I have two amazing sons.
As any parent, I like to brag about my “boys” who have now become young men. And, also as any parent, I want nothing but the best for them. My wife and I long to see them fulfill whatever it is that God has planned for them, and to continue to grow into men of character.
I realized a long time ago that, while I’m not the only influence, I am the main influence that will determine what kind of men they become here on earth. That’s a scary responsibility, but also a great privilege.
As I see them getting closer and closer to heading out on their own I know that my investment in shaping them has increasingly been spent. I know that I’ll have influence for years to come, but the molding time has almost ended.
7 Things I Want My Sons To Know
1. Their relationship with Jesus is the basis for everything else in life.
I want them to know it’s just that – a real relationship. It’s a relationship where you listen, talk, cry, argue, “vent”, ask forgiveness, laugh, receive counsel…it’s real. And because of the reality of Jesus and Who He is, I also worship and know that He will “never leave me nor forsake me” (unlike some other friendships).
I hope my boys know it’s not just something that happens on Sunday, and that Jesus isn’t some Genie-In-A-Bottle. It takes time and effort to grow and nurture a relationship – everyday.
2. I love their Mom more than anyone in the world.
And that includes them! The best way to be a good Dad is to be a good husband first. The best thing I can do for them is to love their Mom. I have been a far from perfect husband, but I hope my boys see a genuine love for Michele through the good, the bad and the ugly.
3. I will always be their biggest fan and will do anything in my power to support them.
I am so proud of my sons and am genuinely a fan of each of them. And I mean a “fan” in the truest sense: fanatic! I love “cheering them on” because I truly enjoy seeing them pursue what they love.
I always will. And I will always do everything in my power to help them succeed in those ventures…or to help them get back in position to pursue those ventures.
4. We live in a profoundly broken world which sometimes makes life hard.
Let’s face it, life can be hard. Sometimes things happen which break us, or at least reshape our thinking and take some of the wind out of our sails.
That’s OK. That’s life and, if we read our Bibles, we should understand that life isn’t going to be easy.
While I want my boys to have a positive, joyful attitude, I also want them to know that life can get rough. That’s where our faith and trust in God comes into play more than any other time. It’s easy to trust when all is going well. It’s another thing when life smacks you in the face.
5. Challenges in life are never an excuse to not love God or not love others.
Our faith is “real” only to the extent that it matters when times are tough. And our love for others should not be predicated on them “playing nice” in life. Jesus said:
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
Period. End of story. No “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” about it. Whether challenges are brought on by yourself or by others, or by God not working within the scope of our own plans, it doesn’t matter.
Love God. Love others.
6. Best is . . . best!
We live in a world with so much potential and so many opportunities. Especially here in the US we could pursue new ideas every day. But there is a “best” for your life, and that means saying no to the good and even to the better.
Identify what’s best and learn to focus on that even when good and better are tugging at your tails!
7. Pursuing “best” requires determination and perseverance.
Obstacles of all kinds, financial challenges, naysayers and simple fatigue, among other things, will always be present. In our world today it’s especially easy to give up or just hop on another bandwagon when times get tough. But you will never be happier or feel more alive than when you are pursuing “best”.
So don’t give up. Persevere. Stay focused. Pursue your God-defined “best” always.
There are so many things I want my boys to know.
I want them to experience life and do bigger and better things than I could ever have imagined. Above all, though, I want them to love God deeply and intimately.
Just after Garret was born I wrote this prayer for them. It’s a prayer I’ve prayed almost every day of their lives since then. Ultimately, I guess, this is what I want them to know:
“Father, Teach Taylor and Garret to love You with a genuine and real love based on Your written Word. Teach them to trust You implicitly in all You’ve said to be true.
May their love for You and trust in You produce a life of obedience to You. May this obedience build a foundation of character and godliness that will lead them into a life of service in whatever arena You choose to place them.
May those who are close to them be faithful and diligent to model and teach these things through their own lives.