Today my son turned 10. This year, I got him tools. He got real grown up person tools.  He got a 16 ounce hammer, a couple screwdrivers, pliers, the whole thing.  He even got a bag to carry them in.  It’s what he asked me to get him and I did, but I couldn’t help but think that they were really just a symbol for what I really want him to have.

I bought him “tools” but really what I want to give to my son, I hope I’m giving him every day.  I want to give him real life tools that will make not just jobs and projects easier but his life as a whole.

So if I could put together a toolbox for my son filled with things I think he’ll need, where should I start?

First I would give him confidence.  Although I know he will, I don’t want him to ever second guess himself.  Know that when you set out to do something, you’ll be able to do a good job and give it your best.

I would give him patience.  It’s something many of us lack.  The presence of mind to sit back and let things play out then react accordingly.

I would give him intelligence and common sense.  He’s actually already got this.  He got it from his mom, but he’s a smart little guy.  He loves a challenge and the opportunity to figure out a solution.

I would give him kindness.  Just because the world needs more.

I would give him thick skin for all the people who lack that kindness.

I would give him courage.  I'm not talking about the fairy tale knight in shining armor courage.  I'm talking about the courage to stand up for what's right and not worry about how the world will treat him afterwards.  The courage to stand up for others when they have lost the ability to do it for themselves.

I would give him a sense of humor.  Life is hard.  You have to be able to laugh.  It's good to learn this one early.  But at the same time, it's good to know not to laugh at another person's expense.

I would give him discipline.  Throwing in the towel is a term that should only be used in boxing.  In life, you need discipline to succeed.  In your professional life and your relationships, you have to be dedicated.  Going with the flow will only get you wherever the rest of the crowd is going.  Be disciplined to make your own path and go where you intend to be.

These are all things that can be learned over time.  They are some of the most admired of all human characteristics in my opinion.  I hope my son is able to acquire them too.  I hope one day, he can look back and say, "That's something I got from my dad."

I hope to one day give him all of these tools.