When I grow up I want to be a Candy Bar.

I met him the first day he began life in our fascinating world.

His young parents were so proud, yet afraid of the fantastic responsibility of caring for this little boy. The wonder of young parents was laden with such thoughts as: Would we protect him and keep him safe?, Would we be able to care for his needs and juggle work? Would we know how to love him and teach the values necessary for him to become a man? Their excitement was contagious to those around them as they awaited his first day. He would bring with him a breath of energy that would effect the lives of those in his world. A little boy who was perfectly built, continually happy with silken skin, a musical cry, including 10 fingers and 10 toes.

This is a message for hope, good fortune and a right of passage for the future.

At the beginning of his young life his favorite thing to do was to share everything with anyone. This little boy enjoyed being with others, playing laughing, giggling and pretending in make believe. LEGOS, LEGOS, LEGOS filled the room with plains, trains and cars built in detail to perfection- red, green, yellow and blue. He has learned to share of himself, helping others unconditionally without question because it is the right thing to do. Never over thought or selfish but rather in the spirt of giving. He is compelled to be aware of all those around him and enjoy being together.

It has never been about who is right or competition but rather the experience of the game. For this little boy, the game has never been about winning or losing but rather how much fun he had along the way. Taking turns, sharing all the toys in the sandbox, playing fair are all important attributes to relationships in his life. He is careful to understand how his actions affect the feelings of others. Maybe this position grew from his Mom letting him win the game of Match or the hints of the next move in Candy Land. Regardless, he has learned that enjoying a happy life with others is more important than who is the hero.

He has grown to be sensitive of others. It is important to him to do everything in his power not to hurt people in his life. He learned at a very young age never to hit others. At times he may over think how he might effect someone at the expense of giving up something for himself. What if I am wrong?, or the other person does not like what I did? What if I make others uncomfortable or mad at me? Will I be rejected or treated differently if I stand on my own? Life experiences will challenge this young man forcing him to reconcile how he treats others in light of how he is treated. He has found the balance of how to avoid hurting others despite the imbalance of human nature.

Taking good care of his belonging is very important to him. Being respectful of his things, putting them back where he found them, became an obsession early in his life. Though he would always ask, “MaMa can I dump the toys?” he would have no trouble helping to clean them up. As this little boy has grown into a young man, being organized and orderly, well, not so much. In fact, one might need a ladder to make their way through his door to the closet in the room. It might even cause a flashback of a college dorm complete with piles of books and clothes with the smell of a locker room. What has grown most important though, is the importance of having this space he calls home. A place that no matter where the journey takes him, will always be available for him to return.

This little boy learned very early in life that it was important to take responsibility for his actions. When his plan shifted off tract and someones feelings were hurt it would hurt him equally. He found it necessary, without hesitation to immediately say “I’m sorry.” Thoughtful and sensitive his relationship with others was and is important to him. He does not like to hurt others. Being a good person who is likable and fun is important to him. This is evident by his friends who surround him each day.

images (13)Working hard for things in life seemed to come easy for this little boy. When his parents asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up his answer was seriously clear:

“When I grow up I  want to be a Candy Bar!”

Working hard and saving for the future has become important for this young man. His vision of being “college bound,” drives his passion to be independent and work for what his needs and wants. He understands that you don’t take things that aren’t yours. A skill that many adults never learn or don’t value in life. Behind this passion is a clear strategy of a true business man. The strategy is simple- Dad, can you pick me up new jeans, Mom- I will put gas in your car if I can fill up mine with your speed pass, Hey- What’s for lunch, I will pick it up? In any case, he might have saved more for his future than his parents did this past year. He is a smart young man.

Exercise, eat italian, clean your room, do your laundry and brush your teeth. Always wash your hands before you eat. Take good care of your home and yourself. This young man takes great pride in who he has become. Proud, sometimes confident and self asserting, yet gentle, shy and way too embarrassed.  He definitely has become a sweet guy, someone you want to hang out with, have fun and make some memories.  His actions and beliefs show that family and friends are most important to him.

Flush. Ok, no ones perfect.

Enjoy the simple things in your life. Work hard, but play harder. Figure out how to make fun with everything you do. Like we always have say “If it is not fun why do it?”  Treat yourself, make sure life is not just work. Live each day as if it was your first, full of promise, growth and favor. Celebrate everything, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, April Fools, a good grade, hell even an “F”, a promotion, your half birthday and the first day of spring. Find every excuse to celebrate life. Be positive everyday. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. This can even include the daily routine of, “Hey Dad, what for dessert tonight?’

A day without learning is a day wasted. Read, question, study, figure out how the world in which we live works. Be an inventor who inspires change.  Be bold and turn off the electronics. Be aware of wonder. Do not accept the obvious, wonder why it is the way it appears. Question authority, embrace tradition but do not let it be a barrier to your future. Remember our favorite saying;  GO BIG or GO HOME, we like all things BIG!

Take a nap every afternoon to give yourself rest, so you can stay up all night to play video games, be out with friends or chat on the computer.

His parents worry each day as this young man takes the next steps in his journey. As he goes out into the world, they hope he will watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Make time to play, sing, draw and dance. Make a promise that there will be the sound of live jazz trumpet in his life at least a few times of week for the rest of of his life. Remember homemade stamped paper cards are important for every occasion. Live a balanced life young man. And for god sake always take the high road and never, ever believe what is read in the newspaper!

You may be thinking who has this little boy become? 

A social, talented, handsome, smart, balanced, hard working, funny and respectful man.  

_____________________________________________________________

*Inspired by Robert Fulghum book, “All I needed to know I learned in Kindergarden.”

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