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The strength to be different



Hey….how are you? How is Tuesday treating you? A big day or just another boring midweek? I guess that is for you to decide.

You’ll be surprised at how much you CAN decide.  The world is full of people who will tell you what you can’t do. Ironically they’ll also tell you what you should do. And even sometimes how to do it.  But in honesty they have no idea, they’re just scared and huddling together for the security that mediocrity and conformity brings.  Strength comes from difference.  The way you think, the way you behave, the way in which you treat people.  Always have the strength to be different…..

From the school playground to the floors of the corporate towers, you’ll find them there, you’ll feel the pressure.  And sometimes you’ll buckle.  We all do.  But if you realise that you are going with the flow, then at least you are alive and thinking and aware. And that will give you the strength to continue your journey again.  To plot your own course in life, to stay true to your instincts, to stay true to yourself.

I remember when you stopped wearing your favourite jumper, because the other kids picked on you. Because it was purple.  Do you remember the conversation we had then about the courage to be yourself?  When  you started Taekwondo when the other kids were all playing football. And they teased you.  Funny that they no longer tease a black belt….don’t you think?  And as you grow up into a strong confident young man, I see you having the courage to be yourself.  A funny, strong, handsome, clever young man with the world at his feet.

The next few years are going to bring you choices. There will be times when things don’t go your way and I won’t always be there to talk it through or to help.  You’re going to have to make those calls on your own and to take the consequences that come with your decisions.  The way that you deal with these will set you up well for the rest of your life.

Everything I see tells me you will take it all in your stride.  Every day I burst with pride. And each step of the way I will be on your side come what may.

Be strong. Be humble. Be gracious. And beyond everything else. Be yourself.

Happy birthday dude. I love you.

32 Comments leave one →
  1. 02/08/2011 09:23

    what a lucky boy to have you as his daddy :o) xx

  2. Doug Shaw permalink
    02/08/2011 09:26

    Are you my mum? The tone of this post reminds me of how lucky I was to enjoy her guidance in my formative years. It’s beautiful thanks

  3. 02/08/2011 09:39

    I’m really proud of you, which is kind of daft as we don’t know each other at all well. This is possibly one of the loveliest gifts I’ve ever seen given to someone. Beautiful. Will you frame it and put it in the downstairs loo?

  4. ailsa permalink
    02/08/2011 09:44

    Theo….that’s beautiful..what a lucky boy he is!

  5. Sukh Pabial permalink
    02/08/2011 09:44

    Have had to wait a while as this honestly put a lump in my throat and had me absolutely captured. Beautiful words Theo and I have no doubt, you see them through in person too.

  6. 02/08/2011 09:53

    Beautiful. You’ve inspired me today in many ways. Heart-felt thanks x

  7. 02/08/2011 10:28

    This is quite simply…beautiful!

  8. 02/08/2011 10:56

    Lovely post. Even though it’s meant for your little boy, I found it inspired me a great deal. Especially now at a strange confused point in my life.

    Happy birthday to your son! And cheers to the fantastic father 🙂


  9. mrairmiles permalink
    02/08/2011 11:07

    Beautiful and inspiring!

  10. 02/08/2011 11:25

    To be yourself – and to choose your direction – is my wish for everyone. How wonderful for your son to have you *really* there for him in this way. Your words are an inspiration to us all – wherever we are in life. Thank you. Gee

  11. 02/08/2011 11:53

    There is a heart beating in you, after all! Joking aside, thank you for sharing with us your tender moments with your son. He’s a very lucky young man.x

  12. Robjones_tring permalink
    02/08/2011 13:16


  13. 02/08/2011 13:26


  14. Gary Franklin permalink
    02/08/2011 13:26

    I thought I was privileged to call you Friend, how does he feel to be able to call you Dad? Wonderfully written and perfect read.

  15. 02/08/2011 13:29

    Just lovely.

  16. 02/08/2011 13:54

    Being a parent is being a member of a special club. With words like this you’re a gold card member.

  17. Corporate Daycare permalink
    02/08/2011 13:57

    You are both very lucky.

  18. onatrainagain permalink
    02/08/2011 14:04

    Theo that is a truly amazing post. Your son is lucky to have a great dad who is also true to himself. I need to just go and dab my eyes with a tissue. I am humbled.

    Happy birthday to master HRD x

  19. 02/08/2011 14:51

    That made me cry – inspiring for any parent. Hope ickle HRD has a great day and so do you.

  20. 02/08/2011 14:54

    One of your finest moments. A glimpse at the man behind the performer. Thanks for sharing.

  21. 02/08/2011 16:56


    Want you as me Dad.

  22. 02/08/2011 17:09

    Oh, and…..

    Essential reading for all you HR bigshots!

  23. The Engaging Engager permalink
    02/08/2011 19:52

    I hope you tell him this in person as well.
    Top man!

  24. david permalink
    02/08/2011 20:41

    Bravo – this is what life is actually about.

    You also remind me of Mitch Albom.

  25. 02/08/2011 22:04

    As lovely and eloquent a post as you have ever tapped out for sure – but did leave me thinking that for many parents they want for their children what perhaps they never achieved for themselves. I don’t think anyone can doubt that you, through your writing and (as perceived from the way you write) most probably overall actions too, have the strength to be different – I wonder if the underlying message here is your hope that your son can do so without the need for anonymity.

    Hope you both find the happiness you deserve from being you.

  26. Lena permalink
    02/08/2011 22:18

    You so reminded me of my dad…
    Beautiful post… My favourite so far… Thanks…

  27. 02/09/2011 06:41

    Wonderful post. The dude is so lucky to have such a thoughtful and eloquent dad. Wish him a great birthday!

  28. 02/09/2011 16:55

    Still having problems keeping a dry eye over 24 hours since I first read this post. As I tweeted you at the time, this really hit a cord with me. Well written that Man.


  29. 02/09/2011 19:38

    I think you know how this blog hit me right between the eyes.

    Can’t add anything more then what has been said above 🙂

  30. 02/14/2011 09:02

    Thank you all for your lovely feedback and comments. So that you know, my son read the post on his birthday night and then we had a little cry and a hug together. Now we’re back to grunting at one another and pillow fights 🙂


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