Wisdom to a Teen


Our son Gabe recently became a teenager! One of my great friends inspired me with a special birthday gift idea – to compile a book of letters to Gabe from the people who know and love him most. They shared what they appreciated about Gabe, and what they hoped for him for his future.

Needless to say, this book is priceless.

At his party, Don read his letter aloud to Gabe, and I thought it would be neat to capture those words here. It is great advice, for young or old, from a man who lives it out well, to one of the coolest young men I know.

Don’s Letter

“Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s a strange thing to be a father. On the one hand I am here with you now and every moment. I take in all the wonder of seeing you experience life.

On the other hand, I feel like I superimpose your little boy self onto you. It all makes sense. You were always this wonderful person that blossomed.

I remember your acute awareness of everything and ability to engage life fully. It showed up early, and you are that person today. You were given so many gifts, and it is exciting to watch you discover yourself and grow in mastery.

My heart bursts with pride and happiness as I watch you grow into a young man,Gabe. You are kindhearted. You truly care about people and seek to do the right thing. I don’t worry about your judgment. I trust you because you are trustworthy.

You are also daring and push yourself. Others do not need to push you. It comes from within you, and you have a special drive. When you want something, I see your ability to focus and go after it. Whether it is academic, athletic, personal character, high adventure or social graces, you are focused on excellence.

My hope for you, son, is that you will never settle. I don’t think you will. We’re cut from the same cloth. I always find learning from others a joy. People spend countless hours on things you and I have not. In this way, Emerson’s words are keen. We should consider others as superior always. They know stuff we don’t.

While you grow and learn about yourself, be humble always. Be a student and learn from others. They pay prices you and I have not all the time in their time, study and attention or struggle.

Many a person have made me wiser by sharing their own passions and insights.

Likewise, I have learned and am looking forward to continue to learn from you. These next years you will outgrow me in so many ways, and it brings me so much pleasure to know that you will become greater, and I will find great insight and wisdom from the things I learn from you.

I love you with all my heart, Gabe. Be bold and be humble.



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  1. Pingback: Leaving Austin

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