The older Boy Wonder becomes, the more I play the numbers game – trying to convince myself that we have more time together than we really do. I know his growing up and leaving the nest isn’t the end of our relationship, but in a lot of ways, it marks the end of a comfortable era. No longer will he ask if he can eat cookies before dinner or stay up late. No longer will I have the ability to check on him in bed before falling asleep. No longer will he be the first messy-haired face I see in the morning. One day Boy Wonder will be grown, and if I’ve done my job correctly, he’ll be leading a productive life away from home.
He’s coming up on 11 years old, guys. Where those first 11 years went, I don’t know. I lost a few years to depression, lost a few more with the arrival of my second child, and now I feel left with only a small balance of memorable years remaining. Somewhere in my heart this just doesn’t seem fair.
If the first 11 years passed this quickly, there’s simply no telling how fast the next 7 will go. I’m not done with his childhood, and yet I’m becoming increasingly aware that he is.
When I came across 20 Things to Say to Your Daughter Before She’s Grown, I knew there was so much more I wanted and needed to say to my son.
So much left to say 1 of 21
Take a look at 20 things I have left to say to my son that you may want to say to yours.
You can do hard things 2 of 21
Life is full of hard things, and kiddo, you're up for the challenge. Work hard, ask for help when you need it, and think smart.
Know your worth 3 of 21
Never settle for less than you're worth in life or in love. Only by being the best can you command the best so try your hardest and care the most. Don't do it for others - do it for you.
Be gentle with hearts 4 of 21
More than a few people have warned me that you'd grow up to be a heartbreaker; say it isn't so! Be gentle with hearts, especially those in which you don't share the same feelings.
Don’t take yourself too seriously 5 of 21
The best people are unapologetically human. Laugh at yourself. Be humble. Admit fault. Be you!
Money doesn’t make the man 6 of 21
There's more to life than money. Some of the happiest moments of my life came from lean times. Come up and make good, but never ever allow your salary to define the man you are.
No means no 7 of 21
Listen good, child: when it comes to "dating" or whatever you crazy kids call it these days, no always means no.
It’s OK to cry 8 of 21
You are not the owner of a heart of stone. You are tender, kind, and fair. Sometimes the things you fight so hard for will fail you and sometimes you'll lose. When those things happen, go ahead and cry, dear son.
Eat your vegetables 9 of 21
Take care of yourself, dear boy. Visit the doctor, eat your vegetables, get good sleep, exercise, and honor your body so it can continue to honor you.
Remember your family 10 of 21
Your family will be there to celebrate you in the good times, support you in the bad, and love you every moment in between. Let them.
You are no better 11 of 21
You are wonderful, but you are no better than the person who busses your table, shines your shoes, or mows your neighbor's lawn. Regardless of your success in life, you should respect and appreciate the hard working contributions of others.
People are good 12 of 21
People are fundamentally good. You must know that. There are people who do bad things, but when it really counts I hope you'll give people the benefit of the doubt. Good always wins.
Avoid drama 13 of 21
Drama will try to follow you throughout your life. Avoid the people, places, and things that perpetuate drama; life is too short.
It’s not all about you 14 of 21
There was life before you and there will be life after. Your goal is to make your time count by serving, inspiring, and helping others. Be so busy thinking beyond yourself that others can't help but think of you.
Be an everyday hero 15 of 21
You're never too busy or important to do good - hold the door open, give up your seat on the subway, and help pick up that grocery spill. Be the man who lends a hand and helps whenever he can.
Be yourself 16 of 21
You were born to this earth with great purpose, possessing all you'll ever need to make your incredible mark. Honor your natural talents and embrace all that makes you uniquely you.
Your word is all you have 17 of 21
Choose your words carefully for they will define you. Speak truths and keep your promises; your word is all you have in this life.
Be nice 18 of 21
No really, don't be a jerk. Treat people well, it's not that hard...and for some reason it is that hard, seek professional help.
Your mom is always there 19 of 21
I'm there. I'll always be there. And when the day comes that I'm physically no longer there, I'll still be in your heart.
Choose wisely 20 of 21
Choose your partner, business associates, friends, and neighbors wisely. Take your time and listen to your heart.
Be brave 21 of 21
Be brave enough to admit: when you need help, when it's time to give up, when it's no longer working. It takes bravery to say goodbye, say hello, and honor your spirit.
What do you have left to say to your son?