For My Boys III


Being your dad has been the single greatest privilege of my life; Yet, I cannot help but wonder at times if I’m enough. If you wouldn’t have been better equipped had you been raised by a soldier; better educated by a teacher; better advantaged by a politician. At the very least, if you would have benefited emotionally under the nurturing of a mother. Someone who could have carried some of the weight alongside my efforts to raise you to be confident, self-sufficient men. But if there’s one thing I feel I have done, it has been to never allow your circumstances to become excuses for poor behavior or a lack of effort, nor have I allowed them to become roadblocks in your unique journey.

For my own deficiencies as a father; as a man; as a mentor, I apologize. In many ways, a man is ill-equipped to raise children perfectly. Much the same as a woman, attempting to do the same. I know that I have, in many ways, benefitted in my upbringing from the influence of both sexes. Both lending to the development of the man I am today. Both perfect and both flawed. And even two parents will share much of the self-doubt I carry at times, and may produce similar men under two sets of well-intentioned, watchful eyes, in much the same way I strive to. But these influences and deficiencies can never be a reason for any success, or lack thereof, that you achieve in your own lives, for many a great man has changed the world for the better with far less advantage or forged themselves out of far greater adversity.

You will be too young at the time of this writing to grasp the state of affairs currently facing families. We are just beginning to crest the mountain top of a world-wide pandemic, while many of our Nation’s leaders use the distraction to deceptively strip American’s of their Civil Liberties. Under the banners of unity, tolerance, peace, and safety, have sought to undermine many of the principles by which this Country was founded. Families are facing decisions as to whether or not to vaccinate their children with one of three products, rushed to market and ramrodded through testing to get it to people who have listened to mainstream media spreading misinformation and fear-mongering in order to influence the outcome of an election. Trillions in misappropriated stimulus packages passed with little regard for the long-term effects of such an influx of unbacked currency. You will one day read of this past year in your history books, if our current cancel culture hasn’t censored and rewritten these events by that time.

Although many people who may stumble across this may disagree with the conclusions I’ve drawn or the predictions I have made, I can say with full confidence that I sincerely hope those in disagreement are proven in time to have been right and that time has, by contrast, proven me wrong on every point. 

It is in times like these that anxiety and fear creep in. It is in times like these that the merits of a man are tested and tried. In time, the likelihood is that you will face similar or worse as you raise your own families. It is in those times that I want you to remember these words: Understand that which is in your control; Understand that which is not. Focus on what you control. Your choices; your actions; your attitudes; your will.

Nothing else is truly ever in your control and can be stripped from you without warning. Your health can be snatched away in a single breath. A loved one taken in tragedy. Your finances laid to ruin. In those moments, you must look within. As Rudyard Kipling writes in his famous poem, “IF”, “…Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, and stoop to build them up again with worn-out tools…”

This is not meant as a pessimistic outlook on an unwritten future, but a word of inspiration. Because great men are born of adversity. They triumph in the face of uncertainty. How can you know the limits of your strength unless it is tested to failure? You need to know that your Dad sees greatness in you, but greatness comes from great sacrifice. Often rising out of suffering. It is with such knowledge that I would not wish greatness upon you; but, rather, the strength and fortitude to achieve greatness through the expectence and overcoming of certain adversity.

Know that any thinking man at times finds himself plunged into depression. Only a fool sees the world through the rose-colored lenses of untethered optimism. Show me a man of optimism and I will show you one full of delusion, unfit to rule himself, much less lead a family. This is a man who will be caught unprepared in a storm, rattled to his very core. Depression is a tool of temporary sobriety from the highs of life and should serve as a mirror, reflecting your shortcomings. Abraham Lincoln has been said by many to have been the greatest President this Country has ever seen, yet he admitted to severe and lengthy bouts of crippling depression. He was also considered one of the great Stoics of his time. A man who knew that emotions were a reflection of thought, and should be viewed as nothing more real than a happy or dreary dream. Men must feel a full range of emotion, for this is human, but never succumb to their influence in choosing a course of action. If you learn to isolate and apply logic to every thought, your emotions, albeit tempered, will be of use, rather than leading you down the path of the unstable.

