My Dearest Raider,
My hope is that you look back on your childhood with an affectionately lopsided smile. Firstly, this should emanate from recognizing that the legacy that you are flourishing in was planted well before we were blessed with you. The hard work and efforts of others, many of whom would never know that you were to come, have spouted leafy branches to give you shade. Secondly, the downward slope of your half-smile is a badge of honor earned and you should learn to wear it proudly. It is built upon the confidence of all of your hard work & efforts and all of the discomforts & adversities overcome to climb the branches above you to see what’s beyond. Sometimes they’re hard to reach, extremely difficult to climb and falling is an inevitability. But the beautiful examples of “just keep climbing” within your current circle are endless. From day 1 you have only known a championship culture that thrives to challenge you, to build hardiness and strength of character. This forces you to recognize and to expect nothing short of AMAZING from yourself. You are still too young to completely grasp the world that you live in as evidenced by the conversations that i get to overhear between you and your friends. “i HAD to workout with my friend Tony (5x World Champion Antonio Tarver) in the Dirty 05:30 Team…i HAD to have fart gun wars before workouts with Michael (Phelps), Ryan (Lochte), Pernille (Blume), Anthony (Ervin)…i HAD to go to my Dadda’s work where his “military” friends take me to the boom-boom range…i HAD to go see Teddy Dupay who teaches me basketball…last but not in the very least, i HAD to go train with all of our amazing friends at HERO Initiative who display shining, bright examples of just good peoples doing good things day in and day out.
Again, not that we all expect you to fully grasp this now, but one day recognize all of our efforts in some way, shape, form and fashion benefit you in your life as expectations and the habits that you are subconsciously building. But even further, use it all as examples of how you will take future leadership roles. A cheat sheet of experiences outlining how to live a life of leadership-by-example in the circles that you choose to expand in your life.
Lastly, the upswing of your lopsided smile will eventually come from your view from atop of the canopy. Many will look up and wonder how you magically got up there. “It must be luck, wizardry, filipino privilege and such.” they will say. But only you will know just how much others have invested in you, just how much you have invested in yourself and most importantly how much all of that will mean to someone looking up to you. So that one day you can look into their eyes when they feel the pressure of obligation and say to them, “its not only ‘i HAD to’ but also the opportunity of ‘i GET to’ that allowed me a glorious view from the top.”! Learn to balance both and never, ever forget that…
i Love you Always,
“Naturally there are going to be some ups and downs, particularly if you have some individuals trying to achieve at a high level…when a pressure situation presented itself, we were plugged into one another as a cohesive unit. That’s why we were able to win, and that’s why we were able to beat more talented teams.” ~ Michael Jordan.