Letter From My Son

Posted by Joao Perre on Aug 14, 2018
6236 reads  
Last week, I found myself in a different type of conversation that probably I've been waiting for many years. I somehow had been trying to hold space for it, but it had never happened before.

I'm a father of three boys, and my middle son, Santiago, is 15 years old. He's a hardcore teenager. :) He's very silent in emotional aspects, and he's very loud in others. I've been trying for a few years to hold that space that he feels the trust that he can talk about whatever he want. I understand that between 13-16 years of age, as far as I remember, there's so many things happening.

Last Friday, was my birthday. My family took me to a beach, and just before we left the house, Santiago came to my office and he brought a little envelope with him. I honestly had no idea what it was.

He said, "This is for you, but if you are opening it now, I'm not staying here. I'm leaving."

I was very surprised. What is this?

Inside the envelope was a letter and a small origami. In the letter, he told me that, during special celebrations when he was younger, he never understood why I never gave him (in his own words) expensive toys.

He wrote, "You could have given me fancy soccer shoes or some cool gimmick, something digital."

But I always gave him a letter. I always wrote him some words, thoughts and wishes.

He told me, "Look, for many years, I could not understand why you are doing that, because for me, I could not understand what you wanted to say in those letters."

A couple of weeks ago I was walking together with my kids, and during that week something happen.

He wrote, "It's really like something dropped on my head. I understood that there are things that are much more important than anything else. And now I understand why you were always taking the time to write us letters for our birthday-- because time is the most important thing we have in life. I want to apologize for the feelings I had towards those letters you've been sending me. Today, I want not to give you a present, but to write you a letter, and to tell you that I really like the fact that you take the time to make time for me."

I understood that, actually, this conversation -- because this is a conversation that has gone on for many years -- it took place in such a different way. I was really shocked. Amazingly shocked. Because this is something I've been waiting for, for such a long time. The moment I understood that actually just being there, giving space, and not pushing it actually created the conditions for Santiago to come forward to share in this way.

And the origami was a heart, his heart :)

He said, "I'm not really good at drawing, but I'm good at doing this thing. It was amazing. A “conversation” I will keep forever in my heart.

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Comments (19)

  • Yoo-Mi Lee wrote ...

    Wow! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful moment in your (parenting) life! An amazing 'long' story of holding space.

  • Pancho Ramos Stierle wrote ...

    🐚💓!  What a ONEderful way to facilitate the understanding of real wealth hermano Joao! 🙏🏾💫✨ How sweet that Santiago was able to receive the gift of your love in this way.

    It also brought to heartmind the different ways in which many people in this ecosystem celebrate their anniversaries of laps-around-the-sun, by serving others and giving their time and lives to increase a little bit the well-being of all.  And this story you are sharing is doing exactly that: filling our lives with a holistic(origami-like)smile 😃🤗 obrigado!

  • Birju Pandya wrote ...

    Just read this to my partner. We are both inspired! And also just want to honor you for the discomfort you must have been equanimous with for a long time for this to come up!

  • Stephanie Nash wrote ...

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. This is something every parent should read. 🙏

  • Susan Starkey wrote ...

    I feel so privileged to have heard you tell this story in our Laddership Circle, where it brought joy to all of our hearts as we listened to you. And now to see it in written form for all other Readers- wow, this good news ripples outward.

  • Hannah Lee wrote ...


  • Kelly Kaiser wrote ...

    My Dad always wrote things to me. Sometimes a poem, sometimes a long letter. A few times he made tapes of himself talking, and of him "interviewing" other family members & he would send them to me when I lived far away. I hold those letters & tapes close to my heart, especially now that he has lost his voice & his writing ability to Alzheimer's. I love that your gift to your children is a letter and that they "get it" as teens. Way to go, Dad!

  • Damon R wrote ...


  • Deven Shah wrote ...

    Lovely. Thank you for sharing.

  • Maria Bras wrote ...

    How beautiful, João!!

  • Aabha Gupta wrote ...

    What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing Joao!

  • K.Srinivasan wrote ...

    Nothing is everlasting in life.
    And everything is uncertain.
    This being so importance should not be given for such trivial moments in life especially with kids.
    Everything would soon pass away with time.

  • Karen Murphy wrote ...

    Beautiful Joao! Thank you for sharing. I too experienced a moment with my oldest son (named Diego Joao) a few days ago (1 week after I dropped him off at college). He left me a phone message that began with I love you and ended with I love and in the middle an expression how much he appreciated all the ways I supported him to get where he is so excited to be. Again, thank you for your share which has opened up a new flow of emotion and tears for me to experience the love and gratitude of this parenting dance. My youngest is 13, a few more years to go of holding space & loving up the hardcore teen expression. :)

  • balu khatod wrote ...

    I have great emotion with smile,exactly same incident happened I my life, love it

  • Shaji wrote ...

    A very beautiful sharing of an intimate experience. For me it is a great inspiration. I tend to look at things the you r son did, without realizing the great thoughts and emotional feelings behind each and every little thing..Thanks much.

  • fergus wrote ...

    beautiful and from the heart

  • Nishant wrote ...

    Thank you for sharing. Beautiful, inspiring and something we can all benefit from.

  • Pankaj Shah wrote ...

    Such a nice tale of experiencing fulfillment! Thank you!

  • Jagdish Dave wrote ...

    Just being ther with somone in your life opens the door to be connected. It is avery wonderful and touching story.
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Jagdish P Dave'