Another birthday!

Twelve!

A young man.

Today is a beginning and ending for you. You are no longer a baby, no longer a toddler who needs mom and dad to help him over the rocks. Today I watched you figure out how you were going to get up and down the slope, through the bushes, and over the rocks to where a piece of garbage lay in the mud– it wasn’t a fun job but you did your part and I was glad to see you working at getting the task done. This small task is like life– it’s not always clean and it’s not always fun. You sometimes have to give up what you want or wanted to do in order to make your world a better place, but you’ll find at the end of the day, that it is very worth it. This is true in your relationships to others and to the earth.

Physically you will change whether you want to or not, or whether your dad and I have prepared you for it or not. You’re hormones will take you on a wild ride and you might find girls to be a bit of a distraction. Girls and sex and romance are all wonderful and great, but don’t let your hormones get the better of you. You have a life to live and if you get too distracted with your physical desires, you will miss out on the last bits and pieces of your childhood- pieces that you will cherish later.  You might also sabotage your ability to have the life you want. (I’ll speak plainly that if you get a girl pregnant and she wants to have it, you will be ordered to pay child support. This means you might not be able to get the education you want. At the least it will make it much harder).

You will also feel constrained by the demands of my house or by your dad’s. It’s important for you to learn how to confront those rules that are unreasonable and to deal with those that are simply the result of living with adults that are looking out for your best interest whether you want them to or not. You may not always know the difference, but I can help you understand it if you speak up about your frustrations.

For my part, I will always insist that you are work hard in school and put forth your best work. I will restrict your behavior if you are blowing me off and doing only what you think you can get away with. I am not impressed with the education you are getting in school so I may ask for more than what your teacher is requiring of you. I would do this because I love you, because I want you to have a happy life and you’re not going to have a happy life if you’re not smart enough to make good decisions. You and your sisters have natural intelligence but when you don’t use it and strengthen it, then you won’t be able to make good decisions when the time comes. You might feel like you’re really accomplishing something by having other people do things for you be playing dumb or getting a sad face, but you are only hurting yourself by falling into that (really bad) habit. To manage your life with some sort of ease and enjoyment, you will be best off if you are strong, smart and honorable. You gain those qualities by working at them. None of them come easy.

So much to think about! So much to consider!

Fortunately you don’t have to learn it all today. You have the days in front of you to learn about life and who you want to be…And if you’re struggling with knowing who you want to be, look at the people around you who are truly happy and enjoying life. They cannot tell you who you are, but they can give you a clue about how you can figure it out for yourself.

I want you to take the naming ceremony seriously. You can choose a name that will really reflect who you want to be or what you to do someday (For example: “Flyboy” might be a name for a kid who wanted to be a pilot). You could use it as your middle name if you want to.

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