I wrote the following to my three children nearly 10 years ago. Our first was about to leave the nest, our second would be heading off to College and our third would be entering High School.

Today our Granddaughter took that first big step onto the school bus and our Grandson will soon take those first steps in life.  I have to say as I am about to turn 54 I can’t believe how fast life goes by and what a joy it is to watch your children and grandchildren grow.




To Katie, Jared and Emily


          In the past I have always tried to make sure each of you got something special under the tree from dad.  Lets face it mom does just about all of the Christmas shopping and I always felt it was important to find something special for each of you as I shopped for something special for her.


This year I would like to add to your gift by trying to give you one important thing I have learned in my forty-two plus years.


“It is the first steps we take in life that take the most courage.  Success directly depends on you having the courage to take them.”


This seems like a simple statement and an easy formula until you have to take that first step and it seems so huge.  After all there is risk involved, you might stagger, be beaten, or fail.  Your pride and character are at risk, not succeeding at whatever this step in life is would embarrassing  after all.


When you feel the pressure prior to taking any first step in life I want you to think back; the most difficult steps you have ever taken were your first, you couldn’t talk yet so you had no understanding of pressure of not succeeding.  The risk of failure (falling down) was much higher than most other steps we take in life and in fact with our first steps we do fail over and over again.  But, you each got up and tried over and over again. Each time with a smile that may have erased a tear stained cheek.  Do you remember how big these steps were?  Do you remember being scared?


Look back to another big step we all take in life, your first day of going to school.  While you may not remember this step either it was a big one.  Watch a five-year old child some time stretch their small legs so high to reach that first step on the bus.  It’s huge!  I’m sure you don’t remember how big a step it was and in fact is.  Mom and I worried for each of you knowing a small child would make that fist step on the bus in a short time a teenager would step off. Looking back it seems so insignificant, yet I know the step took both trust and courage.


It has been three full years since you mom and I took what seemed like a huge step.  Me leaving Kodak to start my business, at the time it seemed to be such a huge risk.  We spent several nights talking about it weighing the risks, the pro’s and the con’s.  I now look back now and it seems so small, like the choice was obvious. What once scared me now seems like a natural change of direction.  The point I’m trying to make is, when faced with a challenge put you fears aside for a moment and look at the benefits that could come with making this decision.  Should the benefits outweigh your fears move forward with confidence and enjoy looking back.


Merry Christmas


Love, Dad


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