With another baby boy on the way, my wife and I are constantly talking about the future. As I thought more about what I want for my boys’ future, I decided to write a letter for them to read when they start dating…

Dear Noah, Lucas, and Jack,

No, I’m not going to take years to explain this story to you a in voice over, only to end with a really crappy finale. You know I’m a good story teller, so I’m going to give this to you in parts.

Your mother and I met when we both were incredibly desperate and alone. We both had recently ended our unhappy marriages and were wondering how to pick up the pieces again. There was this app, called Tinder, that people could use to meet up and have sex with each other based purely on their pictures. We didn’t use it this way because we weren’t adult children. Instead we used it as a tool to find someone that wanted a serious relationship. Guys, you may not know this, but your mom was a freaking smoke-show. Like on the scale of 1-10, mom was a 15, and in my book, she still is. Yeah, yeah…throw up time. Needless to say, when I saw your mom’s picture and swiped right on her, I never thought she’d match back with me in a million years. Your old man talks a big game, but inside I was incredible critical of myself at that time.

To my surprise, this Juliana girl matched with me and I decided to send her a witty message – “You look pretty small for being the biggest nerd.” Your dad struck out…no response. I knew it was a stupid line, but all the things I googled said that your first line has to stand out! I was determined to not go down without a fight. I figured a little humor with a touch of pity would get the job done. So I sent my second message, “Oh well, I tried.” Your mom fired back right away with, “Hahaha, your second line was much better than the first. It made me laugh:)” The rest is history boys, and I knew I had a shot at that point.

The lesson here is to always try again. If a girl shoots you down, try again and get more creative. If it doesn’t work a second time, just move on because it didn’t work and that’s ok. Don’t try to be something you’re no and don’t place your value in the opinions of other people. When I sent that first line, it took me half an hour to come up with the right phrasing only to have it be completely ignored. When I threw my hands up in the air and just decided to be myself, it worked. Get used to getting rejected not only by girls, but by everyone. You’re not special and no one owes you anything. This isn’t a sad thing, it’s a reality and it’s freeing. Just be who you are and view the opinions of others, especially the negative ones, as an opportunity to be curious about their lives and struggles so you can help them.

There is no such thing as a “real man”, boys. My daddy can’t walk and he’s as much of a man as any player in the NFL because he loves people and he treats them with respect. You can be big and physically strong, but if you’re a self-absorbed jackass, your life will be filled with emptiness. If there’s a lady you are interested in, just be kind to her and ask her a lot of questions to get to know her. Don’t ever force her to talk about or do anything she doesn’t want to do. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be an asshole to get a girl to like you. Being kind and genuinely curious is way more important than putting on a front. Just ask mom.

I will keep writing this letter until I feel like I’ve said what I need to say to my boys, and by extension, to you! Thanks for tuning into part 1.

Stay tuned. I’m not done yet…