This letter was written by a friend, Jerry Turning, and posted to his FaceBook Page. It is with his permission that I pass his words of wisdom on. On this day of World Autism Awareness, his words encompass a message needed for all sons.
An open letter to my son on World Autism Awareness Day:
Hi handsome. I’m not quite sure when you will read this, but there is so much I want to teach you, sometimes I get scared that I’ll forget some things or leave something out. So I decided to make a short list of some life lessons I want to teach you. They are in no particular order, but if you use them as a guide when life gets challenging, I think you’ll find your way:
1) You have Autism. That means you are special. You have been given an amazing gift to see the world differently than other people.
2) I spent a little while feeling sorry for you… for me… for us. I was wrong for that. You have made me a better person and you are absolutely perfect exactly how you are.
3) But that doesn’t mean you don’t face challenges. The world is not always as patient and understanding as we would like. I’ll do my best to change the world for you, but in the mean time you will have to learn to cope in this wacky world.
4) I will not allow you to use “Autism” as an excuse or a crutch. You are capable of anything.
5) Be open-minded. Learn to compromise.
6) But stand for something. Defend it ferociously.
7) Respect women. They are a more perfect creature than we are.
8) If you hurt someone… apologize (and mean it)
9) If someone hurts you… forgive (and mean it)
10) If you have to choose between popularity and loyalty… choose loyalty.
11) Trust… but only after they earn it.
12) Find something you love to do… get really good at it… and then convince somebody to pay you to do it.
13) One good friend beats 10,000 so-so friends.
14) Learn the difference ^^^^^
15) Be humble. Just when you think you have it all figured out, Life will teach you how wrong you are.
16) Talk to God.
17) Learn baseball. It is the perfect game.
18) Your Dad is just a man trying to figure it all out… just like you.
19) Your Dad will have your back… always.
20) You are your Dad’s hero.