45 Things I Want My Sons to Learn
Talk about your love life with your dad, but keep me in the loop.
Pay attention in class, but spend lunchtime with your friends.
Write love-notes, slow dance at prom, and steal kisses from your date, but only if you mean them.
Sex doesn’t have to be special to you, but realize that to others it may be and never take advantage of that.
Wear your seatbelt but play your music loud.
Sneak out of the house, but always call me if you need help.
You’ll hear that girls aren’t tough, however, one day I’ll share stories of my past and you’ll know that’s not the case.
Go on dates and stay out late, open doors and always offer to pay.
Allow yourself to fall in love, embrace the exhilarating feeling of it all.
If you want proof of true love, watch your dad and me.
You don’t need to stand behind a political party, but you do need to stand up for what you believe in.
Hiding who you are is a waste of your time, you only live once darlings, embrace yourselves.
Know that you’ll make mistakes and wrong choices, but remember that nothing is unfixable and dad and I will help you no matter what.
Rarely will you take my advice, but I’ll give it to you anyways.
Whatever you struggle with, we’ll be by your side. The four of us, we’re a team, and I’ll never let you forget that.
Your brother is your best friend, even when he’s annoying the crap out of you.
Mental health is as important as physical health, so tell me when your mind hurts like you would your body.
Daddy and I won’t judge you for drinking or using drugs. Yes, we’ll be scared for you, but you don’t need to hide from us if you have a problem. We’ll understand more than you could ever know.
Talk to us about school and introduce us to your friends.
Remember that sex is a powerful thing, respect anyone who chooses to share their most vulnerable parts of themselves with you.
Introduce yourself to the new kid at school and sit with the boy who’s sitting alone.
Violence is never the answer, but always stand up for yourselves.
Be selfless, listen more and talk about yourself less.
Bring flowers when meeting your partner’s parents.
If you find yourself hating others because of your own beliefs—you’re doing it all wrong.
Listen to Bob Dylan and Bob Marley.
Play vinyls and explore underground music.
Go to rap shows and symphonies.
Say you’re sorry when you need to, because one day you might not have the chance.
Love deeply, even after your heartbreaks—which, by the way, will hurt worse than you could imagine, but I promise time will heal.
Call me, I miss you all the time.
You may not be able to save the world, but if you chase what makes you happy, you’ll make a difference.
If your crush catches you staring, just smile, don’t look away.
Compliment me when I dress up and laugh at your dads jokes.
Respect nature—it’s more powerful than we could ever comprehend—so don’t be foolish in the ocean, or the mountains.
Treat animals with kindness, don’t kill bugs just because, and pick up trash rather than step over it.
Remain teachable my loves, when we stop learning we stop growing, when we think we know it all, we suddenly become ignorant.
Know that fairytales and pornos don’t reflect real life, but real love is exciting.
Have conversations until sunrise and build platonic relationships with girls and boys.
Read Harry Potter and Great Expectations, watch cult classics like Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas.
Make true connections, when we connect with others we find ourselves.
Work hard—it’s okay to quit but do it the right way and for the right reasons.
Keep your word and tell the truth even when it hurts.
If nothing else my sweet boys, take this with you—the world is filled with so much hate, choose kindness, every chance you get, choose to be kind.
Remember that you are loved, always.
Melissa is a fulltime working mama to her two young boys; Watson and Emerson. She is married to a wonderful sober man and they have created a blessed life in Southern California.
Melissa has been sober since 11.6.13 and is active in 12 step fellowships and the online sober community and . She understands there are no sober blueprints, and different things work for different people. Along with addiction, Melissa struggles with mental health issues, addiction to self-harm, and has a habit of self-loathing. Through recovery, she has begun to overcome those obstacles.
She works at a non-profit, men’s recovery home and spends her free time podcasting with her husband and recycling old clothes.