And finally, in times of adversity, train your mind to the present. Many have speculated that only about ten percent of what we spend ninety present of our time feeling anxious about, ever actually comes to past. Yesterday is no longer in your control; neither is tomorrow. What you have is today. More precisely, this very moment. That is what is in your control. When you hold your own child in your arms, the days will feel long. But, don’t allow a second of it to pass in fantasizing about an imagined future or trying to recapture moments owned by the past. Look into the eyes of your child. Feel his or her breath upon your cheek. Treasure that moment above all others, because the quality of your life is made up of moments exactly like that one: here today; gone tomorrow. The exact number, I can only pray will be many, but it is my hope that you will live each one with the understanding that they are all too often, few.

For My Boys II


You are turning four in a few days, and I’m starting to feel like this whole adventure is going way too fast for your old man. I’m so amazed by the discovery of your personalities as they develop and begin to mature. When I wrap my arms around you, I know that I am truly the luckiest man alive. I love all the ways you are similar, and appreciate the ways in which you are different from one another. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the past few years, it’s that you are the best parts of me, and my greatest fear is that, one day, for whatever reason, you may be separated from each other. That, hopefully irrational fear, has woken me more nights to a tear drenched pillowcase than I care to admit. For all my strength and hardness of heart, this singular thought can still break me and reminds me of a child-like vulnerability I had not long ago thought lost to the cruelty of this world. I have a recurring nightmare about it that is far to painful to share, especially when, intellectually, I know it is not real. It’s a manifestation of my love for you colliding with this terrible fear for your life-long well-being. It is the curse you will one day carry, while tucking your own child into a warm, safe bed, praying for one more day together.

I know there will come a time when I am no longer making the decisions for you, and all my prayers can be summarized in this: “Lord, may being a dad not be where I fail in this life. May our days together, however few; however plentiful, be filled with laughter, love, and life. May my sinful deeds not circle back to visit their vengeance upon my children nor cause my demons to sink their claws into the precious innocence asleep in the next room. May what I have to offer as a father be enough to build strong men. Men who trust; who love; who protect all those who are placed in their paths. May their hearts be light, free from deception or the weight brought about by immorality. May they live simple lives, free from obsession with power, greed, influence, vanity or any other pursuit which can poison a man’s soul and harden his heart. Above all, may they always have each other to lean on, in good times and in those times where all the things they hold dear seem to crumble within their grasp. May they always have a place to call home, surrounded by the wealth of family and true friends. May they better me in all things, that my greatest accomplishments are but fading ripples in the shallow pond of their humble beginnings. May they grow up to be great men, but knowing that their true greatness lies in the strength of their character. That they never spend a second doubting my love or knowing how proud I am of the boys they are today and the men they will become, some distant tomorrow.”

This is the birthday where you will get your first peddle bikes. I can’t wait to hold the back of your seats, while you learn to trust in a whole new way. I love you both so much!

And I always will.

Happy 4th Birthday, Thomas and Cole!

Your Dad

Until next time…

For My Boys

First and foremost, you need to know that I love you. Everything else pales in comparison to the joy of having you in my life. Second, you need to know that Gladiator is the best movie ever created. Followed closely by Brave Heart and the Godfather Trilogy.

Now, with the important things out of the way, you should spend your life in pursuit of one goal: To exemplify manliness in all it’s forms. Not just to be a good man, but to be good at being a man. In pursuit of this goal, I have gathered mentors and teachers, devoured literature in every form, and spent my life refining my character through a battlefield of internal conflict and insecurities.

“Vincit qui se vincit” is a Latin phrase which means, “He conquers who conquers himself.” You are what you are, right now. The past is vanity and the future is yet unwritten. A life is not defined by one mistake, but by what one does in light of his mistakes. Be men of action. Mindlessly drifting through complex thought has its place in philosophy and self-discovery, but action rules the day in the battle for self-mastery. You are the sum of your actions, not your intentions. Be mindful, however, of your thoughts, for they will surely become the fodder for the canon of your actions.

I have waded through the thoughts and actions of great men, both known and unknown by the fickle mistress that is fame. My life has been a refinement of these thoughts and the development of my own, and I have put together this text which, for me, has proven to be true to life. Much of the following text will be famous quotes interlaced with my own, far less famous thoughts. Read these, but decide what is true for you. You are your own men.

