One night, more than 20 years ago, I was sitting at a bar with a friend, who was bemoaning the fact that he didn’t have a girlfriend. One of my favorite guys in the world. Smart. Fun. And truly decent. I remember telling him that he needed to change how he talked about himself.
“Girls don’t want to date a guy who thinks the best thing about himself is how many beers he can drink without throwing up.”
“But…” he smiled in spite of himself.
That night, I described to him how his friends saw him. “That’s what you should be saying too.”
Then last night, my fifteen-year-old had an assignment to fill a box with things that explain who he is, and I was immediately reminded of my friend.
My son filled his box with a Green Bay Packers t-shirt, a candy bar, a shoot ‘em up video game, a ski glove, and a golf ball (although he complains when we ski or golf).
And I thought, this is what you think is interesting about you?
I wish tonight’s follow-up assignment was: ask your mom to refill your box with things she thinks describes who you are. Then, let’s compare.
My box would include a hilarious joke, a souvenir from the Museum of Nature and Science, a photo with his brothers, a Lego Star Wars set, a toy tractor, a challenging math problem, a map, an Italian cookbook, and yes, his Packers t-shirt.
I might slip in a baby photo so everyone could see what a sweet, serious little man he was. Now, a 6-foot version of that, with all the cool things in this box picked up along his way.