I started off thinking about what I would say to my younger self, then realized I have a duty to say it to my sons. I hope they read this, because I can’t talk anymore.
Your Faith is the most important thing you have. All of this is connected to that first point. Your Faith. If you learn it, cling to it no matter what, and try to live by it, these things will come naturally. They will make sense. God made us, and he made us male and female, and in a family, in a community. The important things spiral out from and because of the first thing!
Your family, no matter what, are the most important people in your life. With your faith, hold them accountable with love. Support them, with your labor, time, and talents. Drop things when your Mom needs help. Go immediately. You will never know how much your mom has done for you.
Your sisters are annoying, but they are made in the image of God, and never allow anyone, including themselves, to treat them badly. If she comes home with a boy , and you can’t see that he treats her like St Joseph did Mary? He’s gotta go. You have to tell her.
You will treat every woman as St Joseph treated Mary. When you date, open the door, help with the chair, pay for the date. Respect her body and femininity. Never ever ever ever speak badly about your girlfriend or spouse, to her or to someone else.
If you are a bad boyfriend, you will probably be a bad priest. Fix yourself.
Sex AFTER marriage or not at all. Don’t give me any shit about how hard that is, I did it, so can you. You want a healthy marriage and relationship? No sex before marriage. You want to objectify women and treat them badly, you are no man.
Pornography is addicting, it screws with your mind, and ruins relationships. The proper way to avoid porn is to first, not look at it. Then, do something that keeps your hands and mind occupied.
Hobbies that require manual labor are the best. Yardwork, woodworking, auto mechanics, all good things.
The world does not revolve around you. Act accordingly. Think about what other people might need.
Keep singing. Never stop.
Muscles earned through hard work are stronger than muscles made in a gym.
Begin every day with the Morning Offering.
Learn how to fix everything yourself.
Don’t look down on any job.
Don’t look down on any person.
Work hard, and you will succeed. You aren’t entitled to anything that you won’t work for.
If you are interested in something, take the time and invest your energy.
Tough love is hard to give and receive, but it is the truest kind of love.
Give a firm handshake.
Please, and Thank you, always.
Pray the Rosary daily.
Help when people ask. Offer if they don’t.
You will fail. It is not about how perfect you are, it’s about you keeping trying.
Scars and callouses are marks of a life well lived.
You are going to disappoint a lot of people in your life. Care about the ones who are disappointed because you are hurting yourself, not the ones who care about image.
If you can get to daily mass, go. Even at work, in the middle of the day.
The measure of success isn’t how much you make or a prestigious job rank, but how much you loved those around you.
It’s ok to have good clean fun. Sometimes that can be bowling or putt putt.
Put up a crucifix in your room, or in your house.
Be the fun uncle, the one that they want to grow up to be like.
Live every day trying to attain these words at the end of your life, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”
Your parents wish you would ask them for help. We have so many stories.
Listen to your grandparents stories. Listen to old people’s stories. They have lived full lives and you can learn from their wisdom or mistakes.
Lastly, because I could go on for days; I have fallen, and made mistakes, and hurt people, the ones I love and don’t love. I have those regrets. You may also, but remember I am praying for you, and there is strength in humility and asking forgiveness. There are so many things I wish I could tell you, but I have saved the most important for last.
I love you!