A few weeks ago I sent you an email reflecting on Esther Perel’s TedTalk on love and desire. Esther begins by posing the question ‘what is love and how does it feel and when you desire how is it different?” She argues that we first must understand the fundamental principles that make up love and desire, which are essentially security and adventure. We seek security and familiarity in safety, while we look for novelty, surprise or separation to find adventure.
When given the opportunity to go out into the world and explore we are fulfilling a deeply rooted thirst for adventure. And if we can do this, knowing we have a place to come back to where we belong, we experience the security that we crave, ultimately satisfying our need for separation and connection at the same time. I realize that I’ve been able to experience this ultimate paradox because of your support in letting me go and your patience in my return.
I moved to New York City, like many young professions before me, to chase the American dream. I expected that the opportunities the city could provide would come with sacrifices; sacrifices in relationships with friends, family and charities. What I didn’t expect was the depth in these relationships to actually expand, as our time together was now limited and more cherished. Visits home weren’t spent making me feel guilty about my absence, but spent celebrating in my presence.
I chose to pursue my passion of starting an etiquette school because I find the principles of good manners to be essential for a happy and healthy life. They are the principles you have instilled in me, creating the foundation of love and desire that I stand on today. Just as we need security after an evening of adventure, we seek compassion and connection in a world of transgression.
This father’s day, I want to thank you for teaching me these core principles. They are values you instilled in me and that I can only hope, whether through the business or friendships, to infuse in others.
1. COMPASSION. Someone is alone for a holiday? They can spend it with our family. Mom had a stressful day at work? You have dinner and a glass of wine waiting at home. These small acts of kindness you showed us left huge impressions on me, and my innate attitude towards others.
2. GRATITUDE. Thank-you notes were a technique for teaching us recognition of what others do for us, but it is your appreciation for life itself that resonated a paradigm shift deep inside my soul. Gratitude has given me a sense of well being that has helped guide me through life and the pursuit of happiness.
3. SELF CONTROL. I wasn’t told not to drink or do drugs. Instead you taught me to respect boundaries and limitations. These lessons didn’t always come easily, but having the freedom to make the mistakes taught me more about discipline and my ability to control my emotions, behavior and desires.
4. GRIT. It’s quite comical how many times I faced rejection growing up. I will blame this on the competitive nature of attending a large public school (haha). But to you it was never a matter of winning or losing, but if I tried my best. Your belief in my ability to persevere is one of the main reasons I continue to carry on without fear or inhibition.
5. HONESTY. When I was in trouble growing up, you would call from work and say that I had one chance to tell you the truth. Truth is Dad, that sometimes I would lie. I figured that what you didn’t know wouldn’t hurt you slash get me in trouble. Compromising my integrity for the sake of redemption came with consequences far more disconcerting then two weeks of no cell phone, but part of me thinks that was the lesson all along.
We might not always agree when it comes to religion, politics or taste in movies, but your belief in these core values, has provided me with a moral compass that I’m confident will always guide me in the right direction. Thank you for your constant love and Happy Father’s Day!