Dear Gentlemen ; Jeffrey , Joshua and Darius
I’m writing you this letter in hopes it finds you during your most thought-provoking moments and my message I convey is clear. These words are from my heart It’s a surreal moment for me, both as a parent and man. As I watched you guys grow, I’ve seen you accomplish so much, and realized you’d likely experienced some of life’s unsavory moments as well. Yet, they say it’s not what you go through in life, but how you handle it. That’s what has me thinking. Did I prepare you for this journey properly? Then as I look at you now as men, I can certainly tell I have. Even though you’ve been faced with so many obstacles, you’re surely built for the task at hand because you are my three sons.
I know by now you’re seeing the world for what it can be, both from a positive and negative aspect. Yet,there’s something innately embedded in you that makes your analytic nature rise,and forces you to think before moving-knowing to only move if your heart is truly in it. This is why it wasn’t so hard for me to see you go off in the world to find your way,because I knew you would do me proud.. As a father,there’s something extremely special about having sons. It is certainly true,we share many of the same attributes like swag and demeanor.What’s so beautiful about our relationships is how I have been given the amazing opportunity to impart in you my life’s lessons and wisdom as a road map.. Still,never forget, you have your own battles to fight, and your own lessons to learn.
There are so many gems and jewels I hoped to have shared with you throughout the years. In the event something has prevented you from receiving any of my heartfelt intentions or my presentations weren’t always the warmest. I would ask that you allow me to express my deepest feelings. It has always been my intention to give you the world, the kind of love I never had and a life I could only ever imagine. I see strength in you knowing you are the men I could only pray you become. I see your dedication and hard work as fathers striving to do your best, but be better than I ever could. I need you to know to always be your very best, about your business, and pursue your passions and dreams.
I’m reminded of a conversation we once had where we talked about things we didn’t know about one another. We had so much to catch up on. Smile. I can’t help but take a step back in absolute awe of you, Gentlemen. I love my three shades of ebony, almond, and coco brown smart, articulate strong black men! Where has the time gone? As I reminisce of walking pass a lady. She said what well-behaved boys you were. I smiled thinking about the times we all went to my job, and you worked with me and the animals at the hospital. I think there are many missing pieces, yet it feels so whole. I love you, and it never gets old. I want you to know I hold onto to the greatest gift God has ever given me, which is you guys!!!!!!!
Darius, when I think of our relationship, it makes me think of a particular day. Remember, How you stood up for me and questioned something that wasn’t right to you. It made me so proud of you, Made me extremely proud to call you my son, my baby-boy. I watched you grow up into a mini version of me going through your phases. Now you are in your life were I was when I ran the streets. I think about how I made it my mission to prevent that from happening to you (not always with the best presentation, but definitely out of love). Obviously, to no avail. Nonetheless, you accomplished things in your life I haven’t. This shows me you were listening, and made some wise choices . I’m extremely proud of how you choose to use your creative side, gifts, talents and abilities. I wonder if you will get the message I sent through the young lady. I hope you really get how much I really care, and that I always made attempts for you to know that. As life will teach you, every relationship has two positions–it takes two. When you touch down reach out to me, because I’m reaching out to you. ~Love and Miss you~
Joshua, you are my mini me on all levels from your temper to your hypertension (You got that hair loss thing from your mother, do your research do your research). I was extremely glad we were able to work out our differences, like men. You have expressed yourself so well. I’m very proud of you. Man, I love our heart to hearts. You have grown into a man who can articulate how he feels, which is a gem in itself. I’m proud of you watching you grow your family, handle your business, figure it out, and remain strong through it all. Your relentless by nature a definite reminder you’re my child. I love the father you are becoming. I enjoy watching the lessons you and Sierra have instilled in Caleb. I’am truly looking forward to meeting your princess Maya next month. ( She gonna change the game!) I look forward to seeing you take life to your next level.. ~Love and Miss You~
Jeffrey, you’re my strength, and my voice of reasoning. You always been someone I could depend on, especially making the peace with your siblings. The man you become is so impressive to me. As your dad I get to witness your greatness unfold. I also get to watch you become the father I never was. We had so many excellent talks, and learned so much about one another. It always amazes me how shocked you are learning something new about me, or hear you say you have paid attention over the years to what I’ve shared with you. It makes my heart proud. As you learn from having your own son, he to will make you proud one day. You will know you have given him your wisdom, insight and love. Congrats to you and Ray on your engagement, and soon wedding in May 2015! When I look at Jaden, he reminds me so much of you. He’s incredible just seeing him grow, you guys are doing a great job! ~Love and Miss You~
I reminded of some really funny times over the years. Like one year, I decided I was going to celebrate everyone on each of your birthdays, that was short lived. My point is that there are no manuals to parenting. You must learn as you go, and develop some pretty good foundations along the way. We had some great moments, and there are many more to come. I’m often reminded of one particular moment. When I spoke to Bill, your mom and him were picking you guys up one summer. I told him thanks for doing such a great job with you guys. He said “we are doing a great job.” That always meant a lot to me. I know you guys already knew how I felt about you, and the pride associated with being your dad. I just wanted the world to know how much I love you, and how great it is to have such wonderful sons.
