Letter to my youngest son on his 13th birthday.

Tristan, I vividly remember the first time I held you in my arms. You had just been born a few minutes earlier. I felt your warm lifeblood though your swaddling wrap. Your eyes were searching for an anchor to this beginning lifetime. I thought, “Oh, my… what precious little soul and spirit has arrived; what will he need from me to make the best journey to his manhood? Can I and his mother fully be the nurturing resource he will need?”

Besides your obvious care and attention, you will always need your mother’s nearness and comfort, for it was she who gave you birth. It’s fitting that that you make of habit of thanking her for that birth on each of your birthdays. I never doubted that she would provide for you in thoughtful loving abundance – and that has indeed proven to be the case with both of our boys! But, what will be required of me? It wasn’t as if I had not experienced being a father to my other three children; it is more a case of realizing that I want to give you the very best that I have to share. History is so full of fathers who regrettably botched it in some measure. I knew that I needed a shepherding mentor as I gazed into your searching eyes that day your arrived. It was time for another one of my many “God Chats.”   The response was prompt and most lucid: “Larry, you will succeed in this quest because you want to succeed. Be comforted in the knowledge that we have always shared a commonality of eternal spiritual essence. You know that I am pleased with you. Your guiding shepherd, will be the love you have for Tristan. Give it to him in abundance, give it do him with the imagination of a thousand insights – give it to him with truth, compassion and lot’s of ‘I love yous.’ Remember, that sometimes, “tough love” will be necessary and painful to give.”

We will always be there for you. There is virtually no wrong that you could commit to cause us to ever abandon you. As your mother and I celebrate this threshold to adulthood for you, it is appropriate that we congratulate you on the growth and maturity that you have already acquired. But also that we place a few stepping stones in the stream before you to remind you of the recipe for your future happiness and enlightenment. I have three footstones to set in your river:

  • Strive with all your courage, energy and determination to be “all that you would like to be.” Not for our sake, but for your own self pride and betterment. We all know that the road is often bumpy, but the sun will eventually follow the rain. Worrying is truly the misuse of imagination and perseverance. Live in the moment and you will be always be protected from fear and uncertainty.
  • Quietly dedicate yourself to the virtues and values that so many of your generation have not been sufficient taught. The thoughtful etiquette of “good manners,” being a gentleman in all situations, being truthful in all things (even white lies soil the fabric of the soul – and they do not bleach out easily), have compassion for those less blessed, don’t “use others” for your own gain, be a helpful and constant resource for others, and give your love and affection without any fear of it not being equally returned.
  • Lastly, once you have “learned the way” you have an obligation to help others find that better way since many falter in their journey despite their best efforts.

Well, Tristan, my son, be on your way… to the next leg of your life’s journey. Go for it! As the Nike ad says, “Just do it” – but do it right. Your conscience will always tell you right from wrong, so you have an internal compass.


Your father


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