In my first letter, I related to you and your brother what I had learned about manhood from your father. On this, your 21st birthday, I want to acknowledge the lessons you have taught me:
BE AN INDIVIDUAL: Don’t conform to what other people think you should be.
HAVE A STRONG WORK ETHIC: Go the extra mile. Don’t rest until the task is completed.
ADAPT: Don’t bang your head against a wall that is impossible to move. Acknowledgement and assimilation of a difficulty is sometimes your best option.
BE A FIERCE DEFENDER: God help anyone who harms a loved one.
LIGHT UP A ROOM: Have a contagious smile and infectious personality.
DEMONSTRATE GENEROSITY: Even the smallest gesture can have meaningful impact.
HONOR YOUR HERITAGE: Cultural roots are strong and deep.
BE TRUSTWORTHY: No one should doubt your dependability.
OWN UP TO MISTAKES: Excuses are the tools of cowards.
TACKLE TREPIDATION: Conquering a fear is euphoric.
BE A MENTOR: Teaching the next generation is a gift to eternity.
CELEBRATE JUBILANTLY: Life is meant to be embraced.
HAVE A GOAL: Resolve and determination will keep you on your path.
DISAPPOINTMENTS WILL HAPPEN: Picking yourself back up strengthens character.
BE NOTABLE: A little infamy can be a good thing.
TRAGEDIES MAY BEFALL: Allow your soul to grieve.
POSSESS COMPASSION: Empathy is a scarce necessity.
BE PROMPT: Consider another person’s time as important as yours.
PLAY NICE WITH OTHERS: You won’t always get your way. Deal with it.
CULTIVATE AN ATHLETIC DRIVE: Dedicate yourself to improvement. Strive for excellence.
TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR LEGACY: It’s your most cherished inheritance.
LAUGH until you cry.
LOVE to the heavens.
LIVE to make a mother (and father) proud.
Originally published in @HumanParts @Medium.com