To The Youngest Son Of Thunder On His Day

Aug 17, 2010 by

Dear Master Shifu:

At least that’s what we call you most of the time, especially when you’re doing some type of Kung Fu stuff on your older brothers. But enough of that.

Today is your day. You are now seven and in First Grade. Your life is before you because this is when it really starts. You are ready, and you’ve told me that enough so I know too.

As you know, every now and then I write a little fatherly advice column for each of you. And since today is your birthday, it’s your turn.

You, like your brothers, are a gift from God and the Little Black Dress and I are very grateful you are in our lives.  We also call you the Sons of Thunder, because, frankly, that’s pretty much what you all are. But even when the house is destroyed as soon as you come home from school, despite The Dress spending six hours cleaning, always know we love you.

Anyway, here’s some things I’ve learned and what to pass on to you:  

– You are silly funny. Don’t ever let that go. You can make anyone laugh, like when you were introduced to your First Grade teacher and you said “ha lo guvnur” in that British accent. Never lose your sense of humor.

– Always stand up for your brothers. They are your family. Even when they hide your favorite toys or won’t “share,” let it go. Life is more than that.

– Treat every woman or girl like you would The Dress.  Mothers will adore you, fathers will actually let you date their daughters. But that’s down the road.

– God has a purpose for your life. Find it. You will learn as you grow older that you have certain talents and passions not shared by others. Realize those passions and desires come from God.

– Find a hobby – golf, fishing, sailing or whatever – you can do all your life. You will develop friendships through those hobbies. It will also enable you to get away every now and then and just think.

– Enjoy your work and make sure it’s tied to your passions.  Never work where you are not appreciated.

– Honor your word. It is one of the most important things you have and is incredibly difficult to regain if lost. Keep your promise even if it costs you.

– Tied to that is to be loyal. Loyal to your friends, you family, your spouse, your work. Be known as someone who can be trusted, you will never lack anything. If you are betrayed, remember people are human. Practice one of the hardest things in the world – forgiveness.  That doesn’t mean you can forget, but if you don’t forgive, you will be the one damaged.

– Realize what is truly important in life and focus on those things: God, family, friends, loyalty, honor. Take care of those, everything else will fall into place.

– Practice the 80-10-10 rule. Give 10 percent of everything you make to charity; save 10 percent; learn to live on the remaining 80 percent. You will always have enough money.

– Don’t grow up. I realize you will, but I do love you just the way you are. But I also mean to keep your child-like sense of awe, of laughter, of taking delight in the small things.

– Even after school, continue to learn. Develop a thirst for knowledge.

– Take care of the small things, but never let them overwhelm you. Do them one at a time, but do them right. The big things will take care of themselves.

– Be willing to sign your name to anything you do.

– If you don’t know, ask. No one knows it all

– Marry someone like your mom, The Dress, and you will be fine.

I realize a lot of this is over your head right now, especially since you’re just starting to read. That’s okay. Hopefully you’ll keep this around and pull it out every now and then.  And maybe you’ll go, “wow, dad was kinda right on some things” or something like that.

Just remember, your mom and I love you very much and will always be there for you, even when you don’t mind and we, well, kinda yell and stuff.

Happy birthday Levi Scott Winters

Dad

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