An Epic Letter To My Unborn Son: 10 Things I Want To Teach My Kid
Hey, future son. You don’t know me yet, but I’m your father. I’m the funny-looking guy with more hair on his cheeks than on his head. The person who was constantly poking your belly and squeezing your cheeks when you were a little piece of meat. Even though mom said I’m boring, you’ll see I’m not. I play video games and I like skateboards. I still haven’t met you – while I write this – but I already love you. As much as your mom does. I hope you’ll someday read this.
So, we’re expecting you to arrive sometime around St George’s day, 2019.1 That’s a couple of months from now – the moment I’ve started writing this piece of content. Yet, the preparation for your noble arrival has begun. And I’m not going to lie to you, things are starting to get a little out of hand here, son – to say the least.
Me and mom have regular meetings to discuss the future purchases that are required for raising a child:
What type of crib will be best for your sophisticated taste: White, grey, with a function to swing? How many drawers should the bed have?
How many baby bottles should we own?
What amount of diapers is the right amount?
How many pairs of tiny socks we should acquire?
Should we freak out when you have a poo poo but we’re out of baby powder?
Do we need a changing table?
Which stroller to choose: The one that will cost us a little fortune or we can somehow move you across the beautiful landscape of our town in something a bit less expensive?
And while the list of things is vastly increasing with each passing second mom is spending online, surfing the web, your heritage melts.2
Since I can no longer argue with your mother about where we should put your future bed, I decided to do something different. Something that will hopefully navigate you through life and assist you in years to come.3 I decided to lay down some of the basic things you need to know in order to become a kickass citizen of the world we live in.
Here I’m not talking about how to make a pie or how to tie your shoes, it’s a bit more complicated, you’ll see. But before we start with the father tips, let me explain where are we:
Where The Hell Are We?
So, where the hell are we, right?
Son, we’re living inside a large spinning globe that’s circling another, even larger, sphere that’s producing light. We call it the Sun. And the planet we’re currently on is called Earth – I know, the name is not that fancy.
The gentle warm rays that are touching your nice skin and are making your eyes look away are coming from this large thing situated in the middle of the Solar System.4 The distance between the Earth and the Sun is 149.6 million km. It’s kind of far. Unfortunately, we can’t actually visit it in the winter, when it’s cold.
What’s Inside Earth?
Well, a lot of things: trees, mountains, lakes, rivers, countinents, countries, cities, buildings, cute little animals and also wild beasts that can hurt you.5 But alongside them there is something more fearful. Something that requires your undevoted atention when interacting with this form of existance. I’m talking about us, humans.
Me, you, mom, your grandparents, cousins, even your future mother in law – yes, even she – we’re all humans. We’re mammals and we look alike. We have eyes, legs, arms, bellies, ears, and also a brain. Our brains are what distinguish us from the other animals who inhabit the earth. Unfortunately, though, some citizens don’t show any sign of possessing one.
How you treat humans is essential for your survival on this planet. It’s even more important than eating and drinking water, as strange as it might sound. But that’s only part of what you need to know if you want to feel good in your own skin and live a fulfilled life.
So, to prepare for what awaits you, I decided to list a few things that will assist you in having a quality life. I do hope I won’t sound like I’m giving you orders or like a long boring father-son talk where at the end you say “OK, dad”, but you end up doing whatever you want. The things you’ll see below are based on my observations and on my experience throughout the years. Hopefully, you’ll find something useful.
Here we go:
10 Things I Want To Teach You, Son
1. Search For Your Calling
At some point, you’ll most probably ask yourself the following question: “What’s the whole point of living?” Don’t worry. It’s normal. I still ask myself this question, at least 23,535 times a day. And it’s not only you and me, son, but people around the world are also banging their heads, trying to come up with an answer.
You might think that since we’ve invented airplanes, nuclear bombs, the Interner, we should know what we should do with our lives, right? Wrong. We don’t have a clue. At least the majority of the population don’t know what they are doing or should be doing. That’s why articles like these exist: Yet Another Post About What Is The Meaning of Life; Finding Meaning in Life.
