An Open Letter to My 10-Year-Old Son
My dearest Ben, I can't believe that you've been here for a decade already! Watching you grow up into the young man you have become has been simply awesome for your mother and I. Seeing you continually develop and mature while keeping things silly and fun, and doing it in perfect harmony, leaves me in awe of what a truly wonderful kid you are.
I always worry about my shortcomings as a father. There have been many times over the last ten years that I've worried that I was too hard on you, or not hard enough. There have also been times that because of one thing or another I feel like I wasn't there for you when I should've been. But despite all that, I couldn't be happier with who you are and what you've become.
One thing that I learned from my parents that I've really tried to instill in you is a love for people and humanity in general. As I've gotten older I've noticing that the way my parents raised me, to respect, care and show concern for others, is embedded into the fabric of who I am. Why do I hold doors for others, make silly jokes with cashiers, and get over when someone is trying to merge on to the freeway next to me? I can't help it, it's a part of who I am, and I can already see it's a part of you too.
Don't judge people or situations. Get to the truth before making decisions. Remember your roots. My grandparents, Nanna and Nannu, were refugees who fled the war in their country for a safe haven here in the United States. Nanna's school was blown up when she was in third grade, and she learned how to speak English by watching TV. They lived through the horrors of war first hand on their small island of Malta, and survived to create an amazing and loving family here in America. I have never met two people more loving, caring or devoted to their family than Chuck and Elizabeth Fenech. Their inherent love for people is in my blood, and in yours.
Things were much different when I was your age. Sure, there were terrible things happening in the world all the time, and terrorism was definitely a thing back then. The main difference between then and now is how much we are exposed to the bad things today. With 24 hour news channels and social media, you can drive yourself crazy watching all of the evil in the world. I am by no means telling you to ignore it, but don't let it consume you.
Be aware of what's happening in the world around you, but don't let it control how you live your life. Yes, there's always the chance of a terror attack, but there's a better chance that you'll die of old age. Don't spend your life living in fear or hiding in the shadows. You have so much positive energy, compassion and charisma, and you need to share it with the world. Humanity could truly BENefit from more people like you!
I love you, son, and I am so proud of you!