Lastly, there are three traits I despise in a man. None of which are deserving of respect: Dishonesty, Complacency, and Laziness. All three make for useless men; all three will destroy your chances of moving through life without victimizing others or becoming victims yourselves.

And you are not being raised to be victims.

Personal responsibility

An act of kindness is better than a thousand heads bowed in prayer. I believe in God but not in the notion that God is walking you through this life on a plus/minus system, waiting to reward or punish you based upon how good or bad you’ve been. I believe there are natural consequences, both good and bad, for the decisions you make and the actions you take or do not take. I believe there is a devil, and that devil should know your name and fear you. Never debase yourself to the place where organized religion lives. The place where God is responsible for everything good in your life, and the devil for everything bad. This idiocy is devoid of personal responsibility. If you can not take responsibility for your own decisions when the result of those decisions are negative, then you will never be able to take joy in your own successes, both large and small. Believe that everything is your fault. Bad things happen and it is your job to overcome them. Above all else, avoid entitlements. The world owes you nothing, boys. If you want something, take it. Use every ethical means at your disposal, but go after everything the world tells you you can’t have. Remember to always play the hand you were dealt like it is the hand you wanted.


Be weary of the religious man, who cloaks his intentions with the veil of “God’s Will”. Often times, these are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They disarm you, and take no responsibility for the wake of devastation they leave behind. Guard your thoughts and tell no one what you are thinking. When you pray, pray silently. The devil can hear your prayers too, and he doesn’t always appear wearing horns and a pitchfork. Often times, he presents himself as everything you have ever wanted. Be cautious of generosity and the free lunch. People are not against you, but they are for themselves. To this end, choose your friends wisely. Better to have four quarters than a hundred pennies. Know that sometimes the person you would take a bullet for can end up being the one holding the gun.

There are five things that are difficult to get back: A stone after it’s thrown, a word after it’s spoken, an occasion after it’s missed, time after it’s gone, but the most difficult of all is trust after it’s lost. A man’s trust is a valuable thing. If a person cannot be trusted, they have no use. Be men of your word. Your word is truly the only thing that is all yours alone.


Never change yourself to make someone else happy and never engage in conflict that is not your own. A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of sheep.

Never help anyone who does not want it. It will be used against you. Trust me on this. Pay little attention to the opinions of others. Remember, you will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every barking dog. When you care about what others think, you become their prisoner.

Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all. Train your mind to be calm in every situation and never raise your voice. Instead, improve your argument. Become a master at setting healthy boundaries and learn how to say “no” without feeling the need to explain yourself.

Stop being distracted by the things that do not bring you closer to your goal, whatever that goal may be. Some people will choose to hate you. Make sure it’s because hating you is easier than beating you.

Get off social media. It serves as a soapbox for the ignorant. Successful people do not waste time worrying about what other people are doing. Stop explaining yourself. People only understand from their level of perception. Do not compare yourselves to others. Things are seldom as they seem. To live for the approval of others is the lowest form of human existence. Said another way, if you live for the praises of men, you will die by their criticisms.

Don’t ever let the same person waste your time twice. And never stay committed to a mistake, just because you spent a lot of time making it. Don’t waste time hating people. Either choose to love them, or choose not to care at all. Hate is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Do not waste energy on revenge. To be good at revenge takes sacrificing your conscience, morality, and integrity. Instead, move on. Indifference is often far more effective at twisting the knife than retaliation.

Outside events have no power over you unless you give them power by allowing them to occupy your mind. Rather, we create our own reality through our own perception. The choice for how you respond is always up to you. Will logic or emotion prevail? When you cannot control what’s happening, control how you respond to what’s happening. That is where your power lies.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. Remember this: A mistake that is made more than once is a decision. When somebody shows you their true colors, believe them the first time.

Live life as though it were rigged in your favor.

Read every day, but at some point it will be time to stop reading other people’s books and start writing your own. Today is always the day. Don’t put off starting your life for some later time or event. The world is changed by your example, not by your opinions. At any moment you have the power to say, “This is not how this story is going to end.”

