Dear Randall

education, photography

Dear Randall,

Sometimes, a secret to life presents itself over a sticky menu at a hamburger joint.

“Do you want sweet potato fries or regular fries?” the heavily-tattooed waiter asked patiently, as my mom puzzled over her choice.

“Um… Sweet potato! No, I think I want regular… Oh, I don’t know!” she sighed in exasperation.

The waiter’s beard curled into a smile, as he said six words that have become a Jackson family motto:

“Don’t fake who you really are.”

Suddenly mom’s choice was easy. In the end, she didn’t really want fancy fries; she wanted regular, salty, delicious French fries. She realized she was tempted to order sweet potato fries because they were trendy.

Most of the time we are faced with decisions that are more complicated than what type of side to order with our hamburgers. But the wise words of our waiter still ring true. If you know who you are, you can make decisions that you are proud of and that you won’t regret.

It’s a new year. You have a blank slate and a fresh start. Beginning today, you get to decide what you will be known for.

Who are you, really?

Are you the kid who storms out of class when he doesn’t get his way? Or is that how you fake who you really are, as you try to cover the pain of burying your brother a month before his fifteenth birthday?

Will you chose to continue to act like you don’t care about failing grades and daily phone calls to mom? Or will you be the young man I’ve seen glimpses of – the brilliant, kind and courageous Randall?

I have believed in you long before you believed in you. And I’m not finished holding on to hope. On this first day back to school, I want to challenge you to be the best version of yourself.

Who will you be? What will you do? What will people remember about you?

No one can choose for you, but you are not alone. I’m here to support and encourage you into becoming the man you and I both know that you can be.

From sweet potatoes to salty French fries, whether it’s a little decision or a big one, don’t fake who you really are, and don’t forget that I believe in you.

All my love,

-Ms. Jackson

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