Eleven years ago today, God blessed us mightily when you were born. As I’ll point out later, you are unassuming, but remarkable in so many ways. Today, I’d like to share with you 11 things I love about you, my 11-year-old son.
You are Tenacious: If you asked me to use one word to describe you, this would be it. I thought about using the term persistent, but persistent isn’t a strong enough term. Tenacious – this was the adjective to describe you when you were a baby, and it remains the same today.
Once you get something in your mind, it’s all over. I love it that you have a never-give-up attitude (even if sometimes I’d like to you give up.) Stay tenacious, Toby. Never give-up when something is hard and never give-up fighting for something that’s right.
You are a Great Brother: I’m not sure what Sammie and Trey would do without you. Yes, you rough house with Trey a little too much, and you antagonize your sister (like any good brother would) a bit too much, but you are like glue that binds our family together. You’re the one with the big ideas and you’re the one that always makes sure everyone is included.
You Get Things Done: How many 11-year-olds wake-up before the sun comes up and, without request, start studying? How many kids don’t have to be told to do their homework or to pick-up their clothes? Some days I stumble out of bed (after you) and see you at the counter taking care of business and I think, “Man I wish I had that kid’s gumption.” You can thank your mom for this quality.
You are Honest: Sadly, an all too uncommon trait among people of all ages. I was going to say, honest to a fault, but I don’t think there is such a thing.
I remember when you were in pre-school, mom would tell me stories of you running out of class at the end of the day filled with anxiety. It was clear to her you had something on your mind. Without hesitation and without coaxing, you would open-up and let mom know about the “naughty thing” you had done that day. The funny thing was, you never really did anything very naughty, but I admire that you just wanted to get it off of your chest.
In this regard, you haven’t changed since pre-school, and I hope you never change. As cliché as it might sound, honesty is always the best policy.
You are Tactical: You think a lot and carefully weigh the options and opportunities presented to you. For example, most 11-year-old boys when asked by their mom if they’d like to go to Target would immediately respond, “No thanks.” You, on the other hand, calculate the potential benefit of the trip (like an ICEE) and tactically consider your response.
You are Responsible: You take care of what needs to be taken care of and you do it well. You know what’s right and what’s wrong. And while not always easy, most of the time, you choose right over wrong.
You are Unassuming: The quintessential offensive lineman. You’re just here to do your job. You don’t want anyone to make a fuss over you, and at the end of the day, you are your biggest critic. In a world of big egos and personalities, your humble personality is a refreshing one!
P.S. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
You are Just the Right Amount of Cool: There is no doubt you are a cool kid. Not the kind of cool that’s arrogant or dismissive, but the kind of cool that makes other people feel comfortable and unthreatened.
You are Respectful: Yes sir, please, and thank you are common to your vocabulary – I like that! While you consistently get good grades, it doesn’t go unnoticed that your best, most consistent grades are for being kind and respectful.
You are Thankful: God knows we are blessed in many ways, and oftentimes even mom and I take things for granted. I don’t think you do. I don’t think you did when you were younger, and I don’t think you do today.
You are Humble: Well, at least you used to be.
I’m proud to be your dad. Much love to you on your 11th birthday.