Dear Son,

As a mother I can never stop thinking about all the things I want to say to you. Even though I know that life will itself teach you everything you are meant to learn, there are things I want to share with you, hoping that they will make your journey even more beautiful.

So here’s a list of 20 things I want you to know:

Mother and sonImage Source: JoleePhotography

#1 Don’t lie about the important things. A first lie is always followed by a second, then a third, often a fourth until you can’t keep up. And each lie takes away a little chunk of the real you.

#2 Spend time every year (once a month, once a week, whatever you can) with those less fortunate than you. It will fill your heart with gratitude and compassion.

#3 Be kind. Offer a helping hand, to that old lady crossing the street or a friend in need of a shoulder to rest. They may not always say thank you but your good will always find a way of coming back to you.

#4 Dream big and live passionately. Don’t back down from something you have set your heart on, even if your father and I don’t agree with it. If its what you truly want, and you are willing to give it your 100 percent, everything else will fall into place.

#5 Find a job that makes you happy. Spending 8-9 hours of your day doing something you love will make you a much happier person to be around.

#6 Leave your comfort zone from time to time. It might look scary out there but its worth it. If you get a chance to travel the globe, take it! You’ll learn a lot more from people and experiences in different places than from the same people in the same place.

#7 Read. Never give up on learning because there is so much out there. Books have a way of transporting you to magical places and build an imagination no one can take away from you.

#8 Play, Draw, Paint, Create – Creating art, in whatever form, should be a constant in your life. It encourages individuality and self expression.

#9 Use your words and not your hands to say what you need to say. But along with that, be mindful of what you say because words spoken can never be taken back and have a way of leaving an imprint on someone way after they’ve been spoken.

#10 Explore the outdoors. Its way more fun than playing on an ipad or watching TV indoors. Build a sandcastle, roll down a hill, go camping, kick a ball, hop, skip, run, jump! Those memories will last you a lifetime.

#11 Appreciate the value in differences – black, white, short, tall, fair, geeky, jock like, popular, punk, queer – everyone is equal and the power lies in embracing difference and fostering friendships beyond your known circle.

#12 It is okay to cry. It doesn’t make you any less of a man. Everyone needs a good cry sometimes, it is a natural reaction of our emotions. Men cry, women cry, children cry, we all cry.

#13 Always be proud of who YOU are. If someone doesn’t like it, let it be their problem and not yours. As long as you stay true to who you are, you will always be content.

#14 Before you leave us and go off to college, you must know how to do a few things – your own laundry, making your own bed, grocery shopping, vacuum cleaning and cooking a decent meal (not just a frozen one).

#15 Love your planet and treat her with respect. Green living isn’t just another trend, its a way of life so reduce, reuse and recycle. It is only going to benefit you and your future family in the long run.

#16 Have the courage to lead and not just to follow. No one left footprints on the road frequently travelled. Pave your own way, fulfill your own dreams.

#17 Wherever you are in life, you can come home, we’ll always be there (with a cup of tea!).

#18 Be spiritual. We will never force our views on you but we want you to find your place in the universe and be comfortable with it. Know what you stand for because if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for everything and we all need something to hold onto sometimes.

#19 Exercise – make it a part of your day, every day. Your health is your greatest asset, your body your only true possession. A healthy lifestyle in your youth will lay a strong foundation for a happy and healthy innings on earth.

#20 Last but not the least, I will never stop kissing you and telling you how much I love you! Even when you’re 16, even in front of your friends. Get used to it!

What do you want your son to know? Share it with us in the comments below.