To my son, Alec Scott my precious son born second of four, but first of the three on June 3, 2004 at 7:10 P.M. EST, you have so much to learn about this world. Indeed, I have so much to tell you, but I possess barely a fraction of a fraction of the universe's knowledge. Just understand that you, like your sisters and those of your generation will have so much to digest, so much to endure, yet so much opportunity.
Here's what I can tell you.....
Your first name "Alec" is derived from the Greek name "Alexander" which means "Defender of humanity." I believe this is very fitting given the current state of affairs in this country, but realize that your Mom & I chose this name randomly. We wanted a short masculine name that was not trendy. "Alex" was very popular at the time of your birth. Therefore, when you hear "Alec's" just know that it's something that belongs to you.
Conversely, your middle name "Scott" was after a dear friend of mine who I've known almost my entire life. In fact, we rode big wheels together at the age of 2, played baseball together, attended camps together, and even found ourselves heading off to Chico State University together. Had we been members of the "greatest" generation, I'm confident that we would have gone off to war together. We both even married an "Amy."
Son, I agonized over which of my two closest friends would be the best man at our wedding. In my heart I believed that whoever I didn't chose to stand next to me I would honor in another way. Your birth was my opportunity.
Speaking of friends. My advice is to begin developing a core of friends starting in elementary school. Often times your first friends are neighbor kids or those with common interests like baseball. Maybe you'll join a "sister-haters club" and you'll find a friend for life. Over time, friends may move out of town or you may outgrow them or your interests may change or they may turn on you and not want to be your friend anymore. Honestly, ALL of these happened to me while growing up. Don't take it personally.
Yeah, you'll hear people say "it's a part of growing up" quite often from now until 30 or so, but in reality this only matters IF you stay true to yourself. So what does "stay true to yourself" even mean? Well, for me it represents that core of beliefs that you hold dear. These beliefs come from your belief in God, your respect for other individuals, your unyielding love for your country, and your close ties to family and friends.
Be attentive and respectful to those opinions voiced by not only persons who share your views, but by those who have completely different points of view. In fact, seek out those who come from different places who might have different accents, skin color, political beliefs or religion. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your teachers or professors, but also understand the difference between fact and opinion. Don't allow educators to rattle your beliefs with their personal opinions.
Other ideas and suggestions...
- Never allow "school to get in the way of your education." My father told me this in Fall of 1986 before I left for college. I didn't understand what he meant until recently as I now understand "education" to be life's experiences and lessons.
- Be courteous, kind and forgiving. Always hold the door for a lady (even when you know she won't say thank you), smile and keep your head held high, and don't hold grudges.
- Enjoy your youth, but understand that the years that you expect full income tax refunds on 4/15 are the years to be building for your future via education or training.
- When you find the right woman, let her chose the curtains. Even if they're black, purple and orange with dancing monkeys, just nod your head in agreement.
- Don't ever let government take away your freedoms. You have the right to voice your opinion. You have the right to assembly. You have the right to own a gun. Remember, the United States is comprised of individuals, natural resources and priceless places, NOT its government.
- Be proud of your accomplishments, but not boastful.
- Learn from your failures. This is one of the most common attributes of successful people.
- Live for the now, plan for the future, and study the past.
- Look no further than your own family or community for a role model. I'll give you the first one, your Mom. She can't dunk a basketball, but she does Okay!
Alec, as I close...please know that I love you. Take care of your family (especially your sisters). Don't ever let anyone take away your dreams or say that your opinions don't matter. Aspire to be the best at the career of your choosing. Be passionate and be strong young man!
Your R.E. Dad