Cancel out negative thoughts; not with positive ones, which serve only to draw attention to what you lack, but with productive ones. Focusing on positive thought is, in itself, a negative experience and embracing negative experiences is, in itself, a positive experience.


The most important thing I can tell you on the subject of relationships is this: You teach people how to treat you, based upon the things you are willing to tolerate. Disrespect should never be one of them. Consequently, your happiness should never depend upon someone else. Very little is needed to be happy, everything you need is already within you. Within the quality of your thoughts. If someone treats you like an option, help them narrow their choices by removing yourselves from the equation.

Remember that apologizing doesn’t always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. Sometimes a relationship has more value than your ego. It’s okay to choose to disagree. People are entitled to their own opinions, and you don’t want to surround yourself with drones. Men sharpen men through conflict. Value this truth and never be afraid as a reasonable, thinking person to re-evaluate your own opinions when presented with new information. Avoid taking too strong a position. Instead, listen to everything, evaluate the information, and make a decision, giving yourself enough room in your decision to adjust accordingly to unforeseen circumstances.

When you announce your position, you become a target. Better to stay silent and let your enemies take shots in the darkness of their own ignorance.

Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you into trouble. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. Be careful of men whose words don’t match their actions.

Be an encourager. The world has enough critics already. Never judge another because their sin is different from yours. Remember to be fair. A fish is a brilliant swimmer, but if a fish is judged on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Talk to girls you believe to be out of your league. You might surprise yourselves.

Finally, stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.


Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it, but remember: You can’t have a million dollar dream on a minimum wage work ethic. You can either experience the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The choice is yours.

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. Take calculated risks. Be prepared to work and achieve on your own merits; The world doesn’t owe you anything. If you want to be successful, stop asking people for permission and do what you know needs to be done. Success isn’t owned. It is leased, and rent is due every day.

Continuous improvement is always better than delayed perfection. Champions don’t show up to take what they want; they show up to give everything they’ve got. Trophies are won at practice; they are just picked up at competitions.

Always keep your relationships, bank account, and next move private. Your success is a product of your habits. A thousand productive habits done over time is the only way to build lasting success in all aspects of your life.

Learn the art of delayed gratification. Debt is slavery when not used to leverage assets but, instead, used to purchase liabilities. Read The Richest Man In Babylon and start paying yourself first. Then give every dollar you earn a job. Your money works for you, not the other way around.

Be a boss. If you cannot climb to the top of your chosen corporate ladder, design and build a better ladder. Then own the view.


Consistency, loyalty, and respect. Pursue these things. Be strong; not rude. Be Confident; not arrogant. Be kind; not weak. Be humble; not timid. Be patient. It takes six months to build a Rolls Royce and thirteen hours to build a Toyota.

Never speak out of a place of anger, jealousy, hate, insecurity, or ignorance. It is far better to remain silent at these times. How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes? Show people respect, even if they don’t deserve it. Not as a reflection of their character but as a reflection of yours. Take care of others, but remember that sometimes you have to walk away from people. Not because you don’t care, but because they don’t. Never gossip. Ever. Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.

Never let the influences of the modern world dictate your morals and who you are. Protect that which is weaker than you. The measure of a man is not in how he responds to those above him, but in how he treats those who have no power over him or ability to further his interests. Adversity is not the truest test of character; power is. On the subject of power, know this. Obsession with power has been the downfall of many a once moral man. If allowed, its pursuit will poison your mind and destroy your soul. Power should be wielded by those who use it to raise up those around them, not hold them down. If power is used in that way, you should despise it and undermine it at every turn. Unchecked, it becomes tyrannical, building its empire upon the backs of slaves. And in those times, it is your job to fight.

Summary and Final Thoughts

Never hit anyone unless they are an immediate threat. And then hit them to the ground, with enough force to neutralize the threat. No more; no less.

Learn to wet shave. It’s a manly tradition. Shave with the grain on the first pass.

Nothing looks better than a well-tailored suit. A well-tailored suit to a woman is like lingerie to a man.

When you talk to someone, always look them in the eye and greet them with a firm handshake.

Play, lift, run. Use your body every chance you get.

Brush your teeth before you put on your tie. Never wear a clip-on tie.

