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“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say.  It’s the only thing you have to offer.”
-Barbara Kingsolver

The parent-child connection is one of, if not the most, vexing, complicated, and complex relationships that exists or at least from a parents’ viewpoint.  With marriage, the law provides the option for divorce to disengage from the person who no longer fits in your plans.  There are no such choices as a parent (at least in my mind) because of not only our biological and genetic connections, but the spiritual and emotional ones as well.  I know without a doubt Mom and I cannot fathom any reason that would lead us to completely give up or lose faith in that relationship because your heartbeats are synchronized with our own.  You boys are what we dreamed about well before you were born and once introduced into our lives, your presence each day feeds the eminent fulfillment of those dreams.

Now that you are getting older and maturing at a pace faster than we are often able to appreciate, I guess that we have to factor in your thoughts and views as they relate to your present and future.  Let’s face it, you are increasingly becoming more responsible for the direction you take and answerable for the choices you make but for now, accept that we still have the final say in most things.  Still I’d like to think we’ll work together since we are mainly on the same page, or so it would seem.

So we can pretty much agree that I show little restraint in expressing my own thoughts and what I have to say as honestly as possible.  I really try my best to avoid being vindictive or hurtful when I do since I think I have a decent grasp of my own vocabulary, and I’m sensitive and tactful enough to phrase certain thoughts and opinions in what I hope is a helpful and productive manner.  I’m realistic enough to understand that I’m not always perfect despite my intentions because of the manner of my delivery coupled with the interpretation and perception of the intended recipient.  Know this though about what I have to say: my intensions when it comes to people I truly care about are, for the most part, genuinely well-intended, carefully designed, and meant to be constructive despite how they are initially received.  I get it because I tend to be entrenched in my own opinions and views, and stubborn enough that it takes some time to penetrate my defenses.  What can I say – it’s just a “Joe Dico” trait that’s been passed down to me and has seemingly been transferred to you guys but there’s enough of Mom in you to sometimes balance it out.

Here is something that may or may not surprise you.  As you boys have gotten older, I’m listening to you not only with my ears but with more of an open mind to the thoughts and opinions that you express.  What you say is becoming more relevant to my way of thinking because it has actual relevance to you guys in “your” lives so I’ve learned to respect it more and shockingly, sometimes agree with you when you’re point of view has validity.  It may not happen as instantaneously as you’d prefer but give me a break because it takes some time to alter 52 years of “wisdom” through reflection and contemplation to see that you just may be more right than I thought I may have initially been (notice I didn’t use the word “wrong”).

Jason and Christian if you haven’t noticed, I’ve given you more latitude as you get older as opposed to giving in to you because your actions validate the conviction and reasoning behind your opinions, beliefs, and requests.  Remember sons that I’ll continue to trust and have faith in you as long as you continue to earn it and don’t worry that slight missteps will alter that.  Just stay away from making frequent stupid or huge mistakes for two reasons.  One it will potentially destroy the good work you’ve done to date and the trust you’ve built.  Second and more importantly, you don’t want to gamble with my efforts towards patience, leniency, and understanding because everything has it’s limits so just don’t risk it – it will not be in either of our best interests!

I get that you are works in progress but really, aren’t we all throughout our lives? Look, although I know more about life and it’s intricacies, I am not that delusional to maintain I know everything there is to know about life, people, and for that fact YOU GUYS, and almost every day I’m reminded of that fact.  As I’ve shared with you, at times I have had a somewhat unorthodox and unconventional history so there’s a great deal of information I’ve acquired for my benefit and hopefully yours.  That along with a connection with what you may go through and how it relates to the current challenges and the ones beyond your horizon gives them more credibility.  They just can’t be disregarded because they will help guide you through many situations if you allow them to factor into your own thinking.  Just trust me because we have many of the same goals and objectives and I’m not trying to relive my youth but just help you through yours!

With that said, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I have to give your voice a measure of legitimacy for the best reason I can think of:  I should!  As you grow up and slowly move ahead, Mom and my roles are changing much to our pride while still holding on to “our little guys”.  Remember that we measure how we raised and what we taught you by how you act and the manner you live and live among others.  I applaud the thoughts you share but only if they reflect your honest and personal analysis.  Don’t puppet someone else’s opinions or views out of conformity, submission, or convenience, because I’ll know the difference and it makes it easier to minimize or reject them. I want to hear YOUR voice and the mind that provide it’s foundation.

Oh and once you have the courage and/or confidence to challenge your parents viewpoints, I expect you to exercise that level of conviction with others whose authority certainly pales in comparison to ours.  Just the “Dico” way because if we have something important and of value to stand up for, it doesn’t make sense or offer any benefit to keep it to ourselves!  We did not raise you to be pacifists or followers when presented with unreasonable and illogical choices and from my own experience, it’s best to fight from the center of the ring than against the ropes.

I’ll end with a quote from someone who “never took a lazy step” through out her young life and lived and died through the conviction of the words that defined her. “One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” – Joan of Arc