Letters to my sons

A collection of thoughts and lessons I've learned along the way for my little men, and anyone else that's interested.

Posts tagged with #Having Fun

My son,

Growing up, our family wasn't really big into celebrations - birthdays weren't a big deal, holidays were really just family hang out times and not big extravagant events, and even milestones while celebrated were always generally fairly subdued in nature.

Now, much of that is cultural, and a product of the era that your grandparents lived in, so I don't want you to read this and think that life in the Ng house was miserable and drab; far from it. In their own way, your grand parents taught your uncle and I how to value the right things, how to cherish your time with loved ones, how to work hard and how to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

My charge to you is to take all that one step further, and celebrate at the top of your lungs, with all the energy in your being.

Because that's what you'll remember - the big, over-the-top parties that you were a part of, the black tie ball that you went to for New Years Eve, the spontaneous trip you took to celebrate a promotion of a friend or a loved one. These are the memories that will stay with you and bring a smile to your face decades later. These are the things that your mother taught me to do (albeit sometimes against my will!), and are things that I am eternally grateful to her for.

You're almost two years old as I'm writing this, and one of the things you love to do is to cheer and make a big ruckus when you do something well. You love clapping for yourself (and getting everyone around you to clap with you!) when you use your fork to successfully shovel something in your mouth. You love cheering and throwing both arms in the air when you launch your favorite seahorse across the room. You love it when people around you clap or cheer; you clap and yell more loudly than them all.

My hope is that your mom and I are able to continue to encourage that in you, and that you'll grow up to be someone who celebrates the little things, because it's those little things that will stay with you. It's those little things that will make you a good-natured person. It's those little things that will keep you smiling and hopeful even when life gets rough. And it's those little things that will bring people together to celebrate and to run life together.

My son,

As much as we'd occasionally like life to run entirely on our schedule, the reality is that it doesn't and it won't. And so this entry, while on the one hand is about being dressed well, on the other hand is really about being prepared for the unexpected to happen, and to be able to gracefully handle those situations.

The face value of the title here is very true - you should dress every day like you're going to meet the love of your life. Because who knows, you just might meet her some day, and you'd ideally want your appearance to give you the confidence to be on your best foot. Like we discussed last time, appearances matter, if only to give you an extra boost of confidence - and every man knows that when you first see that face, first encounter that angel that you'll want to spend the rest of your days with, every ounce of confidence is going to be welcomed.

The underlying point here is that life won't go according to your schedule.

That's not to say you shouldn't plan - no, definitely make your plans, and lay out the course that you want to take. But be flexible on that course. Often, the best times in life - the most memorable, the most impactful, the most exhilarating - will come when you least expect it. And if you're dressed and ready for the occasion, you set yourself up for a much better experience.

And so my advice here is to be ready for that. When you're ready and expecting the unexpected, you're able to take things in stride and handle the situation with more grace. When you're ready for life to throw its curveballs at you, you're best equipped to knock that sucker if not out of the park, than at least out to the right field corner for a double. So be prepared. Be dressed for the occasion. Plan, but be flexible. Let life take you where it will.

And who knows, you might just meet the love of your life along the way.

My son,

I realize that until now, we've been talking about a lot of different topics that are centered around character, around refining the noble spirit that lives within us. Today I want to take the chance to talk about something that while different, is just as important in living life as it ought to be lived.

Having fun. Enjoying life, basking in the light, smelling the roses.

In our all-go-no-quit society, it is very easy to get caught up in moving forward. We're trained to believe that forward motion is the most important, that if we're not making progress then we're sliding backwards.

And while that may be true, it's also extremely valuable to stop and enjoy what you've got.

The Bible uses paternal imagery to describe our heavenly relationship, and it's in that context that this entry is crafted. As a father of a 16 month old, something surprising has dawned on me. While I love watching you learn things and have been extremely proud to watch you go from an infant learning how to follow objects by turning his head to a toddler that shouts "da da!" at the top of his lungs excitedly every morning, those moments don't bring me as much joy as simply hearing you laugh and seeing you have the time of your life.

It is that pure joy, that child-like happiness and excitement, that thrill of just spending time with your family - that's the type of having fun and loving life that I'm describing that brings me so much joy.

I believe that our heavenly Father experiences that same joy when we love life; when we laugh, when we have fun, when we build lasting memories of loved ones enjoying life together. While He is certainly pleased with us when we work on our character, when we learn things, when we show love, sympathy and empathy to others, I believe He experiences pure joy when we just love life and have a ton of fun.

So keep pursuing noble character, learn how to change the world, decide who you want to be, build and create the world of the future and experience the world of today, and surround yourself with people who you can do all of those things with. Love recklessly. Live life to the full, and have fun.



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