So every year before the first day of school, I write the boys a letter. It's the same letter, with relevant additions from year to year. I give them the letter as they go to bed the night before their first day back. I saw something similar on The Huffington Post the other day so I decided to share mine as well.
P.S. Kudos if you recognize my family's favorite geeky quotes at the end.
I can't believe you're going into 7th grade. Every day you amaze me, inspire me, and make me laugh. I love seeing glimpses of the man you'll be someday.
I want you to wake up every morning and realize your blessings. Life is hard, school is hard. Not everything is fair. But it's all yours for the taking. It's all available to you if you apply yourself and know you CAN do it.
But I also want you to know, need you to know, that life isn't about you. Life is about caring and sharing and helping/serving others. It's about KNOWING right from wrong even when it's difficult. It's standing up for others and your own beliefs even when it hurts to do so.
I was the kid picked on at recess, the kid picked last, the kid laughed at, the child sitting on the side of the playground lonely. But I never helped or stood up for the other picked on and lonely children either. I wasn't brave enough, I didn't have the confidence.
I challenge you this year. I challenge you to stand up for others, to stand up for what you know in your heart is right. It might hurt. It might get you teased as well. But doing something like that anyway? That's called bravery. And you just may make a lifelong friend.
I don't expect you to be perfect. I don't expect you to make straight A's, always be on the honor roll.
I expect you to be kind. I expect you to be honorable. Be brave. Be compassionate. Be empathetic. Be exactly who you want to be and who you want others to be. Treat those around you with respect, especially your teachers. Treat your intelligence with respect as well. It's ok to be smart, to be labeled a nerd. It's not about WHAT you love, it's about HOW you love. (Credit to Wil Wheaton) But above all? Be yourself. Someday, the world will be thankful for that.
I love you more than any words I could possibly ever tell you. You're the most important and precious gift I ever gave to myself. I love you always. Always. You're the biggest pain in my ass but the entirety of my heart. Know that every single day. Know that no matter what, I always have your back. I always love you.
Live Long and Prosper. Be a big damn hero. Be the optimist. Be the dreamer of improbable dreams. The big moments are gonna come. You can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are. Until you find something to fight for, you settle for something to fight against. And above all else? Shop smart, shop S-mart.