The reason I write these things has nothing to do with me, I’m not in any type of pity party or looking for excuses, or anything else. As I grow older I realize the impact I could have had on so many. I have lived a life with so many regrets, although I realize I cannot change the past I can change the future. My hopes are that it will help others in some way… my children, grandchildren etc….Most of my life I lived as a liar, thief, and cheater. I have been very much a narcissist most of my life….I have lived for me for the most part. I have never been close enough to anyone in my life to be open and honest, never had best friends throughout my life, the funny part is I bragged about this, I was prideful and arrogant.
I am very thankful for my wife Diane and my counselor Dr. D who both loved me enough to help me walk through all the stuff in my life to see the light. The problem with seeing the light is then you are able to see all the darkness from the past………..
I want to take some time and write about my life, my struggles, my challenges, my mistakes and my advice. I am not doing this for pity, for attention but in the hopes it will help someone else. I imagine it happens to all of us as we grow older, we begin to look back at our lives and realize what we have done with our lives, what impact we have made, how our lives affect our families, our children, grandchildren, the people we have worked with, been in deep relationships with etc. I have a deep burning desire to find a way to shake sense/truth into my children and the younger people that are in my life now.
As a young man I had no thoughts of the future, I lived for today in every aspect of my life. Even as a young boy my life was about the moment…. I guess that is probably true and it should be that way to some extent as a child, enjoy childhood, learn how to play, how to have friends etc. When I got into jr. high school and it was time to start growing up, learning responsibility, how to study, how to find a path in life I didn’t think twice about it. I was more interested in getting into the right crowd, to fit in with the one that seemed so cool and popular, and that carried with through High school. I did not give education a second thought, I couldn’t wait to get out of HS so I could be my own man, party as I wanted, do what I wanted and when I wanted.
When I got to HS I was still pretty innocent when it came to alcohol and drugs, I dabbled a little, tried a drinking smoking pot but was not a big part of my life. There was one guy in HS that was coolest guy in school. I wanted to be friends with him, because that would get me into to right crowd. One night I saw him at a place called “the white room” it was a small little place where bands would come that was opened to teens. (saw some greats there by the way). On Monday he says to me “hey I saw you at the white room Friday night, man you looked like you where wiped out, what was you on?” without a second thought I told him I took LSD and we became very good friends after that day. The problem was our friendship was based on drugs I had never done before…. and so I started taking them with him and all his friends. This was a MAJOR life change for me that was not healthy and carried into me life for years.
I can recall my brother in law Jack who tried so very hard to invest into my life, help me study, teach me how desperately I needed an education to make it in this new world of technology. A career to raise a family, save for the future and a secure life. I think inside I was touched that he did this, but on the outside I just blew him off and laughed at him. He must have been so frustrated with me!!
As a young man I was always trying to be something I wasn’t — here is an example. In high school I worked at the mall at the karmelCorn shop. It was located right in the center of the mall, on one side of the shop was Leeds shoes and on the other was Hardy’s shoes, Leeds was a women’s’ shoe store and Hardy’s was a men’s. The guys that worked there looked so cool to me, they dressed in nice clothes, they were the popular guys in the mall, all the girls would hang out with them and after work they all headed out to party. I would serve them up their cokes and popcorn and they never said a word to me. I would stand and watch them every day thinking that’s what I want to do, that’s who I want to be. How is that for a life dream? LOL. After I got out of HS (I did not graduate by the way) I started buying the coolest clothes I could and tried to get the right haircut and headed to the shoe stores to find my dream job. It didn’t take long to land a job and to get going. I soon realized that they didn’t make much money and I wondered how they lived the way they did making the money they made. I discovered 2 things.. first you had to get to management to make any decent money and second most of them were stealing money from the company to party and dress nice. I remember my first manager showing me how to do it so you wouldn’t get caught.
Soon I was worked my way into management and I was on my way for the next almost 20 years. Here is what was most important to me during that time of my life…..
Being popular ~ Having girls chase after me ~ Dressing well ~ acting and looking like I was somebody important ~ Being at the coolest bars/clubs ~
And here is the sad part, I was married with children and I really didn’t care about them at all. I mean I did care and I can say I did love them but my actions showed something completely different. I was good at living two separate lives…. at home a husband and father but at work a man that was all about fun and living the crazy life. Sadly so many things in my life followed me just about all of my life, I learned to control them better, or hide them…… I would fight them even and have seasons of victory only to fall into the same traps later on down the road.
Here is the point of my writing this ~ most of my life I have lived a very foolish life ~ That does not feel very good to say, but as I grow older and headed towards the end of my life this haunts me in some very deep ways. In the past 50 years of my life I have left behind me many messes, many broken people, many broken employers, and not much to show for living in this world. With that said I know I have done good in this world also, there have been lives that I’ve touched and helped along the way. So I want you to know I’m not feeling sorry for myself AT ALL, this is not about me.
It’s about what I will leave behind me, what have I taught my children? I have 3 son’s, 1 adopted son, and 5 son-in-laws and 5 grandsons and I question what have I done to impact their lives and teach them how to be a man of honor and integrity, a man that loves his wife with all he has, a man that loves and cherishes his children with EVERYTHING, a man that plans for the future, takes care of business. A man that sacrifices his life for his family. Like I said I have lived a life of a fool for most of my life, I am paying for it now. I can be the very best I can be for the rest of my years and that is my plan.
