On June the 10th 2002, Liam Nicholas joined our world at 1:32am (4 weeks early) - weighing in at 6 lb 6 oz.
Some say at 13 that you are becoming a man. So what does that mean?
Let's start with what it is not. Being a man is not measured by age. Nothing magical happens when you turn 13, 18, 21, or for that matter 40. Being a man is not measured by body hair. Nor is it measured by height, the deepness of your voice or any other physical attribute.
It is important to understand that there is a difference between a boy and a man. As a boy, your main concern is yourself. It is all about having your needs met. You're hungry; sad; happy; tired; awake; thirsty. A boy is a receiver; a man a giver. Becoming a man is about the way you think and the way you act.
To think like a man, you need to focus on others around you. See things through the eyes of other people. Consider how your actions will affect others. Consider how others feel and what their needs are.
It is not enough to simply think like a man - you must act like one - especially during difficult times. For it is in difficult times that your "true" character shines. How will you behave under pressure? Will you still look out for others and fulfill your obligations even when it is difficult?
Life will give you the opportunity to learn as you grow. And life's lessons will come at unpredictable times and places. Remember, anyone can be your teacher. I encourage you to always be on the lookout for life's lessons and its teachers.
You'll have a life of endless opportunities. You'll have your share of happiness and at times you'll be disappointed. You'll will face some difficult decisions while others will be filled with parties and laughter. You'll have victories as well as defeats. You'll continue to make new friends. You'll cry and laugh. You'll be scared and contented. Worried and confident. You'll have doubt and at times a sense of invulnerability. You'll see things repeated and at times you'll be surprised.
The lessons life has in store for you are unique to you. You must master them before you can move past them. Otherwise you'll be faced with the same challenges until you are able to deal with them.
Remember, you have choices. How you live. Whether you're happy. How you deal with what life throws at you. You always can choose how you react. Even doing nothing, is a choice.
Be confident. Stand up for what is right - even if others don't. Resist peer pressure. Be your own judge and jury. Listen to that voice in your head and do the wise thing.
Work hard. Don't be lazy. Avoid mediocrity. Believe in yourself. Dream.
Make plans with the ability to improvise - you will have to "figure it out." Remember, there is no one way to do anything. Work until you've won. NEVER quit. Remember you are always capable of doing more than you think you can - so challenge yourself.
Continue to grow. Stay curious. Learn from those around you. Listen. Don't be a "know-it-all." Always be learning. Always improve your understanding. Don't let your questions go unanswered.
Be a good communicator. Share your feelings with those you love. And most importantly, be able to hear and listen to those you love. For the art of communication is to truly understand, appreciate, and connect with another human being.
Love yourself. Accept your mind. Don't allow others to dictate how you feel about yourself. Take pleasure in life. Stay healthy. Be honest with yourself - for better or worse. Have self-respect.
Respect others. Learn to say "you're sorry" - and mean it. Do for others without looking for something in return.
Choose your friends well. Look at their values. Don't be prejudiced. Do your friends bring out your best? Are they supportive? Avoid people who put you down. Be a "stand-up guy." Your word is important.
Sometimes in life you'll win. Sometimes you'll lose. Life is not fair. But, your losses can be even more important in shaping the man you become than the victories. Learn from your losses. Embrace them.
Maintain your sense of humor - especially when it involves laughing at yourself. It keeps you humble. It makes you more human, and allows others to become closer to you.
Appreciate what you have.
Cherish the friendship you have with your brother – He looks up to you, wants to be just like you and loves spending time with you. Our lives are richer for having you both in it. Keep being you, we will always be here for you, we love you.
What you make of your life is up to you. You have the tools and resources you need. We are proud of you. We love you and are confident you are becoming a man.
Happy Birthday Liam, Love Dad!