Letter to My Son. He is Five Today.
My son Naman, turns five today.
Five. A milestone nonetheless. It is easy for me to keep loving you the way I have been doing so far. Helping you cross the road, making you open your mouth for a bite, or adjusting your waist belt. Or driving with your school bus . You insist for something and either you get it or I deny it. You ride on my back, bowl at me, and most often you love to take me for granted. As if the earth ought to be in its orbit. So far so good. But.
You are five today. This is not how you will let me continue loving you like this. You may not know when things around you will change you without even letting you know. So, let a small quiet stream flow from forty to five.
Five is the time for some organic changes — in your spirit for how you see the world and for how you help the world to see you.
Your Personal Standards
You may stumble while walking on road and your friends may laugh at you. Next day, you may again stumble on the road and a gentlemen may come forward to help you. In either case, do not let others’ action dictate how you should respond. Their reaction is less important. You should respond for what you should actually do. Your response is more important. This should be internalized inside you.
Do not worry about what others may be thinking of you, when you are playing in the park, walking to school bus, or while shopping. Do not worry for how your hair are flying while playing, whether your shirt is tucked inside your trouser when you are running, or how that lady may react when you sing a song in a crowd. Your true friends never judge you beyond your words and actions and those who judge do not matter much. So if someone forms an opinion of you whether you are too lean, Asian, tall, or slow, it is their problem and not yours. If people are judgmental, let them be as they are contributing to the debris in their own mind. You continue for your strengths. You compete for your own standards. Wear your own shirt.
Variety and Need
The world is not meant to be true to your expectations. It will keep on surprising you. It will make you ask questions.
- You go to your grandma and notice that their sofa is different from ours.
- You go to school and notice that the water bottles are so different.
- You notice in our neighbor that people have different cars.
This is how the world is meant to be. We are all different — for our choices and limitations. Do not question the variety — why their sofa or car is different or better than ours. Accept it because you are Naman and they do not have a Naman. They have someone else, and so a different car, phone, or sofa. Do not seek others’ toys, joys, bags, or accessories. Do not wish something what others have. Wish for what you need.
Do not Compete
Do well not to beat others but to beat your own standards. You know nine minus five. Now learn twenty eight minus thirteen not because someone else knows it but because you may find it even more interesting and useful to learn.
Your friends or cousins learn, play, and grow, for their own strengths. Those who are ahead of you may be amazing and those who are behind you too may be equally amazing. If you have to pick your friends in the crowd, pick them only for shared ideas, and nothing else. At five, winning, losing, performance, gender, car, or phone do not matter.
Strength is in the mind to begin with. Be passionate in what you learn and be strong to use that learning. Strength is a lot about fearlessness. Be fearless.
The world is an opportunity for the fearless. Jump. Dare. Negotiate. Discuss. Being fearless is not only about energy, it is about exercising the choices. With spontaneity. Dare well.
Your Personal Standards — Repeat
This is another note on your personal standards because it is so important.
- Watch your language. To the world, you are what you speak. If you are the last person in the world who uses abusive words, I am a happy man.
- Watch what you eat. To yourself, you are what you eat. Ensure that your health cooperates with your clear and fearless mind.
- Watch your apprehensions. Pause where your education stops you. Act where your education helps you.
- Read the newspaper and watch the motion. You may perceive or conclude that the world has lost its way to violence, technology, or greed. This is not true. There is still a role for gentlemen. I wish you grow up as a gentleman, a segment that gives hope and reasons to the world for positive decisions.
Stay away from gossip. You do not have the time for gossip. When you find time to pass on comments or a judgmental opinion on others, let me know and I can help you join a sport or an activity. Remember that the longest rod that you can place is a room is longer than its longest wall. You should never have time for gossip. I will postpone reading my business emails to help you stay away from gossip. You have got better things to do.
Learn to write. Write well. Writing is the most important skill you should have since the next decade will be all about stories and contexts. I want you to be good at crafting stories.
I know you love telling stories. I know you won a competition in telling a story  but now it is time to learn to write well. In writing too, learn to visualize, to dream plots, to form characters, and to join the strings. If you know how to craft stories, many a battles begin on a positive note.
Humor helps. Humor is like nutrition to a busy mind. It is not a substitute but it acts as a useful filler. Timely humor gives you athleticism and it keeps others interested. Humor adds spice without causing acidity. To the people whom you love, make them laugh. At five, conversations are rarely intense. So keep your tone light with a measured touch of humor.
Not everything is science but there is certainly a method for how you should respond to certain situations, and to everything around you that you see, feel, sense, or touch.
You listen to me even though you have the choice to not to listen to me. I love it when you put your dishes back, tidy up your room, and pack your school bag. This is appreciated but it may not be good enough. The world tests your mettle and you should be up to the task. Here is a recap of this stream in fewest words that you can even tweet.
Happy Birthday Naman.
Saturday. August 08.
You can reply to me on that Saturday. August 08. When you will be ten. That day, you should be good enough to share the gains, takeaways, and falterings. I would wait for you at the table.