, that you will not take it personally and that if you find yourself also being hateful you will take responsibility for your thoughts, feeling and actions.

Now for some down-to-earth common sense stuff from the spectacle of my own childhood:

Never palm a scalding hot iron, slip your foot under a running lawn mower, or try to run through a plate glass window. Also, keep both hands on the handlebars when jumping your bike off a ramp, don’t eat old tuna and always wear sunscreen when golfing. You scoff, but trust me, there will be many things you learn the hard way, too. I will try not to laugh when you do.

Life is supposed to be lived not feared, be careful, but go for it. You’re going to get hurt and your heart broken, and you’re also going to get back up. If you decide to play a contact sport like football, you might get hurt much worse, maybe even broken. That’ll be your call, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

That said, there’s much more serious stuff in life than falling down, stuff so precarious that if you step in it, you might not make it out alive. It’s called quicksand. Quicksand is nasty because it’s not quick at all; and once you step in it you know your in trouble, but it’s usually too late. Quicksand makes life a whole lot more difficult than it needs to be.

The good news is there are no accidents in life, only things that happen when you’re not paying attention. This means quicksand can be avoided. Here’s how:

  1. Recognize common quicksand areas. Learning to anticipate places where you might encounter quicksand is the best way to avoid becoming entangled in it.
  2. Be on the lookout for ground that appears unstable and wet, or sand that has unnatural ripples in its texture.
  3. Always carry a hefty walking stick, both to use in case you become stuck, but also to tap and test the ground in front of you as you walk.

What I’m suggesting is that you trust that life is basically good, but to always keep your eyes and ears open because there’s danger here too. I’ve been on top of the world and hip-deep in quicksand, son, so listen to me when I say this:

Believe in yourself, but don’t be arrogant. Confidence will carry you very far, but arrogance will absolutely break you. There’s always someone better. Learn to be humble and to appreciate the little things. You will be praised and criticized, don’t believe any of it. You’re never as good or bad as you think.

Always rely on yourself first. Never depend on other people to do more than what you are willing to do yourself, unless you’re okay with feeling frustrated. Teamwork is great when all the oars are rowing in the same direction, but hope without action will break you.

Don’t expect other people to live up to your standards, or expect them to care about what you care about. Your way of doing things is unique to you, and it may not work for someone else. Love and honor yourself and leave others alone to do the same.

Never trust someone you can’t get a straight answer from. If you can’t trust, you can still love. When you need help ask for it, if you feel love express it, and always remember to spend plenty of time in nature. In fact, spend more time with nature than people.

Learn to think for yourself and exercise your mind consciously; you’ll end up dumb and lazy if you depend too much on technology. Read books instead, look people in the eye when you talk to them, and pay attention to your immediate environment.

Your walking stick is your intuition, son. Trust it and let it guide you. When I haven’t used mine I’ve regretted it and ended up feeling broken, looking for a rope to pull me out of the quicksand. But my mistakes are lessons that have prepared me to be your guide. I am ready.

Stay in the light you came from, and we will stay safe and happy on high ground together.


Your Father



What My Son has Taught Me About Fatherhood.


Author: Jeff Beaudoin

Editor: Travis May

Photos: Pixabay

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