I penned this note to my stepson tonight after his latest bout of struggling with truth.
This life you are living is yours to create. Choices are yours to make. As your parents, we can only guide you in the right direction. Whether you acknowledge and accept it or not, understand that we adults have lived through the things you are now experiencing.
What have we learned?
Character counts! Character means making the right choice when confronted with many.
Integrity matters (a lot)! Integrity means being true to yourself and true to your word.
This is fundamental to being “honorable.”
Respect is critical. The way you demonstrate respect for others and the respect you earn through your words and actions can take you to unforeseen places in this world. BUT YOU MUST EARN RESPECT … from us, from your teachers, and from your friends.
As your Mom and I explained, “reputation” is a combination of all of these things. Your reputation – whatever you allow it to become – will have a lasting impact on the grades you get, on the friends you keep, on the decisions and judgments others will make about you, and how the whole world sees you.
It’s your choice to lead, to make good choices, to do right, to change the world with your ideas and actions. The reputation you’ve built for yourself is entirely of your own making, and right now, that isn’t a good thing. Do better. Be the better person. “Life” will reward you for it later.
[Literal side note: I love you so much, G. I just want you to succeed in everything you do.]