No matter how old you get, you will always be my baby. Wewe ni toto langu. And I will always be your father. I have seen a lot of things that you still don’t know about. I’m not saying I know everything – I expect you to see a lot more than me in your life, go to places I haven’t gone to, meet people I have never dreamt of meeting. But since I was here first, listen to me.
Baby, this world has lots of people. Billions of people. All of them are traveling in different directions and they may confuse you. You are only one of your kind. Walk in the direction you want, and never ever let anyone determine the way for you. Let them advise you – learn all you can from people… but baby, never follow their very steps. Not even mine. Make your own path.
Baby, let me tell you the secret to a happy life. It is accepting you for who you are and believing you are the best. Never compare yourself to anyone, never live beyond your means because of anyone. You are the most beautiful person, you are the richest, you are the coolest, you have the best parents, you are the smartest, you have the best clothes… You, baby, are the best anyone can be and don’t let people use vanity to define you. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Compete only against yourself, and that there, is the only way to be happy.
Baby, love God. I am not imposing a religion unto you, and again, you can follow your path. But I have lived and known that loving God gives you the discipline you need to live well in this world. If you love God you will never hurt anyone and you will not destroy yourself.
Baby, you are allowed to not know things. If you don’t know something, say so. Ask questions, make an effort to learn. Don’t make people, or even yourself, believe you know something you don’t. No one was ever crucified for not knowing. On the other side, I have seen a lot of people who got into trouble for promising things they can’t deliver and pretending they know things they don’t, just to be liked. Say “I don’t know” if you don’t.
Unless it is necessary, baby, don’t take debts. You can take loans to grow yourself faster than you can normally, but assess the reasons. Debts can derail your growth, debts from friends can make you look mediocre, loans that you take and fail to utilize to get better can occasion more losses to you. If you can, avoid debts. If possible, unless it is your business to give debts, don’t lend people money unless you have to. That’s how friendships perish. See, people are not as faithful with their debts as I would like you to be.
Build your way up.
Be patient, baby. Nothing great was built in one day. Everything you adore is the result of hard, consistent work. Do you want to know how all the people in prison and all the people that were shot by the police got there? You are right. They wanted to get things done in a flash. That’s why they stole, that’s why they killed, and that’s how they messed their lives. Be patient. Work hard for your money – that’s how you will know true happiness when you sleep every evening.
Try new things, explore. I promise not to show you that I’m a tiny bit scared. Deep down I might be worried or anxious or slightly terrified of what might happen if it doesn’t work out for you, but I won’t let my fears slow you down. In the same way, don’t Let fear stop you from trying anything. Take chances, go for it, trust yourself. I promise to trust you. Sawa?
If you mess up in a small way, I promise to acknowledge it, help you, then let it go. And whenever you mess up in a big way, I promise to feel the weight of it and push you to do the same. I promise to let you make those tough mistakes, to address them when I need to, and to keep on loving you all the same.
Read books, baby. Build one hell of a library, or borrow mine – you are the only person I will lend my books. I’ll help you learn to read and then I’ll share with you all the stories, true and imagined, that have made me who I am. Live a life filled with words and books and imagination and the space to be as creative as you want to be… because that’s how you learn, that’s how you grow, that’s how you see the world. Reading books is cool.
Love us, your family. I am not telling you this because I will be the recipient of this love, but know that your family has got you in ways that your job, your friends, your other mentors, can’t. Never substitute your love and time for your family for anything.
Mostly, sweet baby, I promise to show you love in all its best forms. I’ll love you and your mom and our friends and our families. I will say it with words and I’ll show it with actions; and if just one of my promises can be kept, let it be this: that you’ll feel it. A love so big that it fills you up, that it makes you feel safe. And any time you feel as if I am not doing good, talk to me. I want us to be best friends. Make me a better father, each and every day.
Welcome to my life.