Growing up without a father, I wasn’t always sure what it meant to be a man. I saw men and what I thought were men but I never really knew what that word meant or if i ever would grow to be one.
Now as Father’s Day approaches, I’ve decided to write you this letter. Advice if you will, as you enter into manhood and are on your own journey. A lot of our relationship was tough but learning to love you for exactly who you are, has made me a better man and for that I thank you, Son.
So with love, to my son, Collins, here are 15 things I wish my dad had taught me.
1) A man looks out for those around him — family, friend, lover or stranger, he for sure looks out for children. He should also never forget to look out for himself.
2) A man makes things — a table, food, mortgage money. Or he remakes things — old cars, furniture, fortunes. This man shares his knowledge, from one man to the next. This knowledge lives longer than him. Because of this, he is immortal.
3) A man fantasizes that the spirit of Bruce Lee lives deep inside him and maybe he never has, and maybe he never will, but a man figures he can knock someone, somewhere in this world, on their butt.
4) A Man doesn’t take shortcuts. Shortcuts get you there too early and unprepared.
5) A man knows that the only goal of a first date it to see if you both want a second date. Men try not to overcomplicate things.
6) A man doesn’t let anyone who hasn’t been in his shoes, tell him how to tie his laces but he does seek out wisdom and advice from those who have gone before him and been where he wants to go. A man is a student of life.
7) A man understands that he will have plenty of money when he decides he likes making money more than he likes having money.
8) Personal style — get some and make it your own. Don’t care what that is,. There are no rules ( except the socks and sandals thing, take a hard pass always.)
9) If he drinks, a man has had liquor enough in his life that he can order a drink without sounding clueless, or asking what the special is. If you don’t want to think about it, order an old fashioned, or a beer and a shot but never the frozen strawberry margarita.
10) A man admits when he was wrong . That's why Barry Bonds is not a man. A man admits his mistakes immediately. He takes ownership of his missteps, and what he was, whether he likes to or not. This is greatness.
11) A man is great at what he does. Not his work, not his career, not his hobbies. His job. It doesn't matter what he does, he does it to the best of his abilities. Effort over everything. Always.
12) A man is not a know-it all. He won’t even try to be. He likes what other people know.
13) A man understands that friendship is as much about being a friend as it is about having a friend. You don’t need but 2-3 great friends to make this life worth living so love on them hard.
14) A man can say I love you to another man. Full stop.
15) Men cry, they hurt, they laugh, they dance, they cook, they clean and so on. Never Ever let anyone question your manhood because you choose to be a different man than them. Men come in all shapes, colors and creeds.
This is just a handful of insight that I have gained from a life of observing great men and working to become one. Before you finish reading this , son. I want to ask you to make me a promise.
Promise me that you will:
Be man enough to be vulnerable.
Be present for your family and friends.
Ask for help when you need it.
Stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.
Put your whole heart into everything that you do.
Fail, fail again, fail again and then fail again.
You only need to be right once.
Love hard and allow yourself to be loved.
Have the strength to fight for everything that you want in this life.
Mostly I want you to be man enough to live authentically and be seen exactly as you are every single day of your life.
I love you, Boog.
Dad, Joe Buckner