Pay yourself first. A small amount of your paycheck should always go immediately into your savings account.

If you aren’t confident, fake it. It will come.

You can tell the measure of a man by the things that bother him.

Be conscious of your body language.

Always stand to shake someone’s hand.

Never lend anything you can’t afford to lose.

Ask more than you answer. Everybody likes to talk about themselves.

Keep a change of clothes at the office.

Buy high quality. Buy right; buy once.

Manliness isn’t only the ability to take care of yourselves, but the people around you also.

Go with the decision that will make for a good story.

When you walk, don’t look at your feet. Look straight ahead. Be aware of your surroundings. If asked, you should always be able to recall the color of your waitresses eyes, regardless her age or sex appeal.

Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it.

No matter their job or status in life, everyone deserves your respect. Never tolerate disrespect from others. Remember, you teach people how to treat you.

Everything is your fault. Always take personal responsibility. Bad things happen. It’s your job to overcome them.

The first one to get angry loses.

If it needs to be done, do it. Complaining never solved anything.

Never stop learning.

Always go out in public dressed like you’re about to meet the love of your life.

Never change yourself just to make someone else happy, unless that someone is you.

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

Luck favors the prepared.

Women find confidence sexy as hell.

Do whatever you want in life, but be the best at it.

No one dies wishing they spent more time at work. Enjoy your life.

Talk too much and they’ll think you are a fool. Remain silent and they become curious.

Care about what others think and you will become their prisoner.

You will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks.

Train your mind to be calm in every situation.

Go after everything you’ve been told you couldn’t have.

A ship is always safe at shore, but that is not what it’s built for.

Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all.

A clever person solves problems; a wise one avoids them.

Never take anything for granted.

You earn your trophies at practice. You just pick them up at the competitions.

When you build in silence, people don’t know what to attack.

Never tell people what you’re thinking. Stay low-key. Not everyone needs to know everything about you. Stop telling people more than they need to know.

Dressing well is a form of good manners.

Be careful who you trust. Sometimes the person you’d take a bullet for ends up being the one behind the gun.

You can’t win in life if you are losing in your mind.

No matter what the situation, never let your emotions overpower your intelligence.

Learn to say “No” without explaining yourself.

Live life as though everything was rigged in your favor.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

A mistake repeated more than once is a decision.

No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future.

Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

The key to success is playing the hand you were dealt like it’s the hand you wanted.

Ask yourself this question: What would I do today if I knew that I could not fail.

Truth is like surgery. It hurts but it cures. A lie is like a pain killer. It gives temporary relief but has lasting side-effects. The truth is rarely pure and seldom simple.

In order for someone to insult you, you first must value their opinion.

Be selective of who you allow in your world. It is better to have four quarters than a hundred pennies.

Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.

Never beg anyone to be in your life. If you have to, walk away with your self-respect intact.

When someone shows their true colors, believe them the first time.

Trust the journey, even when you don’t understand it.

Don’t judge people because their sin is different from yours.

You are a product of your thoughts. What you think, you become. It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you, if you allow it.

Shape your world or someone else will.

Things always seem impossible until they’re done.

Move on. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself.

Keep control. Don’t give away your power.

Embrace change. Welcome challenges.

Stay happy. Don’t waste energy on things you can’t control.

Be kind. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone.

Take risks. Take action.

Live in the present. Don’t dwell in the past.

Accept responsibility. Learn from your mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a stepping stone to success.

Enjoy alone time. You spend the most time with yourself. Like the person you are or make changes until you do.

Be prepared to work and achieve on your own merits. The world doesn’t owe you anything.

Have staying power. Don’t expect immediate results.

Evaluate your core beliefs. Modify them as necessary.

Spend your mental energy wisely. Don’t waste time on idle thoughts.

Cancel out negative thoughts. Not with positive ones, but with productive ones.

Learn to tolerate discomfort. Accept your feeling without being controlled by them.

Reflect on your progress. Always be setting new goals.

The world is changed by your example, not your opinion.

Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

You are responsible for your own happiness.

You set the tone for every relationship by showing people what you will and will not tolerate. Don’t let people take you for granted.

Exist on your own terms.