In twenty-seven years as father and son, we certainly have had our ups and downs! But I want you to know that I am truly grateful for every single moment. You are my greatest teacher and my greatest friend.
I have read many books that say when we are born into these human bodies that we choose our families. I have only recently been able to accept this to be true. In fact, when I was young it was quite the opposite. The theme of my childhood was that nobody understood me—especially you. How could someone who was so different from me be responsible for raising me, teaching me, and supporting me? You were a “my way or the highway” type of father, and I was a “free-spirited child,” so we didn’t really have the formula for a loving and supportive relationship. Although most of my childhood we did not see eye to eye, there was not a single moment that I stopped loving you and looking up to you. And many times all I wanted was to feel that love back.
As I got older I even began to absorb some of your character traits and emulate some of your actions, and almost unconsciously I began living my life by the very same limiting beliefs that you were living yours by at the time. Some of the ones that I took to heart were: you have to work hard to get ahead, money doesn’t grow on trees, nothing good in life comes easy, nothing good ever lasts, you have to be smart to be successful, good grades = success and success = happiness, and the list unfortunately went on and on.
But when I reached the age of nineteen, something magical happened, something that completely changed our relationship for the better. I was going through the toughest time of my life and had nowhere or nobody to turn to. I asked the universe for help and guidance and somehow you answered my prayer. You showed me that by changing your own life, you can create the space for others to do the same. As I started to see you transform from an emotionless, robotic, workaholic, money driven, and controlling dad to a sensitive, expressive, caring, supportive, empowering and love-inspired dad—everything began to change. I remember the first moment it all clicked for me. I came home for the holidays that year and you greeted me with a warm and loving embrace. It was the first time that I felt genuine and unconditional love from you!
After years of being an absentee father, you showed up when it mattered most and in ways that I never thought were even possible. You showed me that if you could change at fifty, I could certainly change at nineteen. As we began developing a relationship with one other I was blown away to see how real and genuine you had become.
You inspired me, Dad—more than anyone or anything. If it wasn’t for your courage and dedication to your own self-growth, I would have continued along on my path of depression, sickness, and self-sabotage. If you had not discovered your new life purpose—to inspire and awaken others to step into their own authentic self, at any age—right at the time that I was ready for help, I would not be where I am today. When you decided to become a life coach, and began empowering me instead of controlling me, supporting me instead of questioning me, and loving me no matter what the outcome, it gave me the courage to change my life too; and I have never looked back since.
The past seven and a half years we have certainly made up for lost time. You have become the father I always wanted and then some. Life granted us the rare and unique opportunity to have a do-over in our relationship. And it certainly has been the greatest gift I could have ever received!
With your guidance I was able to shed the limiting beliefs that you passed on to me as a child and replaced them with more authentic and supportive ones that have since allowed me to achieve my dreams and fulfill my heart’s desires. You taught me how to forgive you and others, and most importantly how to forgive myself. You showed me that life is a beautiful journey, and as we let go of the past, embrace the unknown, and trust that everything works out in our highest good—every moment truly becomes another adventure and a beautiful gift.
With your guidance, love, unwavering support, unconditional encouragement, and willingness to ALWAYS show up when I need you, I have become the man that I am today. Because of you, Dad, I have dedicated my life to helping young people so they can have access to the support, guidance, and empowering strategies that you provided for me at a young age.
It has been such a joy watching how our relationship has evolved over the past couple of years. We have shifted from you being the coach and me being the student to becoming co-teachers, co-authors, and most importantly best friends. I feel like no matter what happens in my life, through the highs and the lows, and the sorrows and the bliss, I can always rely on you for love and understanding. Thank you, Dad, for being my roots, as with you in my corner, I feel like I can grow and soar beyond measure; I feel like ANYTHING is truly possible!
From the bottom of my heart and from the depths of my soul, THANK YOU for being you, and THANK YOU for choosing to be my Dad in this life!
Happy Father’s Day!
Michael Eisen is an inspirational speaker, author and the founder of the Youth Wellness Network, an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. After positively transforming his own life at the age of 19, he is now on a life long crusade to share with other young people the principles, strategies, and practices that gave him the strength to start living a more joyful and healthier life. Michael’s first book, Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living, co-authored with his father Jeffrey Eisen, will be released fall of 2012 with Hay House. If you are looking for some summer inspiration, Michael will be running a 4-week program in July on Living The Empowered YOU. To learn more about Michael and the Youth Wellness Network, visit www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca.