Heart BEATS: “Passing Life’s Lessons From Father to Son”
This past Father's Day I was on a tour for my new book, "Your Cat: The Owner's Manual," and I was thinking about our 22-year-old son, Lex, who has been gone the past year studying in Japan. He'll be back home to Idaho in August for a few days of R&R before going right into his fifth year of college, getting ready to graduate from the University of Idaho.
I've been having dreams of both my own father and my father-in-law lately, even though they've been gone for more than 10 years. While I'm not sure the genesis of these vidid dreams, they prompted me to reflect on the lessons both of them taught me. and what I wanted to make sure I communicated strongly, and in most cases, repeatedly, to my own son.
I write to my son and daughter (Vetstreet pet-behavior expert Mikkel Becker) every week and have done so almost without fail since they left home for college. This Father's Day letter to Lex wasn't informational, or as humorous as most, but filled with life's admonitions, tactics, blazed trails and shortcuts.
This is what I shared with him:
1. Find something you love to do so much that you look forward to doing it every day.
2. Have dreams with deadlines.
3. Work harder than everybody else.
4. Think differently than everyone else. Don't be a human lemming.
5. Stay curious and live a life of self-improvement.
6. Begin with the end in mind. What do you want in life in regards to relationships, career, spiritually? Once you know what you want, figure out a strategy and timeline to make it happen.
7. Have fun in life! Joke, tease, quip, entendres, practical jokes.
8. Nice is underrated. The simple rule is be nice to everyone all the time.
9. Go to war for family. There's nothing you won't do to support family members physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually.
10. Love is a verb. Find someone you like, love, respect, enjoy and are attracted to … then spend a lifetime building on that relationship.
If you follow these tenets you'll find the wind in your back, a kick in your step, a smile on your face, financial success and emotional wealth. I could wish nothing more for my own children.