To my son

Dearest Alexei,

I saw your face for the first time just yesterday. Since you will grow up in a wired world where you are used to people’s words following them for a long time, I thought I’d write you a few notes to let you know how much being your dad means to me, even weeks before we meet for the first time.

I hope to write more of these while you’re growing up so you can eventually know your dad a bit better, and so your mom and our extended family can keep me honest and help me be the kind of father you deserve.

First off, know that from the moment I saw your picture yesterday you joined your mom as the two most important people in my life. I pledge to do everything in my power to help you be happy, healthy, safe, loving, and wise.

I hope to share with you my own love of learning and knowledge, along with a playful, curious attitude toward language, logic, and art, and help you passionately search out the important truths in life.

You are growing up in a world with an almost overwhelming amount of information available to you, and I wish to be a reliable guide so that you can explore the many worlds of human thought and art and use this wealth of resources to create your own path, and not merely be indoctrinated into my own thoughts and beliefs.

I will, however, have to tell you “no” or “don’t go there yet” sometimes. This will no doubt feel arbitrary, unfair, and even cruel to you. I do this out of love (and hopefully wisdom and greater experience, though I don’t doubt I’ll make many mistakes along the way) and probably not nearly as often as I should, because from the moment I saw you I wanted to give you the Earth and the stars as your playthings.

You will be a child of several cultures, and I will try and help you fully appreciate them all and incorporate the best of each into the man you’ll become. If all goes as planned, you will have the amazing good fortune to grow up in a singularly wonderful part of a singularly wonderful nation, and I want you to understand the history, nature, and values of this place and time so you can appreciate just how lucky we are to be here.

Your heritage also includes other cultures that are thousands of years old, each with their own legacy of heroes, legends, art, history, and philosophy, and I will endeavor to help you fully appreciate all of your vast cultural inheritance.

However, I do apologize in advance for some of your fellow citizens. Even though we live in a diverse, largely tolerant place, you will grow up looking different from most of your fellow Americans, and if your mom and I do our jobs right you’ll think and act differently from most of them, too.

This will annoy and frustrate some of them, and a few of them will treat you poorly. I will do everything I can to help you grow into a confident boy, secure in the never-wavering love and support of your family and clan so that you will always know in your heart just how wrong these people are, and are able to deal with them as they deserve.

Finally for today, I vow to be the best role model I can be for you, and to help you get to know your entire extended family so that you can learn from the people I love that there are many ways to be a man of honor, courage, strength, and grace.



4 Responses to “To my son”

  1. Jim Davis says:

    Well, that moved me to tears.

    Congratulations on getting to do something I never got to do, and at 56, likely won’t get to. I envy you more than you can possibly know.

  2. michelle says:

    Tears over here too. At work. Thanks for that. 😉 That was beautiful.

  3. Dayle says:

    What a lucky, lucky boy Alexei is to have a dad like you. 🙂

  4. sambainsac says:

    Congratulations on your son. Another Boy Yeah! We to have a son adopted from China and while we do get the occasional….how did you get a boy question…we could not be happier. He is a happy happy boy who loves life. I wish your familiy and your new son a happy happy and joyfilled life. Hold on tight becuase being a parent is a lifetime filled with laughter and smiles.


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