Browsing Tag: sean


    Happy 21st birthday, Sean McGee

    December 16, 2018

    My world changed for the better 21 years ago today. My son, Sean, was born and I got to meet the first blood relative I’d ever known. I will never forget the moment my sisters-in-law brought him out to me and I held him in my arms. (That’s the first picture below.)

    The Italian singer Andrea Bocelli has a song called “L’Incontro” that begins with Bono reciting a poem, and I will always think of that moment when I hear the words:

    While like a giant, proud and happy,
    I take my baby in my arms.
    Fragile, innocent, and alive.
    And like a little bird,
    he’s pushing against my chest,
    abandoned, quiet, and safe.

    For an instant, almost sweetly,
    my destiny appears to me like a dream
    and I see myself, old and surrendered,
    seated there near the coal fire,
    waiting for the evening
    with the anxiety of a child
    just to see him coming back home
    with the gift of his smile,
    of his words and kindness.

    It’s like a promise
    that can solve the enormous joy
    of one of his caresses.
    Then I wake up and I’ve already forgotten,
    but inside of me
    the kid’s trapped soul advises me
    that this newborn child
    is already more important to me
    than that of my of my own life.

    Happy 21st birthday, Sean McGee! I love you and am glad you’re my son!!!


    My son graduated from high school tonight

    June 3, 2016

    Sean graduated from high school tonight. I thought I’d be the one to keep things together during the ceremony — that Cari would do all the crying for us. Ha! Pretty naive on my part.

    This is my son we’re talking about. My firstborn. The first blood relative I ever met. (I’m adopted.) The person I’ve spent 18 years helping into manhood. And there he was, cap and gown on, walking into the Toyota Center to close the book on this chapter of his life.

    They did this thing where they had all the kids who’ll be going off to the various military and service academies stand up, and the whole crowd saluted them. That was pretty cool and yeah, I think I may have cried a bit.

    Then about halfway through the ceremony, I got messy when I started wishing that I could call my dad tomorrow and tell him about his grandson’s graduation. He would’ve been proud — you know, that father-to-son-to-grandson thing and all. (Cue “Circle Of Life” about now.) But I’m sure my dad was watching, anyway, and probably naively thought he’d be able to keep it together, too.

    Sean certainly didn’t make things easy on himself these four years. And so they weren’t easy on his mom and dad, either. But, as one of the valedictorians pointed out, we never grow when we’re comfortable. And so that’s what I’m most proud of. Sean fell down a few times, but he always got up. He never quit. And I think that’s a great trait that he’ll take with him. (But yo Sean, you don’t have to make things that hard on yourself in the next chapter.)

    Super proud of you, Sean McGee. Super glad you’re my son.


    18 Men & 18 Letters on an 18th Birthday

    December 16, 2015


    My son turned 18 years old today. For a boy, that’s a tangible step toward manhood — a special occasion that is worth honoring and celebrating. It should be a Big Deal.

    About a month ago, I invited 17 other men to help me make it a Big Deal. I asked them to write a note/letter to Sean and gave them some ideas to get the juices flowing:

    • What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were 18?
    • If you could go back and talk to your 18-year-old self, what would you say?
    • What advice would you give to a young man on his 18th birthday?

    I can’t claim ownership of the idea. It was mentioned by the father of a young man who was on a video that I watched a couple years ago while taking a men’s class at Bethel Church. As soon as I heard it, I knew I wanted to do it.

    So I sent out letters before Thanksgiving — yes, actual snail mail letters! — to 17 other guys, a few from the McGee/McGann family and the rest good friends. Some are friends from all the way back in college, some are much more recent friends. Some of the men know Sean, and some don’t. Likewise, Sean knows and has met some of them … and some he doesn’t know at all. Some are Christians, some aren’t. Some are conservatives, some are liberals. They ranged from 30+ years old to almost 80.

    I asked them to write as little as a paragraph or two if that’s all they had time for, or as much as several pages if they felt so inspired. Most wrote several pages. A couple also sent back gifts, which was incredibly generous. But the most important thing, in my opinion, was the time that they gave to share their wisdom and experience with the next generation.

    All 17 men accepted the invitation, and all wrote wonderful things for Sean on his 18th birthday. Below are 18 of my favorite pieces of wisdom/advice, which I’ll present in random order and without attribution, because I didn’t think to ask the men for permission to make their words public and associate their names with those words.

    1. Don’t try to emulate or become what someone else is, be the best Sean McGee you can.

    2. Don’t believe you’re entitled to anything. You must work for it. Everything.

    3. Fortune favors those who are prepared.

    4. Always remember there is RIGHT and there is WRONG.

    5. The older I get, the more I realize that The Beatles knew the secret to life: “All you need is love.”

    6. Don’t worry about your future, but do care about it.

    7. Make use of every single moment you have.

    8. Somewhere along the line I woke up one day and realized that life was a choice. A choice to be happy instead of sad, a choice to do rather than not, a choice to have deep and meaningful relationships that could uplift me rather than not.