There isn’t a general guideline for “finding meaning.” And that’s OK. We live in a peaceful world and we have the freedom to choose our own destiny, our own future. Even though this sounds super cool, it’s also the reason a lot of people don’t know towards what they should devote their lives. The limitless options we have are also the reason we can’t make a choice.
Having a reason to live, is the first thing you should focus on. Find something that will keep you up all night, motivate you, wake you up early in the morning. The sooner you find your calling, the better you’ll feel.
So how does one find meaning? Well, in general, there are two ways:
Solve problems: Here I don’t mean figuring out what to eat for dinner, even though it’s a struggle to convince mom to cook us regularly. I’m talking about Something on a larger scale. Basically, solve a problem that will make the world a better place. The bigger the goal, the better you’ll feel. For example, finding alternative transportation methods to reduce pollution, or convince more people to stop smoking.
Helping others: Even though a lot of the times you’ll feel like you should focus on securing your own ass; Taking care of your own well-being without caring about other people, helping them is what truly feels fulfilling. The backbone of every successful business is about helping other people, first.
Try out different things but pick only one thing at the end. The sooner you figure out your calling, the better. This will give you more time to improve your craft.
2. Passion Is Your Guidance
Being passionate about something kind of overlaps with what we mentioned above but not entirely. Your passion will steer you towards your calling. It will help you choose what to do with your life.
Our task as parents is to help you figure out your passion. Meaning, we’ll surely sign you for some kind extracurricular classes: swimming, martial arts, computer science, even cooking.
The idea wasn’t to torture you – even though it might feel like this somedays – it was to help you see what are the options. What’s available in the world. Once you explore a couple of things, you’ll figure out what you want to do on your own.
Preserve your big dreams from your early years and mix them with your passion. This will give you the strength you need to keep going.
3. Have A Set Of Values
It might sound kind of boring and spiritual but you need a set of values. They will steer you in your life. Help you make the best choice.
Stuff like: don’t steal, don’t curse, don’t take narcotics, don’t cheat on your girl, don’t be afraid to say No to people, don’t kill, don’t talk with strangers in a dark alley, don’t piss in public places, never ever, ever eat yellow snow. These are definitely no-no’s.
Except the above though, you should also have these in mind: respect your family, yourself, your body, your mind. Be fair, but strict. With yourself and with others.
Once you have a set of values and you follow them, no matter what, you’ll start making better decisions and feel good about yourself.
4. Listen To What Others Say But Keep Doing What’s Right
Everyone around you will try to persuade you that their beliefs are right and that you should do what they do. Even though it’s good to listen to others have to say, keep doing what’s right. Keep doing your own thing. I mean, don’t invest in some unknown business only because your friends are doing it. Or even worse, don’t start smoking cigarettes only because everyone else is doing it.
The internet is full of bs advice. People are full of shit. Still, there’s a lot you can learn from everyone around, even from the people who obviously suck. Actually, we can categorize what you can learn from others in these two major categories:
What not to do: If the person in front of you is hardly making ends meet, you can still learn something from him. Basically, what not to do: Is he in constant debt because he is buying a lot of useless shit? Well, don’t buy useless shit; He is not passionate about his work and he is constantly complaining? Don’t settle till you find work you enjoy doing.
What you can use: If you spot a particular skill that you like in someone around you, make sure to adopt that skill. That’s also true about the work they do. If you meet someone who is a developer, for example, and you want to be a developer yourself, you might ask him how he started, what he did first.
Basically, learn to steel positive skills from the people around and avoid adopting negatives ones by learning what not to do.
5. Respect Others
This is a short one.
No matter what you end up doing, you need to respect other people regardless of their social status or age. It’s easy and kind of necessary to have respect towards your teacher or towards a public figure. But true leaders are recognized by their ability to respect the so-called normal people. The ones that usually others don’t notice: the mailman, the cleaning lady, the janitor.
When you show respect towards others, they’ll respond the same way.
