This is as much a letter to my son as it is a testament my dad, my grandfathers, my father-in-law and a select few more who I hold in the highest regard. We have our faults and our regrets, but we've learned a lot about getting better with time and I expect most men can relate.
Your name is a calling. Traced to its root it roughly translates "Heart of Gold" and "Friend To All". I expect nothing less of the man you'll become and I am so excited to watch it unfold. I will not pretend to be a perfect father because I am far from it, but I assure you I will try my hardest to always do my best by you. I will love unconditionally, and I walk beside you through any fire that comes your way. We'll make memories with bicycles and backpacks, but I hope our greatest bond surrounds the idea of building a legacy for all the right reasons, and here is what I've gathered thus far. You see, good men get better if they only try.
1) You never win alone. Center stage means there were many behind you.
2) True bravery is often the product of discipline.
3) I don't care what your job is, your job is to work hard.
4) Show me your friends and I'll show you your future.
5) Every man and woman is created equal. Always.
6) The loudest person in the room is rarely the one you should listen to.
7) Chivalry never dies.
8) Hold her hand.
9) All of life is a classroom. If you don't lose now and then, you'll never win.
10) Sometimes you have to get lost to find your way.
11) Callouses on your hands are better than a calloused heart.
12) The majority of people are good people. Don't let a sour few taint your view.
13) Face your fears over and over again.
14) Listen to Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Neil Young and Zeppelin.
15) Don't ride a motorcycle until your invincible stage has passed.
16) Never forget the smell of a leather baseball mitt.
17) Live like a tree: Reach for the light, but remember your roots.
18) If you feel depressed, serve others.
19) Hurting people hurt people.
20) Walk her to the door.
21) Ask her father's permission.
22) If you want to know a place, walk or ride. Don't drive.
23) Take in one sunrise or one sunset each and every day.
24) You're at your best when you help the least, lost and last of us.
25) Watch the ball all the way into the glove. Lots of people bobble what they assume is a can of corn. Take nothing for granted.
26) If nobody is leading, be the first to try.
27) The people you talk down weigh you down on a long enough timeframe. Use words to build.
28) Anyone can divide a group. It takes someone special to bring people together.
29) Write in all caps. Use spellcheck when typing.
30) Define art however you'd like, but find an artistic outlet.
31) Simplicity is the surest way to freedom.
32) The bicycle is the greatest invention known to man.
33) Aim small, miss small.
34) Always treat a gun like it's loaded.
35) Respect the locals.
36) Learn the difference between a conversation and an argument.
37) Never be afraid to say "I don't know." Unless you do.
38) Make one year, three year and five year goals.
40) Go to you mentor's office hours.
41) When you think you've given your all, you've only just begun. Check out the 40% Rule.
42) Sleep with a notepad by the bed.
43) Your grandfather will always tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
44) Suicide hurts everyone. It's never the answer.
45) Be wiser than your weaknesses.
46) Be stronger than my strengths.
47) Call your own bluff.
48) Stay aware of your surroundings. Anticipate change.
49) Depression looks backwards, anxiety ahead. Peace is in the present.
50) Being busy is not the same as doing good.
51) Speak for the voiceless.
52) Gratitude builds joy.
53) Don't trade good for great.
54) Keep your passions within due bounds.
55) Much of life is momentum. An object at rest will stay at rest. Choose motion.
56) You can always give something.
57) This big old world gets a whole lot smaller.
58) Burn a bridge and it's only a matter of time 'til you have to cross it again.
59) Be consistent, not predictable.
60) Every woman is a daughter of someone.
61) If you're near the ocean, you get in the water.
62) Every hero is a human at heart.
63) Compliments rarely change your character. Pay attention to the criticism. Act on it, don't dwell on it.
64) A good man knows how to vacuum.
65) Ego is weakness.
66) Stand for something or fall for anything.
67) Find big ways to remind yourself you're small.
68) Go skydiving.
69) Sleep on it, but don't delay.
70) Hustle on and off the field.
71) Look where you want to go, not at what you want to avoid.
72) "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes."
73) Spend as many nights around a fire as you can afford.
74) Pick up the tab.
75) When your head gets too loud, turn up the volume on your body. Run until you puke, then you'll think straight.
76) Don't be the guy who forgets to pack water.
77) Do be the guy who packs water for the guy who forgets.
78) No matter what anyone tries to tell you, your only competition is you.
79) Look before you leap, but make the jump.
80) Drop in on a skateboard.
81) Find perfect moments in terrible days.
82) Be the friend who checks on other friends.
83) Iron sharpens iron.
84) Control your breath and you control your day.
85) Be confident, not cocky.
86) Notice intricacies.
87) Date your wife.
88) Collect skin scars, not soul scars.
89) Don't cut down a sapling.
90) Sleep in your car for fun.
91) A dog is a mirror.
92) You're stronger than you think you are.
93) Every man has the chance to do wonderful things in his own regard.
94) Talk to your neighbors.
95) Engage your elders and uplift the youth.
96) Practice being a dad before you're a dad.
97) Save as much as you possibly can for her.
98) Don't wait for inspiration, make it happen.
99) Find a special way to talk to God.
100) Don't distort your platforms.
101) It's better to burn out than to fade away.