The legacy of a father is what he leaves in his stead for his children and those who have been in the shadow of his influence. I love my sons (and nephews and mentees) and the following are 39 lessons or observations I hope to teach (or have taught) them over the years. This is not a comprehensive list, but a good start.
1. manhood is earned, not inherited
The biological emergence of becoming a man should not be confused with manhood. Manhood is accepting responsibility for yourself and your actions, tending to the care and well-being of others and contributing to society.
2. there is a God
Acknowledging that there is a being greater than yourself, creates a sense of purpose and humility that fuels endless curiosity, seeking and learning.
3. you are not Him
Don’t be judgemental. Instead, be humble and know that everyone makes mistakes while deserving the same grace you’ve been given.
4. but God did make you special
The same God that made the universe made you intentionally. No one else is like you. That is your superpower.
5. give more than you take
Always give back to the faces and spaces that you took from.
6. don’t run with the crowd, unless you’re the leader
Lead, aspire to lead or, while you’re following, learn to lead.
7. make your life, your work
Find your purpose and make a living there.
8. never make work, your life
Just simply getting a paycheck is not, and should never be all there is.
9. losing is a sign that you’re trying
Losing is only temporary, and if you keep trying and learn from your losses, you will win.
10. never never never give up
11. no one owes you anything
Always be willing to work for what you want.
12. true education starts after school ends
Schooling is for the sake of demonstrating your aptitude to learn. Once you complete school, that ability is challenged and matured for the rest of your life. Therein true education ensues.
13. money is not equal to success
Success is setting a goal and making it.
14. never lose self-control (unless you want to)
Don’t let anyone have mastery over you that leads you to lose self-control. It’s called self-control because you are in control of self.
15. healthy relationships are built on communication which leads to trust
Talking and listening build a strong rapport.
16. physical confrontation with a girl/woman = lose/lose odds
There is no justification for violently putting your hands on a girl or a woman.
17. credit card debt is a brutal master
Use credit to build wealth.
18. if you can’t afford it with cash, save for it or pass it by
Disciplining yourself in this way will save you from the heartache of buyer’s remorse and you’ll value your purchases so much more when you take the time to consider them.
19. learning starts with leaving your comfort zone
If you don’t challenge yourself, you won’t grow.
20. invest in teaching others what you learn
And again, give back.
21. love yourself before you expect a girl/woman to love you
You inform others how to love you based on how you love yourself.
22. never point a gun that you’re not prepared to shoot
Literally and figuratively. Don’t start something that you’re not willing and ready to finish.
23. some fights are best won by walking away
While some lives are saved to fight differently another day.
24. don’t judge others just because they are different from you
You are not God.
25. learn from the mistakes of others
Julius Caesar was wrong. Experience is not the best teacher. There can be powerful lessons yielded from experience, but there also is great wisdom gleaned from the mistakes of others.
26. save more than you spend
If you follow this simple rule, you will be wealthy by the time you’re 40.
27. girls/women think completely different from you
Learning of her and how she communicates is essential if you want to truly know her.
28. celebrate the differences
We were created to be different; therefore we should celebrate that.
29. give respect to others
How you treat others informs them how to treat you.
30. let your presence command respect from all
Hold your head high. You are the sun.
31. give thanks daily for what you have
A thankful heart is a humble and happy heart.
32. it’s okay to cry
Crying is a byproduct of emotion that is a character of being human. Don’t be ashamed to feel all of your feelings.
33. smile more than you frown
It’s easier to dwell on the negative things. Challenge yourself to smile even then. People treat you differently when you smile.
34. stand up straight
Remember? You are the sun. And the sun only sets at dusk.
35. (almost always) tell the truth
Practice living in your truth always. Know when your truth (your business) isn’t for everyone to hear.
36. look people in the eyes when you talk to them
Some will need to indulge the fire in your eyes, while others will starve to see the humanity there.
37. always get there early
When you are early, you’re less stressed, you’re ready for the unexpected, you get the best seat and you’re always on time.
38. always consider the consequence
And take responsibility there.
39. seek God always
Therein you’ll find your purpose.
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” -Frederick Douglass