Renae and I have two sons: Jonathan (28) & Nathan (25). The oldest is a police officer (married with a son, and a daughter) and the younger is finishing college. I am fortunate to be their father. Both are on a spiritual journey, mature, and finding their own way. Here are a few things I want them to know:
1. I love you no matter what. No-matter-what.
2. It doesn’t take strength to fit in, but it does to “stand up.” Anyone can swim with the current, but a person of strength swims against the tide when it’s the right thing to do.
3. Character and integrity mean everything. It means everything. Always be a person of honor and honesty. When your integrity and character are intact, you will be fearless, confident, and not intimidated by anyone. “The righteous are bold as lion…(see Proverbs 28:1). You have been given a good name by your parents and, more importantly, by Christ. Do not take these names in vain.
4. Think about your actions and consider the impact it will have upon others.
5. God gives second chances (see Proverbs 28:13).
6. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. Undisciplined people (the crowd) chooses the easy way. I want you to do hard things.
7. Following Jesus is worth it (see Psalm 1). Really, it is. I’ve never regretted being fully devoted to Jesus Christ – the opinions of others notwithstanding.
8. Self-discipline, responsibility, and freedom go together. Your greatest freedom and self-confidence will arrive when you are self-disciplined and responsible. In other words, when you are free from sin you are free to be the “real you.”
9. Get advice from wise people – not just popular people (see Proverbs 13:20). I want you to have wise people in your lives… people that you can trust for sound advice. Of course, your parents should be the first choice, but at your age it’s time for you to (also) find others. God has people who can be very helpful to you. I know there will come a time when you will listen to someone else besides me; I just want it to be someone who is “wise.”
10. Love other people. In the very least, have respect and honor for people who look and act different; especially the challenged – those who can’t do anything for you in return. God has a special place in His heart for such people… and the ones who help them.