People who love themselves, don’t hurt other people. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer.
Dads. It’s time to show our sons how to properly treat a woman. It’s time to show our daughters how a girl should expect be treated. It’s time to show forgiveness and compassion. It’s time to show our children empathy. It’s time to break social norms and teach a healthier way of life! It’s time to teach good gender roles and to ditch the unnecessary ones. Does it really matter if your son likes the color pink? Is it going to hurt anybody? Do you not see the damage it inflicts to tell a boy that there is something wrong with him because he likes a certain color? Do we not see the damage we do in labeling our girls “tom boys” or our boys “feminine” just because they have their own likes and opinions on things? Things that really don’t matter?
My request today is simple. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. Find somebody, anybody, that’s different than you. Somebody that has made you feel ill-will or even hateful. Somebody whose life decisions have made you uncomfortable. Somebody who practices a different religion than you do. Somebody who has been lost to addiction. Somebody with a criminal past. Somebody who dresses “below” you. Somebody with disabilities. Somebody who lives an alternative lifestyle. Somebody without a home.Somebody that you, until now, would always avoid, always look down on, and always be disgusted by.Reach your arm out and put it around them.And then, tell them they’re all right. Tell them they have a friend. Tell them you love them.If you or I wanna make a change in this world, that’s where we’re gonna be able to do it. That’s where we’ll start.Every. Single. Time.
Don’t we get it? To put our arm around someone who is gay, someone who has an addiction, somebody who lives a different lifestyle, someone who is not what we think they should be… doing that has nothing to do with enabling them or accepting what they do as okay by us. It has nothing to do with encouraging them in their practice of what you or I might feel or believe is wrong vs right.It has everything to do with being a good human being. A good person. A good friend.
Dads. Do you not realize that a child is what you tell them they are? That people almost always become what they are labeled? Was whatever your child just did really the “dumbest thing you’ve ever seen somebody do”? Was it really the “most ridiculous thing they ever could have done”? Do you really believe that your child is an idiot? Because she now does. Think about that. Because you said it, she now believes it. Bravo.
Dads. It’s time to tell our kids that we love them. Constantly. It’s time to show our kids that we love them. Constantly. It’s time to take joy in their twenty-thousand daily questions and their inability to do things as quickly as we’d like. It’s time to take joy in their quirks and their ticks. It’s time to take joy in their facial expressions and their mispronounced words. It’s time to take joy in everything that our kids are.
Dads. Do your faces light up when you first see your child in the morning or when you come home from work? Do you not understand that a child’s entire sense of value can revolve around what they see in your face when you first see them?
Do you not realize that your kids are going to make mistakes, and a lot of them? Do you not realize the damage you do when you push your son’s nose into his mishaps or make your daughter feel worthless because she bumped or spilled something? Do you have any idea how easy it is to make your child feel abject? It’s as simple as letting out the words, “why would you do that!?” or “how many times have I told you…
I think it doesn’t matter if you or I or anybody else thinks homosexuality is a sin. It doesn’t matter if you or I think anything is a sin. It doesn’t matter if homosexuality is a sin or not. In fact, it doesn’t matter if anything anybody else does is a sin or not.Because sin is a very personal thing! It always has been and it always will be!And it has nothing to do with love.
Loving my son, building my son, touching my son, playing with my son, being with my son… these aren’t tasks that only super dads can perform. These are tasks that every dad should perform. Always. Without fail.
Having a religion doesn’t make a person love or not love others. It doesn’t make a person accept or not accept others. It doesn’t make a person befriend or not befriend others.Being without a religion doesn’t make somebody do or be any of that either.No, what makes somebody love, accept, and befriend their fellow man is letting go of a need to be better than others.Nothing else.
I promise you it doesn’t matter what you believe, how strongly you live your beliefs, or how true your beliefs are. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks you are in the wrong. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks your beliefs are senseless or illogical. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks you have it all wrong. In fact, there are a lot of people in this world who do.
Saturday mornings, I’ve learned, are a great opportunity for kids to sneak into your bed, fall back asleep, and kick you in the face.
It’s time we stand up and demand more of the fathers of this world. It’s time we stop buying into their rationalizations and their sorry explanations. It’s time we give our kids a fighting chance.
Sometimes to be a good parent... You have to laugh when you want to be angry. You have to be angry when you want to laugh. And that is why good parenting is tough.
Parenting is the greatest pay it forward system on earth. We don't owe our parents anything. We owe our children everything. The same was true for our parents. The same will be true for our children.
Fishing is much less about the fishing, and much more about the time alone with your kid, away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday.
Do we not see the influence we have when we say we believe in one thing, but our children see us living something else? Do we not realize how little we encourage our children to actually decide what they believe, declare what they believe, and then live by it? Whether it’s religion, politics, sports, or societal norms. It is not our place to tell our kids what to think. It is our place to teach our kids to think correctly. If we do this, we need have no fear of what they will decide for themselves and how strongly they’ll stand behind it. A man will follow his own convictions to his death, but he’ll only follow another man’s convictions until he steps in manure.
