I have been thinking about writing this letter for several days now, but haven't quite had the words to capture my thoughts. Today, while in line at the grocery store behind an elderly man, I was inspired. I was thinking that once, like you, he probably had a mother who adored him. He looked a little lonely, disoriented, hard of hearing. He was fumbling in his pockets for the correct change, and attempting to strike up conversation with the cashier, who seemed less than interested. His boyhood days are long gone, but the things his mother taught him are likely still a big part of his life. It made me think of the things I want to teach you, and hope that you will keep with you until you are old.
- Look people in the eye when you speak to them, it is the best sign of a clear conscience
- Tucking your shirt in and combing your hair are important to make a good impression, if that is your goal, but people who matter will care more about your character and your heart than what you look like on the outside – pursue relationships with those people
- Ask questions and never accept someone else's interpretation of things. Be willing to ask the really hard questions, and never be too proud to say, I don't know.
- Learn to laugh at yourself. One of life's greatest challenges is not taking yourself too seriously.
- Be gracious and forgiving with others. It is the best gift you can ever give them.
- Don't waste your life in the pursuit of money or material gain. These things are empty. If you want true happiness, that can only be found in following the road that God has laid out for you. He is the best guide for navigating this path.
- Although perfect peace may never be attained in this world, never fail to do your part in pursuing it. Even when it's hard, and even when you're tired, never give up on doing good.
- Don't live to work, work to live.
- Love deeply, and don't wear your heart on your sleeve. Being vulnerable enough to give your heart fully to someone else involves risk, everything worthwhile usually does.
Always remember that you are special to me. I will always love you. There is nothing that you could ever do to lose that love. Being your mom has taught me so many valuable lessons about life. It is a wild ride, and I am so glad we are in it together.
I love you with all my heart.