    9. Put down your damn devices. Be with yourself. It is difficult. It is good for you.

    10. I didn’t find what I was supposed to do with my life until I was 37. You’ve got time. Try everything.

    11. When you are approaching 40 and looking back on what you’ve accomplished so far, be able to say to yourself, “I have no regrets. I’m proud of where I am and what I’ve accomplished.”

    12. With your adult life unfolding in front of you, you have the great privilege to pick a track to run on. I would encourage you to really pick a course that goes along with what makes your heart jump. If you have passion for something, you’ll fully engage in it and become great at it, and people will pay for greatness.

    13. Make good choices about what you’re going to do, of course, but pretty much say YES to opportunities to travel, learn new things by having hands-on experiences, and by helping others. Those things will shape you into a smarter, kinder and more compassionate person in the years ahead and they will help you learn to adapt to the changes in life you’ll surely experience.

    14. Make it a priority in your life to treat women as equals, not objects. Show respect by saying NO to places, products and temptations which denigrate women, which cast them as toys or servants or trophies.

    15. Reading good books is important and feeding your mind with positive thoughts will help you in your life. I am sure you have heard the saying “garbage in, garbage out.” Well, feed your mind with good things and good things will come out.

    16. Don’t take the easy way out when faced with tough decisions. The hard way is almost always the right way.

    17. Do admit that, even though you’ve been brought up going to church, you have doubts. God made us and lived in our shoes as Jesus, and knows our difficulties and doubts. It’s no use pretending we have it all figured out.

    18. Draw outside the lines, laugh, cry, serve others, make great friendships and live the best life you can ever live.

    Gentlemen: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving your time and energy to help my son have such a memorable 18th birthday. It means the world to me.


    The Latest Reason Why My Son ROCKS

    December 14, 2011

    My son, Sean, turns 14 on Friday. (That’s him at right; he’ll probably be angry that I’m using his picture here, but at least it’s a great photo, right??!!) When we asked him to come up with a list of gift ideas a while ago, he said there wasn’t anything he really wanted this year. He had a few small things on his list, but those could also be Christmas gift possibilities.

    So Cari suggested that we could take the money we would’ve spent on gifts and instead donate it to charity.

    Sean said yes.

    How awesome is that??!!

    He decided that he wanted to donate to The ONE Campaign, but ONE isn’t a charity. It’s a lobbying organization and they don’t accept public donations.

    So the second choice, and the one we’ll be donating to in his name, is the African Well Fund. You know this group if you’re a U2 fan, but for the rest of you — the AWF is a charity started many years ago by U2 fans for the purpose of raising money to help build wells and get clean water to the neediest parts of Africa. It’s an amazing group of people doing great work, and I’m super happy that Sean chose the AWF.

    More specifically, we’ll be donating to a current project that aims to bring clean water to 30 schools in Malawi and Tanzania. It’s the first project listed on the AWF donation page. We don’t know exactly how much we’ll be donating yet, but that’s okay.

    I just think it’s really cool that a 14-year-old would eschew birthday gifts and instead give the money to those who need things more than him. And that’s the latest reason why my son rocks.


    I Feel So Old

    June 14, 2009

    Sean is done with elementary school and headed into middle school this September — 6th grade, here we come! They’re very organized in all schools these days. Both our kids came home before the school year ended and already had a list of the necessary school supplies for next year. That never happened when I was a kid.

    Another thing that never happened when I was a kid was seeing this on the school supply list:


    Yep, Sean needs a USB drive. For 6th grade.

    Please see the title of this post.


    ‘Tis the season…

    December 25, 2008

    … to shop for yourself!

    Actually, it wasn’t supposed to be that way, but I ended up buying myself a kinda-sorta Christmas present on Christmas Eve at Circuit City:

    A Kinda Christmas Gift...

    It’s like this: Sean’s computer monitor died a few days ago. So he’s been without a computer. My laptop died on Tuesday, and after spending a couple hours on the phone with Apple Tech Support, the decision was that I needed to get a new hard drive.

    So, on Christmas Eve I went to Circuit City to get myself a new hard drive. Sean asked me to look for a monitor for him, and if I found one that he could afford (he has some money saved up), to buy it and then he’d pay me back.

    Well, the hard drive was easy to find. But there were no monitors left in his price range. There was, however, this gorgeous, Samsung, 22-inch LCD monitor for $209. So I decided to get it … and if Sean wanted it, he could pay for half and the rest would count as a Christmas gift from mom and dad. Or, option 2 was that I would keep this monitor and give Sean my Sony 19-inch monitor.

    He chose option 2. So, while I went out with the plan to shop for him, I ended up getting myself a sweet, new Christmas present!

    Merry Christmas to you! I hope Santa brought you lots of goodies, and please also remember the reason for the season. Count your blessings. 🙂