Sunday, February 14, 2010


Dear Spike:

Every year on Valentine's Day, I count myself among the luckiest schmucks in the world.

Take today, for instance: While other people were running around buying candy, picking up flowers, making dinner reservations and selecting risqué gifts for their significant other, I was spending the day snowboarding.

You see, your mother spent several years working at a Hallmark gift shop. After that, she's sort of lost her taste for Valentine's Day. So I help her celebrate, each year, by doing the least romantic things possible. For instance, today I took our only car and left her to care for you all by herself a while I sought to feed my adrenaline addiction in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Wasn't that sweet of me?

Truth is, though, that I'm not an unromantic guy. I just choose to perform gratuitous acts of affection on days in which I have not been told to perform gratuitous acts of affection. After all, flowers aren't really all that romantic if it takes the annual celebration of the death of a mythical martyr to remind you to buy them. Follow me?

So I say to you, my child: Do not settle for false romance. When it comes time for you to fall in love, make sure you respect that love with kindness, selflessness and generosity on every day of the year.

And if you have to let your outward affection lapse for just one day, Feb. 14 ain't a bad date on the calendar to do just that.


Thursday, February 11, 2010


Dear Spike:

You could have screamed, cried, hit, kicked, bitten or thrown a tantrum.

Any of those responses would have been a common way for a two-year-old girl to react when a friend takes away the toy with which she was playing.

But none of those responses would have been appropriate. Not even for a two year old.

And somehow you knew this.

Thus, you turned to your friend and said, quite simply:

"It made me sad when you took away the toy I was playing with."

You make me so proud.

Someday you're going to learn that most people would much rather scream, cry, hit, kick, bite or throw a tantrum than discuss a dispute with the sort of grace you showed today. And someday you're going to learn that not everyone will respond as well to this level of maturity as your friend Savannah, who briefly considered your words and promptly returned the toy.

No, they'll respond as a two year old might.

They'll shush you. Insult you. Humiliate you. They'll tell you you're not worthy to speak — not even on your own behalf.

You may consider this alongside all the other pieces of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do advice I have offered to you, for I have not always responded well to such affronts. Not at all.

But you can. For you are smarter, braver and stronger than I ever was or could ever hope to be.

So hold your head high and wear a thick skin. Meet ignorance with intelligence. Meet anger with grace.

And when you are presented the opportunity to take the high road, seek an even higher road.

It will be the road less traveled, to be certain. It will be steep, narrow and in all other ways difficult to traverse. But if you convince yourself that it is the only road worth taking, it will be.

And the view will be beautiful.