Hey son, you can ask me anything

Your first train trip in a sleeper car up to Seattle.

An open letter to my son

Congratulations on making the trip from Chicago to Roseville on Amtrak with your grandma. At 15 years old you have become an important traveling companion and navigator for your grand mother. I know you feel it is both a blessing and a curse. Welcome to the real world.

As you become an adult you have to assume certain responsibilities. It feels gratifying that your elder entrusts you enough to accompany her on airplane trips, navigating freeway traffic in an unfamiliar city and letting you explore the city on your own. Of course, you have learned that you must summon the strength to be patient with her and her conservative preferences.

I’m along for the ride now

Thank you for feeling comfortable enough with me to share your frustrations with your grandma. But

Sorry to hear grandma snores, but it explains why you were so cranky when you got off the train.

please don’t stop there. I need to know that you can tell me anything or ask any question that maybe weighing on your mind. I have long ago set aside any notion that my parenting might put you on a path of my choosing. You are in full control of your destiny at this point.

When I look back at my life, I see that I have made lots of mistakes. Those mistakes, and occasional correct decisions, shouldn’t be withheld from you. You have certainly witnessed some of my more recent short comings in life. But I don’t want my challenges to be a deterrent to you from talking to me. Nothing you ask will embarrass or anger me.


You quickly grew out of wanting to wear matching shirts.

Yeah, I did that

Guess what? You are going to do dumb things, just like I did. There is nothing wrong with that. Even though I recognize you are only 15, I will not judge you like a child, but as a young adult walking through the dark forest leading to adulthood. We all had to do it.

Here’s another revelation; I understand that the way people perceive you on the outside is not how you feel on the inside all the time. When I put on my suit and tie folks see a self-assured successful person. Their image of me doesn’t change that I still have my doubts and fears dragging behind me.

Ask and I’ll answer

In high school it is particularly difficult to constantly meet the expectations that your friends place


You've been thinker since you were young, always having more questions than you were willing to ask.

on your shoulders. You have a million things going through your head. I get it. Just remember I’m not your friend, I’m more than that, I’m your dad. This dad is an open book. If there is anything I can share with you so you can avoid some of the crushing personal failures that I have had…all you need to do is ask.