Here is a letter I wrote my sons recently….
I feel this ugency to write you all and just say a few things to you. I have lived a life that has many mistakes, bad decisions, and regrets. Each choice that I made in my life has consequences, some are in the moment and some are paid further down the road in life.
Most of everything in life choices are based on personal and private struggles, thoughts and lust in our lives, inner struggles that we keep private and some are just stupid choices based on the moment. The good news is all things can be forgiven and you can move on but sometimes there are damages that will last a lifetime.
Here are some things I want to share with you all…..
- Have a man in your life that you can tell everything to, your deepest thoughts and secrets, someone that will hold you accountable for your life, actions and words. I have found through the years that there are NOT very many men who know how to do this, do whatever it takes to learn the art of accountability. This one thing can save your life, your marriage and save you from making some horrible choices in your life. This takes hard work and dedication, it takes a man that is willing to do what it takes to be all he is meant to be as a man, husband, father, grandfather, worker and friend. And be a man in another’s life…. Pour yourself into others.
- Your health. As young men we live as though we will never die and with that mindset we do not take good care of of bodies. As we grow older we loose our hair, teeth, hearing, eyesight, we gain weight and we loose muscle mass. While you are young eat clean, exercise, go to the Dr regularly and have your eyes checked, if there are problems TAKE care of them. (I am going blind at 63 years old because I did not listen to the Dr’s I thought it couldn’t happen to me) Have your exams on a regular basis, prostrate, heart, colon, blood pressure, etc.. take care of your skin, the sun will GIVE YOU CANCER and it can kill you. (I worshipped the sun for years, had to have the best tan and in reality it was all wrapped up in pride, today I have skin cancer on so many parts of my body it’s scary) this is SO important. If you lose your health you cannot work and you cannot enjoy your children and grandchildren as they deserve. Your health is as important as your spiritual, physical side of life. Even the healthiest can get sick and die but YOU can prevent so many things with care.
- Your Careers. While you are young work hard and ALWAYS have tomorrow in mind for tomorrow will come sooner than you think. Work hard, plan your path and SAVE for your future. Work hard but work smart, do not neglect your time with you wife, children and family. Work with the future in mind, save money, invest in retirement and have a solid plan. I personally have learned this the hard way. All of my life I worked like it was today and didn’t worry about tomorrow, I always figured I would find a way. Tomorrow is here for me son and I have nothing, no way to retire, my prayers are I do not get sick and become unable to work. It is a scary place to be. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE IN THIS SITUATION. I learned from my brother Cary, he finished school at night while working full time to support his family. Landed a decent job and retired from that job at age 56 – he now makes more money retired than I do working 50 hours a week. Sit down with him and pick his brain. This is very important to be able to enjoy the last chapter in your life with family.
- Your Finances. First and most important if you are a Christian TITHE!! Honor God with all that you make and watch and see what He does. IF you are not a Christian give away 10% of your income to a charity, needy families whatever. Give it AWAY!! Secondly save and invest in your retirement and future. Thirdly be generous with what you have with family, friends. NEVER LEND money, if someone ask for a loan be willing to “give” it to them with no expectations of getting it back. IF they pay you back it’s a blessing!! Put your wife and your family ahead of you when it comes to your finances, you will never be sorry for this attitude. Pay your bills on time and protect your credit. SO IMPORTANT!!! Remember you cannot take a bank account with you when you die, you cannot take houses, cars, boats, collectables, you cannot take ANYTHING with you, it will all rust and fade away over time. And lastly, take the responsibility of handling the finances in your home. Do it with honor and integrity and bless your wife and children knowing that they are secure.
- In your life lead your wife and family, be a leader in the home. Pray for your wife, your children, pray for their future, their future wives and husbands, their careers, school, future children. Guide them through life with tenderness and love. Be honest with your family in everything. Lead them into maturity with integrity, show them the way. DO NOT EVER have the attitude that your children need to experiment and will be “typical” teenagers… LOVE THEM THROUGH the teen years.
- Love Your Children with all your hearts, teach them how to walk through this life. Be gentle and be at the same time be tough. DO NOT BREAK their spirit with your anger or lashing out. Love them, teach them, walk with them, trust them. Teach them how to work, how to save, how to date, how to do LIFE!!
- Son, live your life in private the exact way you do in public, who you are in private when nobody is looking is who you are.
I think that I have the best family in the world and I have made so many mistakes over the years. How I wish I could do so many things over again. How I wish I had a father who would have taught me how to be a man, spiritual truths, how to handle money, pay bills, how to treat my children, how to have integrity. When I was a teenager I saw my father for the first time outside our home, his actions, words were totally different, it hurt but something changed in me that day…. I thought that was how it was suppose to be, live one way at home and another with the boys. WRONG!!!!! The attitude of “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is NO WAY to live a life.
Be strong in your beliefs, have integrity, be assessable to your family and friends, walk in humility in all you do. Trust the Lord your God with all your heart, make Him more important that your wife and family…. All of life will fall into place.
I love each one of you and I’m very proud of each one of you. I see the potential you all have and I’m so very proud of you. Don’t throw this letter away son, hold on to it and go back to it often.
I love you with all of my heart