Last night you slept outside in a hammock. I guessed you’d wake me sleeping inside the tent crying, but you didn’t. With the horses yesterday I thought you’d saddle up with me, but you wanted your own to ride. At the lake I couldn’t believe when you fell in love with jumping off a 20-foot cliff into the water. You are one brave kid, Andrew.

In a class they asked us to name two character traits we wanted to instill in our children. I chose curiosity and courage. It’s not that I think honesty, kindness and faith are unimportant. It’s that I believe curiosity and courage are their building blocks. These two things enable us to craft an existence that is meaningful to us and the world. Without them fear leads to lives of other people’s design.

Curiosity changes you. When you see a square inch of ground, each human, every creature as infinity, the world becomes a playground. You will never be bored. You’ll see a million ways of being. You’ll accept people as they are. You will wonder how anybody could do any different. Human cruelty will baffle you, and you’ll want to fight it.

We don’t get very long in this world. Sometimes minutes seem like days and days like years, but when you finally look back it will seem like an instant. You won’t linger on the times fear stopped you from doing what you knew you should when everyone or no one is looking. You will remember when you transcended the moment, the voices urging you to stop, and let hope drive you beyond the comfortable, safe and expected. These times of courage will transform your life into one full of possibilities and endless excitement. As you help narrate our human story along the way, the people and places you touch will change too, because courage changes the world.