Advice for my Unadopted Son (Markus McDaniel)
I can’t say for sure if I’ll have children in the future, but I am pretty sure that if I do, they won’t be of my own flesh and blood. There are far too many children who are parentless already, so why not adopt one of them and raise them as my own?
If I become a dad, I’d do my best to prepare them for the fun times, the sad times, the great times, and the hard times. I’d like to impart my advice to them, and, well, you too. So here goes:
As much as you won’t like it, you will have chores to do around the house. So many teenagers these days do not know how to do their own laundry, or clean up after themselves, or empty a garbage can when it’s full, or do the dishes when they’re dirty. Believe me, you’ll thank me when you go off to college or university and you have to live with a bunch of other spoiled kids.
Don’t worry about dating until you’re sixteen…better yet, eighteen. I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was nineteen, and I turned out okay, right? Well, when the time comes, your boyfriend or girlfriend should better you. They should be someone you can count on and look forward to seeing. Yes, relationships require work but they shouldn’t become a daily stress, or worse, a constant loathing. Don’t become a possession to be controlled, and never tolerate abuse. When you fight, argue cleanly. Name-calling doesn’t fix the problem and just shows your immaturity. Did I mention your other half should better you, not bring you down?
I will always have an ear for you, so approach me about anything. Math problems, friend issues, drugs and alcohol, food, dealing with taxes, sex, gossip, gift ideas – anything. Granted, you might not always want to talk to me, so find a friend with whom you can. Sharing is a necessary part of life. And don’t be discouraged if you don’t have many friends. Remember, it’s the quality of the friendships, not the quantity of friends.
Life is a game of balance. Although we are creatures of habit, we also need the right amount of variation and moderation. Allow yourself some spontaneity; no one likes an uptight timekeeper. But also maintain some structure in order to take on your ever-growing responsibilities.
As a potential dad who is gay, I feel I shouldn’t need to say this, but I will. Your sexual orientation will never, ever affect my love for you. You will be adored whether you’re gay, straight, bi or trans. What matters most is your happiness!
Keep in mind that everyone has a unique way of thinking. However, opinions aren’t facts, so be kind to those who think differently than you.
I encourage you to take a world religions class in order to learn about the different beliefs that circulate this planet. I don’t expect you to choose a religion to obey; just be aware of them. You have the freedom to form your own ideas. You might want to create a personal belief system by taking pieces of each religion you like, pray to your own goddess, become a Buddhist, or disregard religion altogether.
Life is too short, so have some fun with it! Don’t waste it away by working constantly; you need to make time for play. Take a night off and go out with your friends. Better yet, take a vacation to one of your dream locations. Work to live, don’t live to work. Unless you love your job, you’re only there to pay the bills. And let’s face it, you can’t take your money with you to heaven or your next life.
It takes time to heal a cut, right? As such, it takes time to heal an emotional wound. I know this because I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve experienced it. Only I don’t use a Band-Aid to help with the pain. A tub of ice cream, a series of chick flicks, and a healthy dose of supportive friends is my recipe. Things don’t heal overnight, unfortunately. Sometimes it can take months, if not years. But I’ll be there to hold your hand and help you through it.
And there will be times when your heart will be broken, and there will be times when you will break someone else’s heart. It’s never easy mending a shattered heart, or feeling responsible for crushing another’s. You are allowed to cry. Don’t worry, no one looks pretty when they cry. So let it all out. Let out all the ugly, hurtful emotions you’re feeling. You can always get a hug from Dad.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say you are beautiful as you are. Never base your appearance on the girls or guys in the magazines; they are photo-shopped and therefore fake. I’ll let you get a piercing or two, just promise to think a moment before getting a tattoo on your forehead, please.
Enjoy the moments you can, because I can guarantee it won’t last. Soak it in. Bask in life’s delight. Don’t mull in the past. Don’t constantly fret about the future. Get off your phone during special occasions. The present is right in front of you, so enjoy it sweetie. The saying, “This too shall pass,” is applicable to any situation, both good and bad.
Choose music as your drug of choice. You don’t necessarily have to play any music (I sure can’t), but listening to music and exploring different genres and musicians can be rewarding. I used to be shy of my music choices because I thought people would judge me, but now I don’t care. It’s what makes your ears happy that counts!
I can’t emphasize this enough: communication is a key element to happiness. As much as super powers are awesome, no one can read your mind. So many friendships, relationships, and various bonds have suffered or ended due to lack of proper communication. I encourage you to learn when to listen and when to considerately speak your mind. You’ll notice a difference!
You are your toughest critic. It’s been said again and again, but it’s true. You will critique yourself, incessantly trying to make improvements either on your school assignments, your art projects, your musical pieces, your writing endeavors, your life goals – I could go on. Sometimes you have to just stop the critiquing and let it go. Otherwise, you’ll inhibit yourself and nothing will get accomplished. Imperfection is a part of life. Embrace it!
I’m sure I’ll find more advice to tell you as life goes on, so I’ll leave you with this final one for now. For the rest of your life, there will be only one person you’ll have to live with consistently and tolerate endlessly. Yourself. Learn to love yourself and get comfortable in your own skin; because you’re gonna have it for a good while! This may sound cheesy, but others can’t love you entirely until you love you.