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Avery,

I can’t in good conscious believe that you will achieve anything more than the standards of my own living, just because I tell you to do so. I dream that you will choose to spend your evenings engaging in a variety of intellectual challenges, alongside an age appropriate context of responsibilities. My strategy of providing this path, is best described by a rule I learned from the craft of screenwriting, “Show, don’t tell”. Avery, if you were alive right now, all I could possibly show you lately, is an unhealthy addiction to video-games, porn, Facebook debating and the Netflix instant queue. It would be an easy path of ignorance to sit on my couch of lethargic shame and believe that I will magically break all of these habits the day you are born. I owe you more than that, and I will set a higher standard for this family to live by, starting right now.

Rather than specifically focusing on one goal, I could be a much better parent if I simply generalize my self-improvement, in an effort to be an all-around better person. That is what I want for you Avery, O let thy be the light.

Dad’s manifesto of change:

Seven days a week, I will spend a minimum of thirty-minutes on each of these things:.

  • Chores

Dishes, Laundry and the litter-box

  • Exercise

Weights, Yoga, and Running

  • Creativity

Writing, Editing, Photography

  • Reading

Fiction, Non-Fiction, Science, Philosophy, Journalism, self-help, and Barley Legal

Accountability:
Good intentions are routinely lost in the fray of repetition and exhaustion. I need a hook, that keeps me dedicated to this mission statement. That hook is this blog and it’s regular readers. I will live tweet these daily goals @Lessonsforavery and I will add a recent tweets gadget to the side bar of this blog. So everybody and anybody, will be able to see my progress, and if I’m slacking, they are encouraged to tweet @Lesssonsforavery and provide me a social media kick in the ass, if they wish to.

Follow me!

This is what it’s like to be an adult Avery, struggling to micro-manage these fleeting attempts to convince ourselves that we have control of something. We shall all fail at some point, even so, our ultimate goal is to simply never give up, in-spite of all the fore-shadowing of our eventual demise. Life must be treated as an opportunity, to be something more than those before us. Procrastination is the poison, that blinds us from death, by creating the fear of life. Now or never, count me in; be prepared Avery, because your next.

Below, are some pictures from my less-than-recent accomplishments, hopefully these shall serve as motivation, to be a better person.

First two pictures are from a 10K foot-race I participated in 2008. Finished in 1:01:33

These are from the top of a mountain I free-climbed in the Appalachians.
And Finally, these are from another hiking trip. Diane and I completed this treacherous 9-mile long day-hike through thick swampy forests, across cable bridges, and around the largest water-fall in South Carolina.
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Hi Avery,

I’m at a pivotal time of my life right now, and in fact, I may be having a crisis of faith. I call myself an artist, and for me, art is like a church. It is my personal respite from all the ambiguity that haunts my future. The crisis of faith that I need to speak of, is how much the arrogance of hate and judgement, threatens my ambitions.

It bothers me, and I’m sick and tired of being ashamed of this fact. How could it not bother me, when I care about something so deeply, and all I want to do is share it with the world. That is the arrogant part, when we assume that one persons contributions are more valuable than others.

I know this so well, because I too have been a contributor of hate and judgement. Its the disease of the consumer, if you paid for it, you have the right to hate it, but now I pay for these acts with my own pride, and it haunts my every action and this payment makes it easier to just give up on being an artist. With every act of procrastination, I carve out my eventual escape plan from my own ambitions. I need to eradicate this fear, because it stands for everything that poisons a genuine act of creation.

Easier said, than done.

The reason this is important to you Avery, is that creating, caring, and protecting you, is art. I’m the co-director of your future, and the decisions I make with the canvas and craft of parenting, will be scrutinized, dismissed and judged as much, if not more than anything else I will love in my lifetime.

For instance, my favorite film of 2011 was created by a man who avoids the public at all cost. His film is nominated for picture of the year, best directing, and best cinematography, yet he will not even show up to the award ceremony, nor will you find a single interview with him about the nominations or any of his work. His film “The Tree of Life”, is a very personal, bold, and original attempt to create art from life, and no matter what you think about this film, you simply, can’t take that away from the creator. At this very moment, somebody, somewhere, is calling this movie “The biggest piece of garbage ever made”. I don’t really care why someone does or does not like something, I wonder what did this artist do wrong besides honor his own vision? If that is why he is being hated, than nobody should be surprised that he hides from pop-culture. If you feel the need to publicly hate this movie, ask yourself, “What does Terrence Malick owe you?”. The answer to that question is nothing, you paid to see an artist be creative, honest and ambitious, whether or not it works for you, shouldn’t be a reason to detest such a genuine effort of love.
As a creator, you have the responsibility to be honest with yourself, work hard, and find your own path. I’m still not there Avery, I’m still afraid to do this, and I still feel trapped in a cycle of insecurity and self-pity.

It is time I face this fear head on, and find my own way. I owe that to you, because nobody in the world should have the power to make me question your beauty.

So far, this has been all talk, so I want to prove that I’m not afraid to fail. Tonight, I’m going to shoot a short film, and I will release it for the world to see. I will try to not care about what people think about it, because it is not for them, it is for us.

Hey Avery,

I been thinking about you lately.

I think my blog has neglected a voice that you will naturally grow to love. You will come to know her as Mom. I remember when I met her, I firmly believed I wouldn’t ever have a child. I even hypothesized my own vasectomy and a future of being the guy who turns to his pets and calls them family. I know, it was a hard sell, and I often wondered if your Mother would be another girl I push away or get pushed away from. I was an idealist, and I think that my social rebellion was most of my appeal. Aesthetically I’m harmless, I never dress flashy, I have no tattoos, and I can socially present myself in a friendly way, but beneath that average guy routine, was a proudly conflicted person who marveled in his rejection of family convention. Some of it is my dedication to an idea of youthful arrogance, and some of it was the emotional baggage of growing up in a broken home.

Avery, let me set the record straight, I ended that paragraph sounding like a victim; let me clarify, I was not a victim. I was loved, cared for, and I had plenty of fun-filled adventures. So when I speak of things that weren’t pretty, I prefer to think of them as my rite-of-passage into being an adult. This way I can focus on building a future that has a better version of me in it. Together, your Mother and I plan to grow in new directions and finally leave our childhood behind us. We may have been dragging our feet until now, but have no fear, you are already the center of everything we do.

What I have learned over time is that the compromises we make as adults, become necessities of personal growth. I can at least proudly say that I have made my own path, and I’m finally ready to share it with you.

I will admit, it saddens me to see my youth in the rear-view mirror, thankfully I can look forward to witnessing your own.

Love,
Dad

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