As some of you may know, this summer saw my son move out on his own. The transition has not been an easy one for him. Maybe it never is for anyone at that difficult age. It’s been easy for me because it seems natural and I want him to be strong and independent. As usual, I have contemplated the meaning.
My father was an insecure and angry man who spent his life finding success in a corporate world he hated. His inability to live as he wanted caused him to lash out at his eldest son and, eventually, to drink himself to death. Fortunately I got to know the real man a little bit before he passed and some of these thoughts are the result of that experience.
The dynamic between fathers and sons is unique. I have a daughter but her challenges are different because men and women are different. I know, not politically correct, but as usual, I don’t give a fuck. This isn’t written specifically for my son or for my father. It’s just a statement for the universe.
There are things I wish you could know. Not just hear or read, but truly understand. Maybe not today or even tomorrow, but soon. Sometime before you need them. These are truths as I know them, and they matter.
Know that even if you live to be 200 years old, you will never find another soul who loves you as I do. There is not another man who will fight harder for you, push or defend you more sincerely, and care more deeply. Such a thing just can not be.
Know that life is good and the world is a beautiful place. Know that faith is strong and that love is magical. Know that Joy is everywhere and there for the taking. Know that you can and will make the right choices if you can best your fear. Know that integrity is worth the effort.
Know that much of what you fear is meaningless. The things that seem so scary or large today will be unremembered before you know it. Know that actions matter, ideas and opinions change, and relationships define your life. Caring for the people around you is more valuable then you can guess, and the opinions of others more worthless.
Know that, in some small way, you will be defined by the people in your life. Make good choices and surround yourself with interesting and caring souls.
Know that there is passion in you and that you can find it. Act upon it. Accept that it will demand a lot of hard work. Laziness will cause more regret than any action.
Know that following leads you nowhere. Finding YOUR path and YOUR way is why you’re here. To follow others is to cede your most precious gift.
Know that you can achieve anything you choose, that you are much stronger and more resilient than you imagine. Know too that my approval is hard to win, not because I want you to fail, but because I want your wins to mean something.
Know that I have very high standards for you. Not because I need you to succeed for my ego. I have a life to feed that beast. High standards are your birthright and I know how rich life your can be. To see you waste a minute on self doubt or passing fear is a loss beyond words.
Know that there are things that mean NOTHING to me. I don’t care how much money you make or what status you garner, I only care you that you adore what you do and do it well. I don’t care who you choose to love, only that you love them unconditionally and without fear. I don’t care who you are, just that you be strong and honest, a man among men.
Know that I have fought demons. Sometimes I have won and sometimes I have lost. The demons I have beaten you will never know. The demons that have bested me will challenge you. It is your job to beat as many as you can before they can challenge YOUR son.
Know that you can disappoint me. You can make me angry or very very sad. But you cannot make me give up on you. You cannot make me abandon you. You cannot make give up the dream that you will be a better man than I am. You cannot rob me of the hope that you will some day understand and appreciate all that I have done, good and bad, weak and strong, right and wrong.
This may well be the worst piece I have ever written. Too personal and sentimental to the point of sappy. Oh well, and so it goes. Vaya con Dios and Viv la Revolucion.
– Archbishop Angus