Dear Zane Mali,

As you fall asleep in your bed, holding tight Nici, your favorite teddy bear, I feel compelled by an urgency to tell you everything that I have learned, every mistake I have made, and all the things I would do if I was starting over. I’m also acutely aware in this moment of how egoistic that thought is.

Instead, I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I have learned from your amazing mother and why we are both so lucky to have such a strong, intelligent, and compassionate woman in our lives. One who has navigated the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth with grace and determination that is well beyond me, while showing leadership and empathy in perfect measures to all of those around her.

As you grow into a young man you will make choices about how you treat, communicate with and, form relationships with others and I hope you can define some value from these lessons.

Let God guide you

I will not always be there for you. No one can be there for you as God. When you make this full surrender with God, it is now His job to take complete care of you in every detail of your life]0- b8u9 is not an area or detail in your life that He will not be willing to help you out with – no matter how small or trivial you think it may be.

Be humble
I used this word many many times before I truly understood it’s meaning. I have often spoken with no other purpose than to demonstrate my own importance or to highlight my achievements. The reality is that when you lead by example and through your actions without a personal agenda you will find the greatest fulfillent.

Be comfortable being you
I wish I could harness the energy I have expelled worrying about how others would view me, as I could have powered a small city. Learn to measure yourself against your own values, intellect, and people you care about most. You may not realize it, but the compromises you make to fit in will be the hardest to unwind, extending the time it will take to find comfort and confidence in yourself. One of the things that draw people to your mum is her unwavering authenticity and an unwillingness to change herself in any situation.

Save conflict for the things that matter
It would be unrealistic for me to suggest that you should avoid conflict, as it is present in almost all of our relationships at some point. While conflict is important in creating binary moments in the path to resolution, this is only true when it is the last resort. Don’t allow arguing or fighting to become a regular occurrence. These moments feel uncomfortable because they should be. Be open, honest,and willing to listen and save your outside voice and furrowed brow for the causes that are worth fighting for.

Never be cruel
You may have an image of cruelty in your mind, perhaps harming an animal or forcing someone to work in appalling conditions and it is easy to agree not to behave in that way, but cruelty takes many forms. Whenever you take an action that has the sole purpose of hurting, insulting, belittling,or suppressing, you are being cruel. These moments are the ones that weigh heaviest on us when the emotion has subsided and the implications or our actions are clear. Take these opportunities to educate and inspire and create a positive experience in a negative moment.

Be the glue
Although you did not get a chance to meet him, one of the things I admired most about your grandfather was the ability not only to unite the family but also to bring together diverse groups of people in the most natural way. He taught me that relationships are not something to be owned, but to be nourished and shared. We all have the power to be a unifying force and to help others find common interests and common ground. I have too often been a passive member of my social circle and missed the opportunity to break down the subtle barriers that we come across every day. This ability to be the glue is leadership in its most fundamental form and an enormously fulfilling trait to have.

Never lose sight of the vision

I have always struggled with this my son. I only realized how important it is to set your eyes on the goal. It will empower you and give you renewed energy to enable you to always push forward no matter what transpires around you. When you know who and where you want to be, you’re able to cope with the most difficult and painful situations. As long as you have the power of hope guiding you, as long as you are able to see the “light at the end of the tunnel”, you will always have the strength to endure whatever life brings you.

Always believe the best is yet to come!

But perhaps the most important lesson I can share with you is also the simplest. Whenever you are in doubt….

Be more like your mum

I know you will draw the same inspiration from her that I do each and every day.




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Marriage Mediation is a conflict resolution process for couples who are experiencing destructive conflicts but are committed to remaining married.