Letters To Boys

Jonathan Muroya for Fatherly

Manhood is an uncomfortable, unwieldy mantle for boys first trying it on. This has always been true, but never more so than now. Boys coming of age in an era defined by a rethinking, if not rewriting, of masculine norms can’t be expected to know how to wear their kindness and love, much less their aggression and wildness. With our “Letters to Boys” project, Fatherly offers boys (and the men raising them) guidance in the form of heartfelt advice given generously by great men. This is by no means a definitive guide to the issues boys face, but the letters tackle self-worth, the internet, civic duty, aggression, groupthink, bullying, and masculinity. More importantly, the men behind these letters show us how to take that crucial first step in confronting seemingly unsolvable issues — by offering honest words.

Life

Mike Sager on Fatherhood, “An Incurable Disease of the Heart”

ByMike Sager

Like life itself, parenting has its stages, and at some point, it's time for your kid to make their own mistakes.

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Matthias Giraud: A Letter to My Son About Facing Fear, Embracing Risk, and Finding Fulfillment

ByMatthias Giraud

Fleeing from negative emotions is an act of cowardice that can haunt you for your life. Embracing your fears is not just an act of courage, but the only way to find yourself.

Life
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Ryan Hillsberg: A Letter to My Son About Staying Out of Danger

ByRyan Hillsberg

In the CIA, where Ryan Hillsberg worked for more than a decade, they call it "getting off the X." There's no better skill for a dad to impart.

Life
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Dulé Hill: A Letter to My Son About Carrying Lightness Through Life

ByDulé Hill

A two year old is full of joy, love, and lightness. He will need to work to hold onto that. But it's a worthy effort — the only one that truly matters.

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Saladin Patterson: A Letter to My Son About Leaning Into Your Truth

BySaladin Patterson

In baseball, greatness is not all about swing path or launch angle. These are parts of the game, but they are not how a player reaches their potential. For that, they must dig deeper.

Life
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Joshua David Stein: A Letter to My Sons About Hanging Onto Their Wonder

ByJoshua David Stein

Wonder comes from openness, not from cramming oneself full. And it is as easily lost as it is found.

Life
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Coss Marte: A Letter to My Son About How Very Far the Wrong Path Can Take You

ByCoss Marte

When you pursue something at all costs, you are letting yourself get swept up in something bigger than you, something that can imprison your body and soul.

Life

Dr. Jonathan W. Gray: A Letter to My Son About Our Legacy, and Ourselves

ByDr. Jonathan W. Gray

What is legacy? Is it the lessons one generation teaches the next? Or something altogether grander?

Life
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Kwang Uh: A Letter to My Son About the Care That You Bring to Food, and Life

ByKwang Uh

If you devote yourself and spend your time cooking a meal, the more delicious the food is. This is truth of cook — and life.

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Roy Wood Jr.: A Letter to My Son About How to Be Funny

ByRoy Wood Jr.

Humor can defuse tensions, build lasting connections, and deliver big ideas, with a spoonful of funny. If you’re not careful, it can also be a weapon that diminishes others for personal gain.

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Carl Hoffman: A Letter to My Son About Tight-Knit Groups and Tribal Tendencies

ByCarl Hoffman

That belonging to a group can make you more powerful than going on your own is an immensely comforting concept. It's also wildly dangerous.

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Oliver Bateman: A Letter to My Nephew About Being Big, Feeling Small, and Facing the World

ByOliver Lee Bateman

It’s possible to appear so powerful that you don’t have a care or problem in the world — so powerful you become a problem in the world — without anyone ever asking you about your own cares or problems.

Parenting
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Michael Reichert: A Letter to My Grandson About Insecurity and Its Antidote, Connection

ByMichael Reichert

Insecurity is a powerful force that can trap decent boys in a prison of their own cruelty — if they don't learn to face the feeling and stand up to the pressures.

Life
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Luis Guzmán: A Letter to My Boys About Success and Humility

ByLuis Guzman

Finding success and learning humility are not journeys that usually go hand in hand. But if the goal is happiness, they must.

Parenting
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Brandon Webb: A Letter to My Son About Being Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself

ByBrandon Webb

Finding a brotherhood as powerful as the U.S. Navy SEALs may tempt you to lose yourself completely to the cause. Don’t. Keeping your identity is as important to the health of the group as it is to your well-being.

Parenting
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Terry Crews: A Letter to My Son About Competition

ByTerry Crews

Being competitive can get you far in life, driving success, fortune, and fame. It is also a toxic way of life, dehumanizing everyone around you and leaving you alone and sad.