6 Harsh Turths, a Version for My Son

by Byron on August 9, 2013

Dear Decker,

I read something yesterday that I want to share with you one day.  I don’t know when it should be shared with you because it’s harsh.  But it’s real.  It’s a relatively accurate portrayal of what the world is like.

The piece is called 6 Harsh Truths that Will Make You a Better Person.   You can find it here on cracked.com.  Hopefully it’s still there 15 or 20 years from now when you read it.  In summary, the article says you need to benefit other people, you will be judged on your actions, and you need to continue improving even though a lot of the time you won’t want to.

The world only cares about what it can get from you.

This is absolutely true.  And the truth is, even Mommy and Daddy only care what we can get from you.  Lucky for you, we both get an immense amount of joy by doing things for you.  Literally, taking care of you makes me ecstatic.  Feeding you your dinner makes me so happy.  Even changing your diaper, wiping your ass, and throwing away your poop gives me a certain amount of satisfaction.  Very few checks I write make me happier than your formula, your toys, and the monthly deposit into the college fund.  (Just so you don’t think we’re that old, I don’t actually write checks, of course.  But it’s still an expression.)

You being you is enough for Mom and I.  I suspect that would be true under any circumstances that could ever be dreamed up.  You are enough.  For us.  We get tons from you without you actually having to do anything.  So do Mimi and PopPop and Grandma and Grandpa.  You don’t need to do all that much for the rest of your family either.  They’re there for you.  Aunts and Uncles and Cousins are too.  Hopefully one day a brother or sister too.

And I want you to know, when you need to retreat into a place where you only need to exist to be loved, I’m here for you my man.  I love you.  I love you a ton!  Mom’s here for you too.  For what it’s worth, I feel that I am loved by the creator of the universe.  I feel that I am loved by all that is.  It’s not a formal religious thing, as I’m not really into all that.  It is very much a spiritual thing though.  I wish you that love as well.

As for other humans, you being nice, kind, personable, and friendly is a good start for what you can give to other people.  I don’t want you to think from what the author is saying that having – and displaying – some of these basic good qualities is not a great start.  It absolutely is.

But he’s right.  For most people, you need to actively do things to benefit them.  Even Mom and I, we actively do things to benefit each other all the time.  If I worked late, Mom might take you to school on a day where I normally would.  If I sense Mom needs a pick me up, I might get her some flowers or a nice dinner out, just her and I.

The Hippies Were Wrong

I don’t know exactly what the author means by this.  I suspect it’s just his way of putting some extra emphasis on the first point.  If he’s suggesting that we all have to get jobs, I suppose he’s right. However, if you don’t need the money, you won’t need to work for money because you will have money.  (But, skipping ahead, you will still likely have to benefit people in order to be happy.  Even if you have all the loot in the world.)

If he’s saying it’s up to you, then, yes, I agree.  At some point, yes, it will be up to you to make it happen.  And you can.  And you will.

If he’s saying capitalism makes the world go round, he’s right on that one too.  We all focus our efforts on what we best know how to do and we do it a bunch.  We exchange what we do for what other people do.  We use money as the medium of exchange.  For instance, I get cases for lawyers.  Let’s pretend that yields me $5000 per case.  If I want to buy a car that costs $30,000, I need to get 6 cases.

This system, capitalism, is about the best we’ve had.  However, it will not last.  It won’t last because the people at the top buy the government and eventually that builds to revolution.  That will probably come after me.  Maybe after you, but keep your head on a swivel.  Be ready for anything, my man.

So the hippies were right in some regards.  The hippies and the capitalists must merge ideas.  More about this in future posts.

What You Produce Does Not Have to Make Money, But It Does Have to Benefit People

What you do to benefit other people you also do to benefit yourself.  It’s how we are wired.  We need to do it for satisfaction.  I believe evolution calls for it.  For instance, this clip was shown in the original article.

I can only speak from my experience.  Doing for you makes me happier than anything has before.  And it’s hard sometimes.  I’m helping to create and shape a person.  Raising a child they call it.

You Hate Yourself Because You Don’t Do Anything

Creating things is awesome.  I don’t know why.  I think it’s probably hard-wired in us because if we didn’t create things, we wouldn’t survive.  We had to create shelter to keep us alive.  We had to create agriculture to feed lots of us.  We created phones to remain in contact.

Technology continually helps us automate tasks that aren’t really what life is about.  From my estimation, life is about connection.  Love.  Technology cannot replace connection, but technology can enable connection.

For a long period of time, I did not live up to my potential.  I realize now I had a lot of things to figure out during that time.  From 15 through 27 I did not make nearly the contribution I could have.  During some periods in there, I did hate myself.  None of that much matters now.  Bottom line: I can attest to the author’s sentiment.  You must do.

Now, the article includes a video of some dude in a thong singing (and I use the term loosely) about his penis.  If this is what you “do,” I can’t say that I’ll be thrilled.  But if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, it’s not really my business to tell you different.

This, of course, might bring up the question for you: “What am I supposed to be doing?”  There’s a lot of sage advice on this one.

  • Follow Your Heart
  • Trust Your Gut
  • Listen to Your Parents
  • Get a Mentor
  • Etc

I like “do the next right thing.”

What’s right, you ask?  …So many questions you have.

The golden rule is certainly a good place to start.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.  If you don’t want your feelings hurt, don’t hurt other people’s feelings.  Chances are, when someone does or says something to you that makes you feel good, that same thing will make other people feel good.  You could do more of that.

What You Are Inside Only Matters Because of What It Makes You Do

I really like a few follow-up lines the author has to this:

“Don’t get me wrong; who you are inside is everything — the guy who built a house for his family from scratch did it because of who he was inside. Every bad thing you’ve ever done has started with a bad impulse, some thought ricocheting around inside your skull until you had to act on it. And every good thing you’ve done is the same — “who you are inside” is the metaphorical dirt from which your fruit grows.”

He goes on to say that nobody cares about the dirt, they care about the fruit.  Mommy and I care about your dirt!  However, we mostly care about it because of the fruit we know that will come.  We want you to produce good fruit because that means you will have traits and words and skills to offer to others.  And that, as has been discussed, means you will be happier.

The actions we take are more important than the thoughts we have.  You will know I love you because I will show you I love you.  I will be there to pick you up.  I will take you to baseball games.  I will take lots of pictures of you.  I will say I don’t give a shit how expensive it is, Decker’s life will be better if he has a brother or a sister.  I will teach you things.  I will write letters to you on blog so you know how I feel.

Everything Inside You Will Fight Improvement

I hope you never need to change.  I hope you never experience the dislike of self that comes from not doing the right thing.  I hope you don’t wake up to realize you haven’t really been acting as you truly feel.  I hope you don’t have to say “I could have done more” too often.  But such is life, you might.  If that time comes, know that I agree with the author.  Change is hard and you will fight against yourself.  Be of service to someone or something.  That’s the start.

Love,

Dad

ps.  I’m really psyched you’re my son.

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