A Letter To My Children…
“Instruction is good for a child; but example is worth more.”
― Alexandre Dumas
Dear Braden and Julia,
I hope that my actions and words continue to guide and influence you long after my voice goes silent. I think my own life has represented equal part success and solid moral convictions coupled with a multitude of severe shortcomings, bad decisions, and questionable behavior. Taken in sum-I hope I’ve provided you with an enlightening measure of what you can be, ought to be, and, perhaps–shouldn’t be. Life is a great mentor but often a very harsh teacher. These are a few of the guiding principles that will not only serve your life’s purpose—but will also help you navigate and survive during times of trouble and turmoil.
Hugely important—life owes you nothing and won’t give you anything you haven’t earned. Anything you want to accomplish, acquire, or experience is available to you with enough hard work, dedication, and commitment. The ultimate outcome of your lives will be equal to the sum total of the choices you make. Life is the ultimate poker game and how you play the hand you’re dealt will determine your success—not what cards you hold. (Or don’t hold)
There is nothing more important than family. Nothing. The love, warmth, and support of your family will be your lifelong safety-net. Family is such a unique gift that needs to be appreciated and treasured. The value of your clan cannot be overstated-because at the end, they will love and support you unconditionally. The bonds of family that link us are not just of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.
There comes a time in every life when we will come face to face with all manner of despair, depression, and hopelessness. Darkness will be an unwanted but constant companion and sunlight may be scarce. I can tell you from personal experience that it is precisely at this moment when surrender will become your greatest strength. With all my heart, I believe in the power of God and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Be prepared at moments like this not to fear surrender, but to welcome it and embrace it as the source of true and magnificent power. True peace comes from knowing that God is in control. Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be. –Sonia Ricotti
Health & Fitness
Life is better when you’re healthy. Period. In this area, my own life is and has been a challenging paradox. On one hand, I was blessed with a tremendous physicality and athleticism. The gym has been my lifelong companion and the pursuit of fitness-a constant endeavor. That said, I have also engaged in many crippling dissipations that were very detrimental to my health and fitness pursuits. As I stated earlier, our lives are mostly a sum-total of our choices. Sometimes success isn’t always measured by what we seek, but often by what we’re willing to relinquish, grow out of, or conquer within ourselves. Fitness is a crucial component of happiness and success. Respect your body and pursue health and you will be rewarded in more ways than you can count.
I can’t imagine a life without dreams. Not just “pie-in-the-sky” fantasies, but visions of where you’d like your lives to take you. Things you’ll do. Places you’ll see. People you’ll meet. Mountains you’ll climb and challenges that you will meet and overcome. Cinderella once said in the famous Walt Disney movie, “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” Never settle for less. Never dismiss your potential. Never deny your passions nor ignore your heart. You were built for this race. You were designed for this adventure. You were meant to live exceptional lives. So close your eyes–and imagine……
I’m sure if you asked twenty people for their living principles—you’d get as many answers as people you asked. I’ve lived a good life and I’ve pushed a lot of boundaries and I’ve broken a lot of rules. (Even followed a few along the way.) To me, the five above define my own guiding principles and have served me well throughout my life. I still believe with all my heart that despite having lived a terrific and eventful life—my best days are still ahead of me. I look forward to sharing some of the road with you two as we continue seeking out great adventures and new mountains to climb…
“My mission in life is not merely to survive,
but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion,
some humor, and some style.” —Maya Angelou