Today is Father’s Day and I am sitting in the Charlotte airport heading out on a business trip. You are sitting at home watching cartoons and our only link today is the phone and FaceTime when I get to the hotel.
Anyhow, I wanted to write you today because it IS Father’s Day and I wanted to say how proud I am to be your father. I am fortunate to have a special father as well and I want to do everything I can do to live up to what he does – and has done – for me.
A few things to start off… I was not put on Earth to be your best friend, I am not here to live my life through you. My parental responsibilities include teacher, mentor, financier, role model and advisor. You will not get your way all the time, you will not like all of the decisions I make, however, you will get all of your basic needs met and you will have every opportunity for success that I can give you.
I have a job where I make money to keep the lights on… but my favorite job is seeing you grow and prosper each day. From the day you were born I knew you were special – you came into the world screaming to let everyone know you had arrived and haven’t stopped impressing those around you.
You may not know it, but you are the reason I don’t allow myself to have a bad day. Of course, you know well enough, I can get frustrated or angry – but I don’t allow myself to have bad days. Seeing you fight in the NICU and always have a smile on your face – even with tubes, IVs and other medical devices attached – made me realize I was not allowed to have a bad day. You didn’t know it at the time, but you were fighting every day… gaining weight, developing. From day one you were surrounded by the best of the best and that is the first piece of advice I can give you – always surround yourself with those that will challenge you to be a better person.
As you grow you will find people that want to bring you down because you are smarter, better looking, have more money or a whole mix of other reasons. Jealously is a dangerous thing… These people need something in their lives and they will do anything they can to make you just like them – your job is to be their friend but not drop to their level. My second piece of advice to you is just be yourself… no one ever said you had to follow. Be yourself and lead.
Throughout life you are going to gain knowledge and skills. These could be job related or sports related skills – make the best of them. Use them to your advantage, but also use them for the grater good. You were put here for a purpose – no one but God knows what that purpose is. But I CAN tell you that by helping others succeed, you are helping yourself in ways you will never know. That is my third piece of advice.
I talk for a living… People pay me to run my mouth- as fast as possible, at times. However, a skill I had to learn was listening. I am a very Type A+ personality and have always led the conversation or discussion… once I got older – and wiser – I had to learn to listen more and talk less. The old saying goes, God gave you two ears and one mouth – so you could listen twice as much as you speak. It is a hard skill to learn – and I do feel it is a skill – but once you learn it you will be more the wiser. That’s advice point number four.
Finally, number five… have a strong support staff behind you. This could be people you pay, your friends or, more importantly, your wife. Your mother keeps the world turning while I am away. My schedule doesn’t allow me to have a 9-5 job like some people, so we are constantly juggling our time to make it all work. I could not take care of you and work the jobs I work without having her as a supporter at home… when she and I got married neither of us knew where my career would take me. She DID know I push myself harder than other people and knew it would/could be a fast-paced bumpy ride. Support is huge – and you need to acknowledge and appreciate those that allow you to excel and be the most you can be.
Jackson, I am not looking for you to understand all of this today – at seven years old. But one day, I want you and I to sit down and discuss these points of success. Money is made and lost everyday – I have never cared for nor chased it because of this fact. Or family has been successful in life and career and it is all due to guiding principles as I have laid out for you in this post.
Louis Pasteur, the scientist who developed the process of pasteurization, said, “chance favors the prepared mind.”. This is one of my favorite quotes and one that I want you to commit to memory. If you learn nothing else, I want you to use the brain God gave you and the common sense I instill in you.
I love you and am proud to be your father.