Since the day you were born, I've had so many hopes and dreams for you. I've tried to teach you right from wrong and instill morals and values in you in hopes that you would become a responsible and independent human being, but in case you missed something between my career and your computer games, or the meaning wasn't quite clear, I'm going to sum up a few of the most important things in leading a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Don't be afraid to dream big or to pursue your dreams. Try on a new coat and see if it fits. And don't worry--even if it's a little baggy, you'll grow into it.
Absorb the world like a sponge--ideas, talk, people, wisdom. Take in all you can, strive to learn, and view all things with an open mind; for such things help you grow inside and make you a better, stronger, and wiser person.
Love and respect your family and never be embarrassed to kiss your grandmother or to give your old aunt a hug.
I hope that you'll be able to laugh and cry at the right times and not be embarrassed to do either.
Always cherish the holidays and try to keep them special. Focus on the spiritual side of the holidays above the material. You can; however, forget the fruitcake. No one likes it anyway.
I hope that you'll be accepting of people of all colors and all religions and lifestyles and will respect their ideas and way of life even if you disagree with or don't understand their ideas and way of life.
Respect yourself and your own beliefs as well. Strive to dignify your beliefs rather than forcing them on another.
You're bound to fall from time to time. It's simply inevitable for everyone on this planet, but I hope you'll remember that you're strong enough to stand again. And when you do stand again, I hope you do so with pride, knowing that you grew from your trials.
Never try to cope with your woes and grief through alcohol or drugs--it's guaranteed to bring you nothing but more grief.
I hope you'll know how to set priorities and know when to work and when to play and find fulfillment through both.
Money is great, because it gives you a measure of security, and though people may lead you to believe otherwise, there's nothing wrong with earning a ton of it. But I hope you don't mistakenly think that you can find happiness through money, and I hope that you'll always put love, family, and honor above it.
And while I'm on the subject, I hope that you will strive to live within your means. I can't explain what kind of heartache you'll bring on yourself if you don't.
I hope you believe in God and will be able to openly express your love for Him without forcing your beliefs on another. I hope you always feel His presence in your life. And when bad things happen, I hope that you'll never stop having faith in Him, will find strength in him, and always trust in His wisdom.
And when I'm gone from here, please don't be angry at Him for calling me home. Know that I'm happy, getting some much needed rest in a much more beautiful place than earth, and have faith that we'll meet again.
Patriotism goes in and out of fashion, but even when it isn't the "in thing," I hope you'll keep it in your heart and be touched and feel something deeply moving every time you hear the National Anthem or see the American flag.
And I hope you'll feel honor and pride each time you think of the sacrifices our soldiers have made in the name of freedom.
When you're ready to look for love, I hope you'll not seek mere beauty, for it quickly wanes with time, and it will never bring you happiness. Instead, seek a mate whose heart and soul is compatible with the makings of yours, who hopes and dreams with you, who supports you, who is there for you always--someone who is, above all things, your best friend.
Never remain with anyone, in any relationship, who would treat you abusively. Let no one cripple you emotionally.
Take the time to explore the world around you, starting with your own backyard. Look at the trees, the grass, even the two scrawny daises growing in the rough, and you'll see that life does exist beyond computers and televisions, and nature has a healing quality for the soul unlike anything else.
I've always wished that you would love and respect animals. I hope that I've taught you that they are living breathing souls with feelings just like you and are deserving of respect and should be treated with loving care. Never treat an animal how you would not wish to be treated.
You'll suffer a lot of disappointments and pain--everyone does, and your ego will shatter like an egg, and you'll think that you'll never recover. All of this is normal. But remember that you won't die from these experiences. You will, however, recuperate and be all the stronger afterward.
You'll always have fears as well--fear of disappointment, fear of success, fear of trying, fear of decision making, fear of relationships, etc.--but I hope you won't let such fears rule you or interfere with your happiness.
There's always a reason to be angry at someone. No one is perfect and no relationship is perfect. But I hope you will focus on other's good qualities instead of the negative ones and will learn to forgive, remembering that other people are just as human as you and that everyone makes mistakes.
And finally, remember that I love you, that you are my greatest dream and the very heart of my existence. Even when it doesn't seem like it, and I'm buried under the weight of my own troubles and responsibilities, I love you no less and have the utmost faith and pride in you.