Dear sons, one of my hopes for you is that you learn to be self-sufficient. There’s a freedom to knowing how to do things for yourself that’s invaluable. Not needing someone else to wash and iron your clothes or tend your yard or patch your roof or cook your meals allows you to stand on your own and not be dependent on anyone. I hope you learn all of the essential skills and grow into the kinds of men who don’t need a woman to survive and who don’t have to call a contractor every time a faucet starts dripping. You will be much happier men if you develop these skills.
I’m fortunate that your great-grandfather and papaw taught me how to do the basics of most things. I’m fortunate that I learned to cook and do laundry while in college. There aren’t many things I can’t do for myself, and I feel confident that even if I don’t know how to do something, I can figure it out with a little trial and error. Part of learning self-sufficiency is not fearing making mistakes. We learn the most when we try something, fail, and then try again. If you want to grow into strong, independent men, set aside the fear of failure and try to do things for yourselves.
Even though this hasn’t worked out for me yet, I also believe that having self-sufficiency will make you a better partner for whomever you end up with. When you can help out with the dishes as well as mow the yard, you can share more of the daily chores that make life a grind. Sharing the load goes a long way to reducing stress in a relationship and makes you more equal as partners. Also, if you can do for yourself, you are less likely to end up trapped in a bad situation because you have the confidence that you can survive on your own.
So sons, learn as many skills as you can. As you grow, I’ll try to teach you some of what I’ve learned, but the most important skill I hope you cultivate is to teach yourself how to learn new things. If you can do this, you’ll learn independence, and with independence comes freedom. One of my great hopes for both of you is that you never feel dependent on anyone for anything. I love you, boys, and can’t wait to see you in a couple of months.