Do not, under any circumstances, read this letter until you’re at least 16 years of age.
As I am composing this letter, I am 61 years old, healthier than I have ever been in my life and am feeling great!
I’m going to give you some vital information about your upcoming life in order for you to better understand and enjoy it. I realize you’re going through some very tough times right now, and it seems your life has been turned upside down.
Hang in there… trust me. I know it doesn’t make sense, but the difficult lessons you are now learning… believe it or not, will serve you very well later in life. Try your best to relax, focus and stay close to God, as your life unfolds. It gets very interesting to say the least. Don’t worry… I promise not to give it all away. Believe me… I’ve left out a lot of surprises.
Here’s what I want you to know.
When facing life changing opportunities, you’ll find there are two schools of thought.
1. Is the time right? Maybe I should think things through a little more first. No, the time is not right…maybe later.
2. Is the time right? Is it ever? How badly do I want it? I say… JUMP!
To me, living is experiencing life as it presents itself. Facing most life changing situations can be scary as hell for sure. So what’s new? Obviously, thinking things through is a must, but if your deal breaker is fear of not having a safety net… well, put it this way… it will never be the right time.
Somewhere along the line, I’ve decided if there’s something I want, which I feel may enrich my life… more times than not, I’m going for it. And I got to tell ya… I have no regrets.
Sure, there are times maybe I shouldn’t have… so what? Billy… you know our weakness… waiting for the right time to jump in does nothing more than fortify the negative… and Billy boy… our negative is already fortified aplenty… thank you very much.
I have also found, when deciding to jump, I’m much better off without a net. In fact… anymore, it’s the only way I know how. It’s not a courageous thing… quite the contrary. I’ve tried it both ways, and I have found by removing the net… we seldom fall. And for those times when we do slip… most of the bruises heal just fine. Believe me… these pains are a piece of cake compared to some you’ve already experienced.
They say life’s all about the journey… not the destination, which by the way, I have bought into… hook, line, and sinker. When jumping into a situation with both feet, it’s the experience itself which does the teaching. You see… I comprehend life much better than I do a book… but you know that already. Nevertheless, with this method, the lessons are ingrained forever… sometimes literally. Again, it’s that jumping without a net thing.
Funny thing about destinations… rarely do I end up in the place I envision upon the outset. Thank goodness huh? I’m always taken far beyond my expectations… which brings me to the heart of this letter.
The Ultimate Leap of Faith
There’s neither a bigger jump nor a better journey than raising a family. Although this is an excursion you and your bride will make together… my focus here for you is solely from a father’s point of view.
With most life changing decisions, initially I feel I have a pretty good understanding of what I’m plunging into… ignorance is bliss.
Here’s a news flash Billy… when deciding to begin a family, no one… no book… no revelation… nothing… can prepare you for the ride you’re about to undertake. Let me cut to the chase here.
You are going to marry a beautiful, intelligent, young woman, who absolutely adores children. And it’s a damn good thing, because you are going to be blessed with six of them… five of whom will be girls. Do I have your attention yet?
A father/daughter relationship
In the beginning, I’m sure you will have a game plan, and that’s great… but the fact is… You Don’t Have a Clue! You don’t! Really… you don’t! Relax… no man does.
Okay… I am now going to go on a bit of a rant here… so take a deep breath, and hold on tight. I’ll do this dragnet style… just the facts.
Here are the facts as I see them… stay with me on this. We begin as young boys full of energy who can’t possibly dissipate it fast enough. If we’re lucky enough to have a brother or two, which you are, we instinctively learn to play hard and fight for fun… almost 24/7. That’s what we do.
Our sisters, on the other hand, of which you have four, are a love/hate relationship… mainly because… well, they’re not boys. They’re different… very different. At times we try to relate… but we may as well be spitting in the wind. We accept this as fact and go right back to playing hard and fighting for fun.
As we grow into our teens, hormones take our minds hostage as we begin to view girls a bit differently… suddenly, they become very attractive. We still don’t understand them, but boy do we make fools out of ourselves trying. After all, it’s a difficult transition going from… could care less about girls, to, got nothing else on our minds but.
As we begin to date, most of us awkward, simple minded guys have but one thing on our minds… and if we’re denying… we’re lying. Yes… we are a sorry bunch in our teen years…. some sorrier than others. Again… it’s that hormone thing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
But all is not lost. After a few years of acting like Neanderthals, most of us guys grow up a bit. We settle down… latch onto one girl and get married. If you’re blessed like us… a few short years later, you find yourself standing in a delivery room, watching your first daughter enter into the world. Whatever happened to sitting in a waiting room, passing out cigars, and patting each other on the back?
