Ten wishes for my son and us all
Last updated 9/20/2019 at 1:23pm | View PDF
My baby just turned 10 and, even setting aside my emotional baggage over that, it is a momentous birthday. This milestone involves special traditions in our home, the most sentimental of which is a letter from me entitled "10 Wishes." I outline 10 things about my child right now that make me proud and 10 wishes I have for their future selves.
As I worked on this last letter, I realized it is a list that we could all use right now. So I humbly offer up an abbreviated version of my "10 Wishes" for all of our future selves.
1. Be kind
It sounds easy, but we often forget this simple rule at the most critical times. Trust that your kindness will make your world a better place.
2. Be resilient.
Your ability to snap back from disappointments and failures will help define you. Failure can be a good thing - if you never fail, you've never truly challenged yourself. Bounce back up, dust yourself off and try again, always.
3. Be open and adventurous
New ideas, people, cultures, food - sincerely listen, learn, absorb, push beyond your comfort zone. This world is full of beauty. Be open and embrace it.
4. Be true to yourself
Trust your instincts, know what's in your heart and don't do things you don't want to do. Don't give up on who you are or who you want to be in order to please others.
5. Be tough *and* tender
Tough when you have to deal with the jerks. Be stronger than the jerks. Stand up for yourself and others who need help. Tender when you offer a shoulder to lean on, a hug to cry into, a helping hand to grasp. Never be afraid to say, "I love you." The world needs more men who can be both. Be one of those men.
6. Be a leader
You are strong, confident, kind and compassionate. Now be a role model. The world needs more strong men doing the right thing. Be one of those men, too.
7. Be a dreamer
This life is more magical when you dream big. Not all dreams are meant to be, but that shouldn't stop you. You'll never know how far you can go until you try.
8. Be the good in the world
There is a lot of ugliness in this world. So many are struggling and need compassion. You can make a difference. Any small change for the better is worth doing.
9. Be happy
Take that moment to acknowledge the good in your life, the things that make you smile, and be forever grateful.
10. Believe in yourself
Be patient. Give yourself plenty of grace. Applaud your successes; accept any (perceived) shortcomings. You are here to do amazing things. "Always remember, you are braver than you believe; stronger than you seem and smarter than you think."
Be a light in this world, fellow humans, and believe in yourselves as I believe in you!
- Jen Dean of Hinsdale is a former contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected]