My youngest son Grant is celebrating his 19th birthday today.  I’m pretty proud of the guy, he’s a good young man — tries to be as honest as he can be, as loyal a friend as anyone could want, kind to people, very caring, works very hard when he puts his mind to it, and funny as all get out.

Grant Miller's self-portrait.

Out of all our children, he’s the one who carried on the father’s love of sports to the greatest degree.  His greatest sports love is basketball, particularly the NBA, where mine is the NFL.  His favorite NFL team is the Denver Broncos, while they’re the one NFL team I probably hate the most (aside from the Dallas Cowboys) but, now that Peyton Manning’s going to be playing in Denver, I may have to adjust that just a touch.

Regardless of any differences that fathers and sons may have, I love my son Grant with all my heart.  He may be turning 19 years old today, but there are still many things I could try and teach him.  He’s a good enough guy that I know he’d listen and take my advice.  I just want him to remember these lessons, for any times throughout his life when he needs to look back on them and remember in order to learn and to grow.  I’m still learning and growing — inside — to this day.

There’s Lesson No. 1:  Never be afraid to stop learning.  No one knows everything.  No one.

Lesson No. 2:  Figure out what you want to do with your life, and a plan to do it.  But don’t take too long to do it, because life moves more quickly the older you get and I want to see you start a family of your own with a life of your own, and the efforts of your life are only just now beginning.  Speaking of family …

Lesson No. 3:  Find and fall in love with someone who will love you for you, the person that you are and the young man you are becoming, and make sure they are “fully grown” themselves.  This is one area where it helps to take your time, don’t be in an all-fired rush to “settle down.”  Find that right person first, it’ll save you some potential trouble.  Dedicate yourself to that person, talk to that person in all that you do, listen to their fears and their pain and their concerns, be there to comfort them, be there to support them in every possible way.  At times, be there to guide them.  Share of yourself in every possible way.  And don’t be too proud to “be guided” by them once in a while.  Compromise can be a wonderful thing, as long as it’s done on both sides.

Lesson No. 4:  Be there for your children.  Live your life for your children once you’re done each time you need to live your life to strengthen your relationship with your life partner.  Be a teacher, a coach, a mentor, a provider, a comforter, a nurse, a cook, a chauffeur, an ear, a shoulder, a best friend, a good example-setter … be every thing you can possibly be to your children.  Don’t be like so many fathers out there who just have a child and then go off and live their own lives selfishly.  Be there for your children.  And allow them to grow into the people they were meant to be.

Lesson No. 5:  Be a hard worker.  Be helpful.  Be proactive as much as you can.  Strive for perfection in all that you can, yet be content in just knowing that you’ve done the best you can do when it’s all said and done.  Don’t leave a job knowing there was more that you could have done.  Leave a job knowing that you gave it your absolute best.  That’s all anyone can be expected to do.

Lesson No. 6:  When hard times face you, be strong yet don’t be afraid to shed a few tears as you fight your way through.  Have faith, have hope, have trust that things will get better as long as you do your part to help them get better.  Be a survivor, which takes determination and self-confidence and a never-say-die kind of fighting attitude.  Set or reset your goals, don’t be afraid to adapt on the fly.  Have courage.  When the time feels right, don’t be afraid to “swing for the fences.”  Believe.

Lesson No. 7:  Celebrate life, no matter what faces you, in good times and through bad times.

Lesson No. 8:  Follow your heart first, then follow through with your mind for a bit of a reality check.  Good directions often start from the heart.

Lesson No. 9:  Find good, faithful, caring, honest friends — ones that you would feel perfectly comfortable with as a brother or a sister.  Once you’ve found them, try and hold on to them for life.  Anything less than that can be left on a “temporary basis,” because friends do tend to come and go throughout your life.

Lesson No. 10:  Always be yourself.

My son, if you will always remember and do these things, you can live a blessed life.  That’s all I want for you.

Father and son.

Copyright 2012, Daddysangbassdude Media


5 thoughts on “Lessons from a father to a son on his 19th birthday

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