The Summit of Mt. Quandary -14,265ft
Rite of Passage from being a boy to a young man…
I wanted to take you on this trip for so many reasons. This summit to the top of Mt. Quandary represents the end stages of you being a boy and the beginning stages of you being a man. It’s called a rite of passage. Rites of passages have been around for centuries. A rite of passage is when you experience something that takes work and is then celebrated after completion. As you sit on this mountain and read this letter, you are no longer a little boy. You have reached the peak (just like you did on this mountain) of boyhood…now you will start the journey of being a young man.
Being a young man means so many things. It means you will now have more responsibility. Your choices (good and not so good) will have bigger and more profound outcomes. It’s time to really start understanding things like: relationships, friends, trust, how you treat girls, money, working hard in school, working hard in life, working hard in sports, never giving up, doing hard things, taking care of your body, taking care of your mind, doing things that will make you stronger, wiser, and better every day.
Trust/Honesty: Now that you are becoming a young man, trust and honesty is something that is critical. Always tell the truth. You will not get in trouble with us when you are honest. You won’t be punished for being honest, even if you made a bad decision. Honesty and trust is the foundation of any relationship. If people can’t trust you, you won’t have the freedom to enjoy the things that you want out of life.
Always stand up for what you believe in: as you get older, you will have dreams and aspirations to do great things. People around you (even friends) will always try and pressure you to do things that aren’t the wisest choices. Your friends at some point will tempt you with drugs, alcohol, stealing, or evening bullying someone who is weaker. I already know your beliefs on all of this and I know it’s not what you believe in. People who you think are your friends and have your back will tempt you to do all the above and more. Always stand your ground…stand up for what you believe in…no matter what people say and do.
Women in your life: as you get older, you will start dating. You will be dating a variety of women in your life that will all have different personalities. You will fall in love…probably several times in your life. Always treat women with the utmost respect. Open doors for them. Use manners. Never force them to do anything physical (like sex or kissing) if they aren’t ready. Always treat a woman’s parents with the utmost respect. Keep in mind; you are dating their daughter…so they need to trust you. On another note, never let a woman take advantage of you. There are some women in the world that don’t treat men well. They are disrespectful…they can call you names…they can even mess around on you with one of your friends. Never stand for that. I’ve dated women like that and they will suck the life out of you. There are women in the world that will treat you with so much love and kindness (much like mom treats me). My hope is that you see how mom and I treat each other. I fully know that we aren’t perfect parents (no parents are). Every parent out there has their strengths and weaknesses. But there is one thing that is a huge strength for me and your mom…that is our love and respect for each other. I can tell you without a doubt that 9 out of 10 marriages are not like me and mom. Most marriages are a disaster in some way. The one cool thing you get to witness as you grow up is a healthy relationship between a man and a woman. I never had this growing up…except for my grandpa. Mom and I don’t call each other names, we hug, we kiss, there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t tell each other how much we love and appreciate each other. We are good friends. We are good team mates. We have each other’s back no matter what. As you get older, my hope is that you find the same relationship with a woman or even better.
Managing Money: As you get older managing money will be extremely important. Most adults have ZERO skills when it comes to managing money. For the most part, a lot of people are broke. I know you see that a lot of people have nice cars, nice houses and a lot of STUFF. What you don’t see is most people struggle with money because they are spending money on all that stuff and saving ZERO of it. Most people become slaves to their jobs and slaves to money because they have no idea how to manage it or how to use it as a powerful tool. My promise to you is to teach you all of that. You just have to promise to be a good student. If we do it right, you won’t have to work for anyone when you get older. You can start your own business. You have enough money that you won’t have to worry and you can do work that truly makes you come alive. Bottom line is this…you manage money…it doesn’t manage you. Always save at least 20-30% of what you make (in other words save at least $3 for every $10 you make). When you save like that, you are buying years down the road of financial freedom. Also, don’t spend money you don’t have. I know you see me and mom spend a lot of money on a credit card…however we never spend more money than what we have. Credit cards don’t mean you can spend money without tracking it; it means you pay the credit card balance off every month. If you don’t have the money to pay for something…go make the money you need to pay for what you want. I will teach you all this stuff.
Friendships: You will have a variety of friends in your life as you get older. You will have some friends that are super close. You will have others that you talk to often, but you might not feel a deep connection to them. Believe it or not, most friends will come and go. The secret to good friends is finding friends who have your back, your best interest, and the ones that always want what is best for you. You even will want friends that will call you out on your bullshit. LOL! I know that doesn’t make much sense now, but trust me it will later. You want friends (young men) in your life that have the IRON SHARPENS IRON mentality. Again, I know this might not make much sense now…but as you get older I will continue to explain this to you. IRON SHARPENS IRON means you have men in your life that always want what is best for you even when you can’t see it. I know you have seen me with friendships in my life that don’t really serve me (like Jason Rulo). On the other hand, you seen other men in my life like Jason MacKenzie and Dan Luigs who I can literally go to in my darkest times and they can come to me. We support each other through anything and everything. That is what you will want to find as you get older as well.
Leadership: I can tell already that you have the potential to be a great leader. A great leader is someone who is strong, confident, and HUMBLE. A leader helps others develop and they are always looking to serve others. They help pick others up. They step when things get hard and difficult.
Do things right the first time: You already know this, but there are 2 ways to do anything in life. 1. Take short cuts and do things wrong. 2. Do things right the first time. The first option will ALWAYS be a temptation because at the end of the day…it’s easy. The second option will usually be harder, but will always be rewarded. For example, it’s fast and easy not to brush your teeth…but over time, your breath will start to stink, your teeth will rot, and your mouth will be disgusting. Another example is it can be easy to not study for a test because it takes time and work. But not studying usually results into a pretty poor grade. Poor grades usually results in not going to the school you want to or the job/business you want to have later. It’s easy to watch TV and not clean your room. But if your room is a total mess and we have a fire in the house, the firefighters are going to have a tough time getting to you if they are tripping on your stuff. Take care of your gear…and your gear will take care of you.
Mason, it’s truly an honor being your dad. I know sometimes I can be tough on you and you probably hate me for it. But in the end, I’m here to guide you, to teach you, and to help you grow into a man. You already are an amazing young man with so many incredible qualities. Raising you has been and always will be an honor.
I love you more than anything. I am proud of you for so many reasons. I am proud to have done this trip and climbing this mountain together. It has been an awesome experience.