Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A letter to my son on his 1st birthday

Dear Wesley,

As I write this you are sitting on the floor playing with toys. I love to watch you as you live your life -- carefree, with curiosity and a just a tad bit orneriness. Your mother and I really had no clue and were a tad bit overconfident when it came to adding a second child to the mix, but despite the sleepless nights and the fact that you eat like a horse - we still wouldn't change a thing.
 
I love getting to have a front-row seat to watch you grow - physically and spiritually - into the man God's creating you to be. As your father my prayer will always be that I can prepare you for life - not just an ordinary life, but a fulfilled life. If you ever need a reminder you can always come back here and read it:

LEARN TO BE GENEROUS
Give away as much as you can. Don't put too much significance on anything materially - whether it's your favorite toy, the promotion you hope to get someday or your dream house - life's too short and you can't take things with you after you leave this place. Seeing the smiles on the faces as you share with others the blessings that God has given you is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things you can do as a man.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO CRY
Despite what society and culture will try to convince you - it's okay to cry. Having feelings and emotions shows the compassion and sensitivity that makes a man truly strong. It doesn't matter if it's when you stub your toe in the middle of the night or at the beginning of the movie UP. Real men cry.

STANDUP FOR YOURSELF
There's going to be more times in your life where people will walk all over you and make you feel unimportant, but be brave enough to standup for yourself when you need to. Choose your battles wisely because some battles aren't worth fighting. Some people seem to be always looking to bring someone down.

HAVE YOUR PRIORITIES IN ORDER
Your relationship with God and your family are the most important things in life. I know there will be times where outside influences (school, work, friends, sports...) will seem more important, but they're not. If you are having trouble determining what your priorities are just look at where you spend your time. Where you spend the bulk of your time is what you are making a priority.

NEVER STOP LEARNING
Do yourself a favor and never stop learning. Don't be ignorant and think that you can't learn something from someone. Everybody has something that they can teach you. Be open and patient enough to figure out what it is. Develop a love for reading and challenge yourself to read a book for the simple fact of learning about something new.

DON'T STOP DREAMING
When I was a kid I always had the dream to be an astronaut or a cop - neither of which have happened yet. Don't be afraid to set big goals that seem impossible and continually strive for them. God does things that seem impossible through people that are open to dreaming. Don't let the opinion or influence of others hold you back from dreaming big.

BE ANONYMOUS
There will be plenty of times in your life that your name will be in the paper or on TV, but don't be afraid to remain anonymous in situations. When you see a person in need or a situation where you can help - do the right thing and help, but don't do it for the attention or recognition. Be content with knowing that your actions made a person smile.

LOVE OTHERS
Show love to others in the same way that God has shown love to us - unconditionally. God's blessed you in more ways than you can ever imagine and he did it just because. Love people for who they are and not because you can gain anything from the friendship. Show love to the people who don't get shown it enough - the needy, the loner kid at school or the struggling family you know from work. Don't ever underestimate the power of a smile.

I love you more than you can ever imagine Wesley. Having you and your sister in my life makes me want to be a better man, husband, father and friend. Your smile and laughter are contagious and can turn around anyone's day who is having a rough time.

I love you little man,

-Dad

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