This month, my once baby boy turned another year older. Once upon a time, he was a fragile little infant with large, sad-looking eyes (my father-in-law even used to call him Sad Sam) who used to follow me and his sister around.
He wasn’t much of a crier, but he used to make all sorts of sound effects that would have all of us laughing as we tried to decipher what he was trying to say. We all thought he would grow to be a serious and quiet boy, based on the disposition we had observed.
Soon, the sweet, intoxicating scent of milk and baby wash on his head was replaced by the unmistakable smell that accompanies a day spent at the park, frolicking under the sun. As I type this, he is leading his rambunctious gang of buddies on a pirate mission that involves searching for dinosaur bones in his sister’s room. Prior to that, I could hear energetic and excited cries accompanied by loud thuds.
In times like these, I am practically invisible to him in the midst of all the excitement of playing with his mates. But tonight, I will get my little boy back. I look forward to putting him to sleep every night. I wait for the signs that he has entered into a peaceful slumber, and then I get my chance to gaze at his face without the rush of the day.
It’s a little game I like to play when I watch him sleep. I find traces of the little baby I once carried everywhere with me, while watching out for a glimpse of the face of a man I have yet to meet.
Maybe it’s the silence of the night or the realization that another day has once again passed us by. Whatever it is, it is in the evenings that I think about what kind of man this sleeping boy by my side will grow up to be, and I wonder how to go about making sure that we are able to guide him to be the best he can be.
Every day is a bit of a guessing game for me when it comes to my little boy. I’ve always been a girly girl and often wonder how to instill the right values and lessons in him. Other times, I wonder if I even have the right lessons in mind. Hopefully, I can start with these little reminders for my son and pray that, in time, he will take them together with his own experiences and be his own man.
1. Strengthen your character. Character doesn’t come easy and doesn’t form in one go. It is a continuous process that lasts your whole life, and is built little by little through the decisions you make when nobody is watching and the thoughts you carry in your heart.
But with enough practice and discipline, it won’t be difficult to make the right decisions that will strengthen your resolve. Conversely, constantly choosing the wrong path will ultimately doom your character.
Watch what you think and say, as they will influence your actions. In the end, your character will be seen in the things you do.
Be a man of your word. More importantly, be a man of good action whose character will never be doubted.
2. Be anchored in faith. This world has much to offer, and I hope you enjoy your life to the fullest.
But don’t lose your faith, and let it be the foundation on which you would build your decisions as you journey through life. There are many things in life that you may be tempted to choose as your guide such as money, success and power, but all of them are temporary and can disappear in an instant, leaving you lost and alone. But your faith will always be there for you.
3. Choose your friends wisely. Your friends will reflect who you are, and will influence you more than you realize. It’s important to always check what kind of people your friends are and how they influence you, and decide from there if they are worth keeping for the kind of man you would like to be.
4. Respect women. Always, always, always respect women. I cannot stress this point enough. There is absolutely no acceptable reason for you to ever disrespect a woman. We are lucky to be in an age where women are truly equal to men, but we will always be different from each other and you must always respect that difference.
And remember, no matter how equal men and women are, do not let a woman stand while you are comfortably seated. And please hold the door open like the gentleman I know you will be someday.
Give it your all
5. Learn the value of hard work. I once heard a friend say, “Dream big. Dreams are free. But remember, only hard work pays.”
With that, keep in mind that no job is too small or too big for you, and give it your all. Working hard for what you have in life will give you more satisfaction and keep you grateful for everything you have in your life.
6. Be responsible. There are many things you will have to be responsible for in life. Whether it is your grades, taking care of yourself, a job, or your family, being responsible is not a chore or an obligation. It means you have been blessed with something great, and you have the opportunity to make it grow. Embrace the chance to make more out of what you have.
7. Be kind. The world does not need any more cruelty or indifference to the plight of those around us. With everyone you encounter, please remember to show a little kindness.
Whether they deserve it or not is irrelevant because you never know what they are going through, and how your actions will affect them.
So, be kind to others, be kind to our planet, and don’t forget to be kind to yourself as well.
8. Stand by your own thoughts and principles, but be open to what life may teach you and always respect others. It is important for you to form your own opinions and have your own principles. They may not be the most popular, but if they are truly yours, and not simply that of those around you, you will be able to stand by them no matter how much pressure you may go through.
But just as you have your principles, so will others. Remember to respect what others stand for, in the same way you would want them to respect your decisions and beliefs.
However, nothing in life is constant, and be open to learning new things. Do not be blind to changes that will make you a better person.
9. Be happy. People spend their whole lives seeking happiness. I don’t know what the secret is to perfect happiness, but I think that for as long as you find something to be grateful for in everything you go through, your heart will always be joyful and you will find happiness wherever you go.
10. You are loved. Your family will always be here for you. No matter how bad, scary or hopeless a situation may be, rest assured that you will always have our love and support, and a home where you are always welcome.