All kidding aside… after settling down from witnessing one of life’s most precious miracles… you suddenly realize you have just been given the reason for the rest of your life. Slowly your head starts to spin as your life begins to flash in front of your eyes… especially those hostage years I was speaking of earlier.
Before you have a chance to think rationally, your fight or flight instinct kicks in, and you immediately begin to strategize on how to keep your newborn baby daughter… not four minutes old, away from boys until she’s at least 21… make that 25, or 30.
About the same time you think you hear God laughing out loud, the nurse startles you back to reality by handing you your daughter for the first time. You are overwhelmed with joy. As you double check for the missing net, your journey begins… and does it ever.
As I mentioned, I learned early in life that girls are different… very different. And just because you are now a father, doesn’t mean you are suddenly somehow enlightened. Listen… you can try, but you will never be able to think like, or anticipate the reasoning, of a girl… and the sooner you accept this as reality, the better.
Now I’m not going to foolishly sit here and try to tell you how to raise your daughters… you’ll figure that one out for yourself. But I am going to give you a few flickers of light from the end of the tunnel.
Enough with the funny stuff.
Billy… remember those difficult lessons you learned earlier in life… this is where they kick in.
I want you to understand the unbelievable influence, you as a father, have over your daughter. This relationship is like no other. You are the main man in her life for roughly 18 years.
Whether you like it or not… in her eyes, you are, and always will be, the gold standard of not only what a father is… but also a man. Do not blow this awesome opportunity. Believe it or not… the pain of losing your dad at 12 years of age actually will help you better grasp this concept. It seems everything has a purpose.
She will hear and learn from what you say… but she will internalize and never forget what you do.
As a matter of fact… what you do in your world is what she’ll expect from others in hers.
As a child, she sees you as her gentle giant… one with all the power, though radiating authority with a loving, kind heart.
• She’ll see others in her life come and go… but not you. You’re always there… and that’s the point.
• She will see in her world, men who mistreat and belittle their wives… but not you… she only sees you loving and respecting yours.
• She will sometimes witness or hear of other men who embarrass and harm their families because of substance abuse or other addictions… but not you. You’re in control of your actions and very much aware of their repercussions. Again… a very valuable lesson you learned the hard way.
• She will have friends with practically absolute freedom, who are able to do and have most anything they desire… but not her. She will have boundaries borne out of love and discipline, which she will one day understand and deeply appreciate later in raising her own family.
• She’ll have friends who only see their dads on given weekends and maybe every other holiday… and that’s if they’re lucky. These same kids often lay awake at night, rather than peacefully asleep, lamenting the fact their parents can’t get along. Tragically, many will end up blaming themselves for their parents’ shortcomings. But not your daughter… that’s not even on her radar. You’re home every night… and that’s just the way it always is.
• She hears of some dads who lose their temper and become violent when they get agitated or disappointed. But not you… she knows there are times you are mad, sad or upset… but she doesn’t fear those emotions. She has seen her gentle giant navigate through them peacefully.
• When there’s something important in her life, she knows it’s also a top priority in yours.
In a nutshell… everything you do as a father, and I mean everything… is magnified, internalized, reproduced, taken as gospel and never, ever forgotten. I can’t over state this.
The fact is… we raise our daughters from a man’s perspective; it’s the way it’s meant to be… and in doing so, there will be plenty of missteps and misunderstandings… for sure.
You’ll try to fix things when you should be listening. You’ll try to console when they are actually happy… the crying is so confusing. You’ll try to be patient, listening to a dissertation, when you know for a fact, it could be summed up in two or three words. This gender thing at times can set your head to spinning if you let it. Don’t let it. In the big picture, they’re nothing more than funny stories told at family gatherings.
Billy, in closing, I want to say, having a large family will be the best thing that will ever happen to you… so many good times, wonderful surprises and memories… not to mention all the intangibles.
The irony is… in raising daughters, you may think at times you’re not connecting, but nothing could be further from the truth. For every time you sing a lullaby, tuck them in at night, comb out the tangles, watch them perform one of their choreographed family room shows, comfort them in a storm, build them a snowman, engage them in teaching moments, watch a movie together, pop them some popcorn, force them to go to church, change a flat tire, or critique a boyfriend… you are building, with each loving moment, a relationship which will forever remain.
Sure… no matter how hard you try, you’ll never teach them how to think like a man. But what you will do is… teach them how to recognize one.
Now that, Billy boy… is what it’s all about.
And as far as your only son goes… piece of cake. Make that the icing on the cake.
By the way… you may want to start using some sunscreen.
Hope you enjoy my video below (daughters)
P.S. Just wait until you meet your wife. She is everything you lack… and then some… not to mention, she’s also drop dead gorgeous!
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