Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dear Son

Dear Son,

I grew up in a world where the people who wanted to go against the norm were the honest ones.  It was a place where politicians said what the people wanted to hear and (if we were lucky) apologized for not meeting expectations later.  There were also many musicians who got sucked into this as well.  Some though, were different.  Some true artists spoke what was on their mind and how they really felt no matter what people would say about them.

It was a world full of darkness and brokenness.  The fact that the nonconformists were the speakers of the truth was a sad one.  Lawyers found clever ways to choose their (clients') words so as to not indemnify themselves.  Public figures spoke in clever tongues that the populous could relate to.  Words were chosen so carefully that to hear someone speak honestly was often viewed as offensive.

Living in a world that values eloquence over authenticity is not an easy task.  I constantly find myself worrying about what people will think of me.  What will they say of me if they hear me speak my mind?  What is running through their mind as they read my written words?  It's really a constant task to try and find the balance of what to share, not to share, and with whom to (not) share with.  There's an old adage that says, "sharing is caring," but too often this world that I've grown up in has tried to teach me that this does not apply to emotions or true feelings.

One of my good friend's mothers growing up taught me something that she said she learned while she was studying to be a psychologist.  She said an important goal of a psychologist is to "make the covert overt."  That means openly displaying how you're feeling and why you're feeling that way.  When we're children it seems like that is all we know how to do.  Somewhere along the journey toward adulthood many of us lose that ability, or rather it becomes tremendously tamed.

I sincerely hope that you do not lose this ability.  Don't buy into the belief that to be a man you must hide your true feelings.  It's okay to not understand everything, but if you don't ask questions or let others know that you're confused you will not learn.  Change can be hard but staying the same stunts your growth.  I hope you will come to me with questions that you have.  When you don't know where to go, have the humility to admit it.  Don't let pride ruin you.  No one is above hurt.  We all experience it, much deeper than we may care to admit.

Be honest.  Be true.  Be real.  Be authentic.  Love without abandon, but love sincerely.

    Your dad before you knew me

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