6. Stand Behind Your Words
You’ll be fragile and helpless when you’re born. Of course, we’ll protect you and help you. You will grow though, you’ll become more muscular and surely better-looking than me. You’ll take on your own path. You’ll have your own desires and dreams. Me and mom will help you as much as we can but part of becoming a man involves taking responsibility for your own actions.
When you promise something, you need to deliver. Be transparent and always stand behind your words and your acts. Because, if you don’t deliver on your promises, people won’t respect you and won’t trust you.
7. Don’t Be 100% Transparent
Remember when I mentioned that you should always be transparent with others? Well, not quite.
Telling the truth is not always the best thing. Sometimes, we need to tell others what they want to hear. Some call this lying, others, like me, call it being a rational person.
You can’t tell your boss that he’s a prick if he really is. It won’t lead to anything productive. You can simply agree with him for the moment but do what you think it’s necessary.
8. Invest Your Time Properly
As Warren Buffett said in an interview: “It’s the only thing you can’t buy. I mean, I can buy anything I want basically but I can’t buy time.”
When you’re young you’ll spend the majority of your time playing, learning, exploring the world. As you get older though, you’ll see that a lot of people, and not only, will want a piece of this valuable resource, i.e. your time.
I’m sure that the gaming industry will be absolutely amazing by the time you read this, however, life is not only about fun and games. In order to survive and improve, we need to invest our time in learning and growing. This, as you can imagine, kind of feels boring. It’s even worse than doing your homework. However, it’s worth it, trust me.
While it’s important to take some time to rest, it’s of great importance to spend your time wisely and to do stuff that will bring you future value, i.e. read, learn new things.
9. Believe In Yourself
Be confident in yourself and in your own abilities. Don’t let others control you or tell you what to do. Learn to control your emotions.
Self-confidence will open a lot of doors. Girls dig people who believe in themselves and act boldly. But not only girls, society as a whole needs such people. People who are not afraid to stand up, be different and do what they think it’s necessary.
10. Persistence, Progress, Patience
The big 3 P’s:
Persistence: When we’re babies, we’re relentless when we want something. Such type of persistence is normal. Unfortunately, when we grow up we lose part of it. We see that there are some limitations that are blocking our path – institutions, physical laws, resources. For instance, you’ll understand that you can’t have all the toys in the world; You’ll see that you can’t climb a huge mountain without proper preparation. Still, don’t give up. Keep attacking your goals from different angles, continue striking with full force until you reach them.
Progress: The only thing constant in life is change. The world is constantly evolving. Therefore, we need to keep pushing. “The moment you stop learning you start decaying.” The sooner you understand the meaning behind this quote, the better.
Patience: Success and good things are not like social media, son. Where you get instant feedback from your online friends. Starting a business, having a meaningful relationship with a girl, building a career, all these things take time. I had to learn this the hard way. That’s why me and mom didn’t buy you everything you wanted when you were very little. We wanted to teach patience. Hopefully, we did it.
Some Closing Thoughts
There is so much more I want to share with you. So much more to talk about. You’ll listen first, but later you’ll start ignoring my advices. You’ll start to rebel. I’m sure. I’m sure because I was the same – wild and restless.
I’m not afraid that you will mess up. Nor that you’ll do stupid things. I’ll urge you to try different things, and sucking at them initially is part of the process. This way you can learn from your mistakes and improve.
Well, that’s it for now. I’m going to the store for more diapers. We’ll soon see each other.
P.S. If you ever feel down, depressed, a girl dumped you, don’t spend a lot of time whining. Every day you wake up you have a chance to make things better. To do whatever you want. To be whoever you want. The only thing stopping you, it’s you.
Between May 6th and May 20th, 2019.
I’m sure you’ve already figured out what “surfing the web” means. You’re a smart kid.
Just a friendly advice: Don’t argue with mom. There is no point. It’s a lost fight. Even if you win the argument you’ll still lose. It’s sound strange, I know. But you’ll understand once you start dating.
The Solar System is a set of planets that are gravitationally bounded. You can read more, here.
We’ll talk about these things in details because it’s kind of mandatory to know them when you start visiting school. What is school? You’ll love it initially, then you’ll hate it.