To my future son,
I wish it were easy to tell you what being a man entails, all I can say is that for most of your life you will battle between who you think you want to be, and who you truly are. Society will tell you that being a man means muscles, and a sports car, and a wall street job with a 401k. I want to let you know that it is perfectly acceptable to have all those things, but it is also perfectly acceptable to not adhere to what others will want from you. I want you to know that it is okay to grow up wearing dresses and putting on makeup and performing in plays. I want you to know that it is also okay to play soccer or tennis or football. Whichever path you choose, I will clap my hands until they are red and raw in the front row. I will be your biggest cheerleader no matter what you do, or who you love.
Respect women, and not in a way where you hold the door open for them or buy dinner on the first date but respect them in a way that shows that you truly understand just how equal they are to you. Women are are powerful in a way that society attempts to stifle. All I ask of you is to see them in the same light you see yourself in- powerful, strong, and independent.
I want you to know that you can love whomever you’d like. I will love the person you choose because I will know that they bring out the lovliest side of you. Regardless of their gender, sex, culture, or race- they will be everything to me, as you are. They will be your guiding light, and for that I will always be grateful to them. Whether you love men or women, you will always
And, yes, sports are wonderful but don’t feel trapped by them. Don’t feel like you need to care about which teams have made it to the World Series or what the score is to the Knicks game. Don’t let others make you feel like less of a man because you can’t hit a baseball or have no hand eye coordination to play basketball with the guys. Your manliness should never be measured by simplistic attributes that society will tell you that you need to possess. Instead, your manliness will be based upon the love you carry with you as you live your life.
There will be days that I will yell, or scream and punish you. Understand that I am only human and sometimes I won’t always know just what it means to be a father, but I do promise to try my best. There will be days that you want to hate me or slam a door in my face. These are the days you will look back on and recall just how flawed we all are- even the people we think are our perfect heroes.
Above all us, what I want you to understand is that the man you become will be a culmination of the people you influence and the lives you touch. Many will boast that being a good man has to do with honesty, and integrity, and power. Partially they’ll be right, but what I need you to understand is that being a good man comes from owning the humanity you were born with to treat everyone around you like the beautiful thoughtful humans they are. To see past your own wants and desires and fears, and truly feel what those around you need. When you learn to give exactly what the ones you love need, and not just what they want, is when you’ll begin to grow and expand to see yourself as the man you were meant to be. I look forward to this day, and I will always be proud of you.