Dads. Do you honestly expect anybody to believe that you can’t find 20 minutes to step away from your computer or turn off the television to play with your child? It has to happen every single day. Do you not understand that children will hinge their entire facet of trust on whether or not their dad plays with them and how involved he is when he plays with them? Do you know the damage you do by not playing with your children every day?
And if you are a mom who has watched your child’s father leave, my heart goes out to you. I also pray that you had no part in it. I pray that you didn’t make it impossible for him while he was there. I pray that you didn’t try and force him to live up to impossible expectations. And, I pray that if he is a good man and he wants to be there in his child’s life that you love your child enough to let him. Even if that seems impossible to you.
I am far from a perfect dad. And I always will be. But I’m a damn good dad, and my son will always feel bigger than anything life can throw at him. Why? Because I get it. I get the power a dad has in a child’s life, and in a child’s level of self-belief. I get that everything I ever do and ever say to my son will be absorbed, for good or for bad.
Dads. Do you not realize that your child needs to feel your skin on his? Do you not realize the incredible and powerful bond that skin on skin contact with your daughter will give you? Do you not understand the permanent mental connections that are made when you stroke your son’s bare back or rub your daughter’s bare tummy while you tell bedtime stories? And if any idiot says anything about that being inappropriate, you’re gonna get kicked in the face, first by me, and then by every other good dad out there. Touching your child is your duty as a father.
Good fathers, and by that I mean real fathers who are there, have the ability to change almost every social problem we now find ourselves facing. I’d be assumptive enough to say that there isn’t a single type of crime or a single problem so big that it couldn’t be fixed or wiped out if fathers would just step up.
Every time we look at the clock, we must learn to feel a sense of urgency. We must learn to realize that “now” is happening and will very soon be gone. We must look at the digits on the display and be overcome with an urge to do something before those digits change. Before “now” slips through our fingers. We must look at the ink on the calendar and see an immediate opportunity to do something wonderful, incredible, or beautiful.It’s that simple. We need to change our thinking from “when the number changes” to “before the number changes”.
If you want to change the world, first change yourself, then tell others how you did it. Never demand that people change. Inspire them to change using your own change as an example instead.
I really believe that it is honesty about our imperfect selves that makes everyone do better and be better.
Once your past no longer has the power to define you, your future is, quite literally, yours for the taking. Every single beautiful thing you could possibly want or imagine will be yours.
Everything we think we know, everything we think we see, everything we believe we feel, taste, smell, or hear, everything we “remember” (our pasts), everything we want to happen (our futures), everything that has ever existed or will ever exist, only exists right now. All of these things are nothing more than electric signals being passed through our brains and bodies, right now. It is all energy flowing through us right now. “The past” exists only in our minds. We are the ones who bring it into reality. We are the ones who bring it into the present. We are the ones who make it “real”.
Having a college degree does not make you educated. Always learning new things is what makes you educated.
Our greatest mistakes, if we look at them, and digest them, and interact with them, and learn from them… they can be the greatest moments of our lives.
Only those willing to truly risk everything will gain everything. No person ever rose to greatness without the willingness to lose it all.
One of the greatest acts of service you can do is to find someone who is secretly lonely and be a friend to them, if only for a day.
Who do you want to surround yourself with? People who can pull you up to their level of greatness? Or people who will happily pull you down to theirs?
You’d be hard-pressed to find an old person who would trade in a true friend for any amount of popularity or fame. You'd also be hard-pressed to find a young person who wouldn't.
I’ve watched my dad move our family from extreme poverty to extreme wealth and then everywhere in between. Never once did I see or hear him be anything but a cheerleader for the accomplishments of others. It didn’t matter if he was down or up in life, he wanted everybody around him to succeed. I’ve even watched him praise the very people that have tried to destroy him over the years and then very publicly wish them success and happiness. He taught me the enthusiasm that should always come at the success of others. He constantly taught me that when others succeed, it gives us all more opportunity to succeed. He taught me that when there is conflict, minor or major, you can almost always walk away at the end with a handshake.
If bullies actually believe that somebody loves them and believes in them, they will love themselves, they will become better people, and many will even become saviors to the bullied.
If I could give one message to the bullied, it would be this: You are not alone. You are strong. You have a voice. You are beautiful. You are intelligent. There are many kids who want to speak up for you, but they don’t because they are afraid of becoming bullied themselves. There are many of us in the world who love you. I love you. You have the power to end this now. That power is in your voice. Find it. Once you use your voice, bullies want no part of you. If you feel that you lack the courage, fake it until you do. Finally, I know it’s hard to see a life that exists beyond high school. It is there, and it is beautiful.
Don't hate the bullies. Experience tells me that hating them, or being angry with them, will always make it worse. Instead, put your arm around them. Love them. Tell them that they are valuable. Tell them that you expect great things from them. They will stop the bullying. They will stop, because they will start to love themselves. And people who love themselves don’t bully others.
If I could give one message to the bullies, it would be this: You are incredible. You are bound for great things. You have the potential to be anybody you want to be. There are people who believe in you. There are people who love you. Be what we know you can be, even if you don’t believe in yourself right now.