You are taking the reins in various aspects of your life, and I can’t help but smile. As you go on this journey, I would like to pass on a few key things that may assist you. These are lessons that I have both learned and am still learning. Don’t be fooled by my (or anyone else’s) age; learning never stops. I certainly don’t have it all figured out. And as you discover new truths, please be sure to share them with me. It has always been my fervent hope that the Student surpasses the Teacher.
I’m NOT perfect ,and the day you come to realize that, don’t feel guilty for being disappointed. Love is a learned behavior. Love yourselves. Respect is to be earned. Embrace ALL your experiences, good, bad and indifferent. Your character is more priceless then your reputation. Always be a man of your word. Be in your moments. It’s there you’ll find gratitude, and appreciation for the small things. Pursue your hearts desire, like your life depends on it! Always be yourself, “somebody else” is already taken. If you fail, learn the lesson from it. Extract everything you can out of your failures.
Here’s a few more things I’d like to leave with you worth remembering!
1. The definition of money. You are gaining perspective on what is needed financially in this world. I implore you to remember that money isn’t what you think it is. Contrary to popular belief, money isn’t the answer to all your problems; things purchased with money don’t matter in the long-term because they can be lost, stolen, broken or taken away. What money enables is freedom and flexibility, both for you and for those around you.
2. Fear and failure. Don’t be afraid of failure. Fear will paralyze and control you. Those who are afraid to fail are also afraid to succeed. To accomplish anything, you must risk losing in order to capture what you want. It is our struggles that not only define us, but also cause our growth. Remember: You will win some, and you will lose some, but either way you are loved for just being you.
3. Want and need. Sure, you’re going to need a job and a paycheck. But don’t lose sight of what you truly want from life, trading your wants for what you need. As you get older, you will regret so few decisions that you made, and instead will experience profound remorse about the decisions that you didn’t make and the opportunities you didn’t pursue. Don’t live a life of “What If?” Instead, take chances.
4. Love hard. You can’t control what another person does or says — you can only control you. If you love someone, love them completely. Don’t hold back out of fear. If you do, you will never know what might have happened. Sure, it might not work out, but don’t let that be because you were ruled by fear.
5. Be kind. You will never know what another person’s experience has been. As such, please remember to be empathetic and compassionate.
6. Do much. Learn, grow, experience, change, shift, adjust — and then change again. Do as much as you can and experience all you are able. Life is not measured by how fast you arrive at the end because none of us are going to make it out of this alive. Life is about the accumulation of what you know, what you did, what you learned and what you thought about through it all.
7. Give. Be giving with your time, your knowledge, your money, your effort, your love and yourself. You are a gift to the world and you should share.
8. Always dream. There are times to be a realist, but not at the expense of passion. Dream big and chase what you want. Don’t allow anyone to tell you that your dreams are too big.
9. Don’t grow up. At various points in your life, you will need to be an adult and make hard decisions. However, being an adult doesn’t mean that you are forced to grow up. Make sure you still act like a kid whenever possible; life is immensely more fun that way.
10. Be brave. As men, you will face challenging times; it happens to all of us. What defines you is how you respond to that adversity. It’s normal to be scared, just don’t stop moving forward.
11. Be You. Don’t allow anyone to define who you are. You are an incredible, vibrant, resourceful, amazing, talented, tenacious, outstanding and courageous young men. As you get exposed to new things and lessons, your perspective will shift, but you do the shifting. Don’t hand over the definition of who you are to anyone else. You choose who you are, what you stand for and what you believe in.
In closing, you need to know this: I am exceptionally proud of you. My pride is not a selfish pride, but is instead a pride of observation. As a father, I have tried to show and guide you, but ultimately you will decide your own path. You have listened. You have internalized. You are DOING IT!
Give ‘em Hell, Gentlemen! You have just begun. I am so excited to see what more you have in store for the world!
~Love and Miss you~