Letter to my son: Please don't grow up to be a shitty person
Son. Today you’re four years old and some change. A little over four years of experience with this world and more importantly, yourself. Four years of experience with your mother and I. Four years of visitations with your cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, slew of grandparents, and countless others who proclaim love for you. Four years of experience with those who have watched over you while you slept.
Four years in and you’re your own person.
The compounded effect of time astounds me.
One day - after even more years of earthly exposure, there will come a day you will begin to question not just your place in the world, but also who your parents are – who we were – and how we all came to wear our current face. How we came to accept our current position. You will question your own position, much like I question your position for you only four years in.
Until you’re able to question and research your own position with as much mature objectivity as can be expected for a human being, it’s your mother and I’s job – our privilege to question your position for you.
These eventual and inevitable questions are the reason I continue to string words together. It’s imperative to know a person’s past to understand their present.
These are your breadcrumbs.
Recently, and for reasons 100% lost on me you’ve begun to explore the defiant side of your personality. I call your mother a “natural dissenter.” A term we picked up from cultural voice, Dave Chappelle. Dissenting is a part of life. At the age of four, you’re supposed to be self-centered. You’re supposed to be a little bit of an asshole. I don’t know one kid under the age of 7 who’s not a little bit of an asshole. It’s only human.
My concerns stem from how much of an asshole you decide to show to others while your mother or I aren’t present. Your school, although patient and accommodating have started to discuss your potential removal from class. You’re four – and they’re in the business of child care and control. Yet for some reason, they don’t quite know what to do with you. So without getting into the specifics, this should give you some context of your behavior.
Honestly, it’s been stressing me the fuck out.
Your mother and I have been discussing bringing another personality into this world. Giving you a sibling to teach and learn from. You would be a great big brother. I can’t overstate that enough. You would be a great big brother.
But the stress is killing me right now. If we were going through this with two kids instead of one in the house, your mom would probably murder one of us at some point. I’m all for being fruitful and multiplying, but not at the cost of murder. Just not how our family rolls.
By the time you’re old enough to read this, but more importantly, by the time you’re old enough to give enough of a shit about this to search out my past words, I don’t know if you’ll already have a brother or sister or more. I only hope that through the strength of the family’s perseverance, we haven’t failed at raising a compassionate and respectful human being.
Basically, sibling or no sibling, I hope you’re not an asshole.
And not a good asshole – there’s plenty of those. And they’re so valuable. Dave Chappelle is another example of a valuable asshole. But the bad assholes. The ones so full of shit and empty of cleaning wipes that you can damn near smell their stench before you can see them. The world doesn’t need more bad assholes. Selfishness unchecked breeds bad assholes.
It pains me how I love watching you grow. And although I question my effectiveness and skill at being your father, the challenge humbles me more than any other undertaking.
When you eventually find these breadcrumbs I hope these words find you surrounded by a welcoming world – surrounded by people who genuinely give a shit about you. People who call, text, hologram or whatever the hell technology allows you to communicate. I hope you’ve learned that the only way to mental peace is to assist others in navigating this Earthly consciousness. I hope you appreciate the value of service. I hope you read these words, and think, “Here dad goes again, worried about some shit that wasn’t that big of a deal.” I hope you know peace. I hope you know gratitude. I hope I was lucky enough to teach some of it to you. I hope I get to bear witness to that person.
Because today, I’m so damn stressed about it that it makes me want to not have sex with your mother. And if you’ve come to know anything about me over the years, then you clearly understand how deep this trench is for me.
I hope you’re reading this while holding your little brother – or little sister – or even more.