Today you are a man… I feel like you’ve been one since before you even arrived but….In the eyes of the law, you are a man. I know, right? Weird? After all this time as a kid? But it’s true… You can vote… You can fight and die for your country.
These things don’t make you a man any more than your shoe size makes you a man… There are many so-called men out there wearing what amounts to clown shoes… They are not men… They are boys wearing the bodies of men… But let’s not dwell on them. I’m here to tell you what I think a man is. These are the things important things in life.
You are a man because you’ve decided to be one
Is it really that simple? Can’t becoming a man be something more complicated, like finding the just the right shirt and wearing that man-shirt with just the right air of swagger that says to anybody who cares to look… “Hey there! I’m a man!”? Well, no. Sorry to say there is no man-shirt… No sign that you can paste to your forehead. Being a man is far more than looking the part. Man-ness comes from inside you.
So take a deep breath and decide once and for all to own your future, to claim your birthright as a brilliant star, and to walk the path that you create — you and your sweet magic in the jungle of rejection, mistrust, uncertainty, and misdirection.
If there is anything I’ve neglected to tell you enough times over the past 18 years, it’s this… You are a rebel. You were born for greatness. You were born to change worlds… I tell you this because I know you. I made you…and although I’ve made many missteps along the path of my own life… you are not one of them.
You are here for a reason… Live your reason with every part of you… Don’t stop until your heart beats in time with the universe and you know you are magic.
What Sort of Man are you?
That’s up to you. Completely. Being a man… as I see it… is being your own man. Being your own man means not taking someone else’s path. It means standing up to people who try to tell you what to do or how to do it. It means saying no… maybe dozens of times a day. It means saying yes to what’s in your heart… even though your head says something else. It means knowing that your thoughts lie to you sometimes but your heart never will.
Being your own man means being a man of your word — saying what you will do and then showing you mean it by taking action. Being your own man means walking in tune with your unique and beautiful heartbeat. It means doing the right thing even though that thing may be scary…or difficult…or you think will piss people off…or even seems dangerous. You do it because it’s the right thing to do. You know it’s the right thing to do because your heart tells you so. Boys do what is easiest. Men do what is right.
Men are good.
A good man knows himself… first and foremost. He knows who he is and what his mission is. He knows his shadow side too. A good man enters the depths of his soul and stares his shadow in the face… to shine light upon what has lived in darkness. A good man treats others the way they would want to be treated. He is fair in word and action. He admits to being wrong when he is wrong… and he defends his values when they are attacked.
A good man knows how to love. He loves with his whole heart and he knows that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but of strength. A good man tells the truth — his truth — and joyfully accepts the truths of others… knowing there is room for all. A good man lives for the joy of being alive and of knowing he is doing his best. A good man constantly strives to be a better man.
A good man is a great man. And the world needs more great men. I believe you are a great man.
There is truth in the saying that you cannot truly love others until and unless you love yourself. This phrase used to piss me off…but it was because I lived in denial of my self-hatred and wanted my love to count for something. Don’t let that be your legacy… instead… make love for yourself your top priority — always. You are an amazing being… a bright star.
I believe we are all here to love and be loved. So give of yourself generously… willingly…constantly. Wear your heart on the outside and let your love shine forth. It will be a beacon that calls other willing hearts to you. Yes… you will hurt sometimes. Yes… you will feel lonely sometimes. But let yourself love.
You’ve already lost some… you will lose more… what about sadness?
A great man has the wisdom to seek wise help when required. He knows he’s not an island and does not exist alone. A great man shines light on the shadow of his fears. He lets himself feel sad when there is something to feel sad about. He lets himself grieve what was lost and what might have been, but does not become lost in the loss and the might-have-been. He channels his anger into a force to be reckoned with…. for good
I believe we are all sparks of the divine. Remember the sacred places inside you and use them as your your inner compass. Spark your inner fire so that you may be a lighthouse for others to follow when their own lights dim.
There is god in you… A Light… I see it even if you yet do not. Know it is there and remember it on those dark days and nights when nothing seems right and you feel lost. Remember the spark inside you — it’s light will never fully dim.
I believe in you, son. I believe in your heart, your wisdom, and your courage. I believe in the path you now claim that lies before you. I love you like the sun and I am deeply proud of the boy you have been and equally proud of the man you are becoming. A good man. A great man. It begins today. The world needs you.
I need you.