I’m a big fan of Fatherly and really enjoyed their recent piece, Always Ask For A Small Coffee In A Medium Cup And 21 Other Pieces Of Advice For My Sons. Here are a few of my own.
- Never trust a man with more than zero necklaces
- You control your destiny
- However great the design, please don’t get a tattoo on the small of your back
- To get cookies super soft, throw a piece of (white) bread in the container with them
- If/when you get engaged, think it through. Everyone will ask “how’d he do it?” You want your partner to have a great story to tell.
- Avoid head trash. Don’t read/watch garbage that doesn’t feed your intellect, stimulate your imagination or make you more compassionate.
- Putts break towards natural water.
The Rural Educator, O.H. Benson of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, outlined what he thought made a good rural leader:
…the leader must be a four-square individual, trained in head, heart, hands, and hustle, the four H’s rather than the three R’s. A leader must have a head trained to think, plan, and reason, both with the child and his environments, and not be a slave to the mere textbook. He must have a heart trained to be true, kind, and sympathetic, with hands trained to be useful, helpful, and skillful, and with the hustle trained to render ready service, to develop health and vitality, and to furnish a suitable background for a noble purpose.
All you need is four: head, heart, hands, and hustle.
Bruce G. Blair, a former Minuteman missile-launch officer and research scholar at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, spells out the step-by-step procedure for the President to launch a nuclear strike.
Such a fascinating procedure!
There is an actual cost to holding onto things we should let go of. It can come in the form of anger, frustration, resentment or something even worse.
The faster we learn to drop our emotional dead weight, the more room we create for something better.
We have only so much bandwidth. We have only so much time. We only have so much energy. Do we really want to invest any of our precious resources – financial or otherwise – into something that will return nothing but misery?
My question for you is, “What’s one thing you can set down this week?”
Just do something that makes you feel the opposite of how you felt before you let go.
This is the type of guy I strive to be.
Yes, Dear Parent, of course you influence your children. When you mirror them well, they get a little clearer glimpse of who they are and they settle a little more comfortably into their soul. When you join them well, they learn they have a place to belong, a safe place to return to when the world tries to take a bite out of them. When you see them well, they know they matter , and the world needs kids who know they have a part to play in this great big human project. And when you limit them well—with love instead of power—you teach them the value of finitude, the beauty of boundaries, and the contract for community.
But, Dear Parent, beyond that, there’s not a whole lot you can do about how their lives play out. You have almost no power over who they are going to be. In this great poker game called parenthood, the hands have already been dealt and, for the rest of the game, we’re mostly just bluffing our way through the mystery of it.
So, instead of worrying about our lack of control, or beating ourselves up for the outcome, may we all cut ourselves some slack and focus on becoming the best witnesses we can be.