When your Dad and I found out we were expecting our first and only son, we were ecstatic. Although we would have loved you equally had you been a girl, we were thrilled to learn your sisters would have a brother. I think Daddy was extra happy to not be the only man in the house anymore.
When I married your Daddy, I knew he would be a great father. It was one of the qualities I found most attractive about him. So when we found out we had a son on the way, I was so excited that you would have such a great father to teach you how to be a good man. There was not a better guy to teach you.
I never imagined you would be without a father at the age of eight. My heart breaks for you even more than it breaks for myself because you didn’t have enough years with him. There was so much more he wanted to teach you, Gman. I’m so sorry you’ve been left with me as your substitute. I promise you I will do my very best to teach you all of the things your Daddy wanted you to know.
- Your faith in God will be your most important possession
It was your Daddy’s firm belief in God that brought us together. His love for the Lord is what first attracted me to him. His faith saw our marriage through hard and stressful times. His love for Jesus made his heart tender and loving. It’s what made him brave when his illnesses stole everything else from him. It is what allowed him to shine goodness and light in the midst of a very dark situation. He put his hope in God. He trusted God’s plan for his life, even when his heart broke knowing he wouldn’t be here to see you grow up. He believed with all his heart, mind and soul that he would one day be with you again in Heaven. I know the single most important thing he would want me to teach you is to put your trust in God. This life may seem like all there is sometimes, and you will experience more of your own suffering as you grow up. It’s inevitable because this is a fallen world. But Gman, this world is not the end. We put our trust in eternal life. You will be reunited with your Daddy again one day. Until that day comes, believe in God’s purpose for your life. He has a plan for you and it’s important. Trust it.
For we live by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 | NIV |
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 NIV
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 (NIV)
- Be a gentleman
Your Dad was a gentleman and he would want you to be one too. Be helpful, polite and kind. When you go on your first date, bring her flowers and open the door for her. Shake her father’s hand and always show her respect. This isn’t always the most popular choice, it may not be what all the other boys are doing, but it is the right choice. Treat girls the way you would want your sisters and I to be treated. Being gentle is the best way to display your strength. This behavior will attract the best girls, I promise. Don’t engage in “locker room talk.” Behave in the way you would in front of your mother in every situation. There is no scenario, public or private, where demeaning another person or group of people is ok. Resist participating in any conversation where people are being disrespected. Resist being part of any behavior or talk that minimizes others. Not only resist participation, but also speak up for those who are being marginalized. This isn’t just about women either. Be the man who values all others. Be brave and defend those who need defending. This is Christ-like and who your Dad would want you to be.
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
- Be a man of your word
Telling the truth is so important. Always be a man of your word and show integrity at every turn. This is a true sign of a good man. It’s not always the easiest choice, but it is always the best choice.
19 Better the poor whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.
Proverbs 19:1 (NIV)
- Work hard & serve others
Your Daddy worked so hard for his family. He worked hard for others too. He gave his all at the office and at home. It didn’t always yield him success in the worldly sense, but I noticed and loved him even more for his efforts. He served his friends in need. He would want me to teach you the value of hard work and the importance of serving others.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV)
Life can be so hard sometimes. There will be very stressful times that will cause you to worry. Sometimes your relationships will be strained and you won’t know what to do. In times like these, your Daddy was so great at taking the lead, holding my hands and praying. I promise you, Gman, this is the perfect thing to do. It made me love him all the more. He was not afraid to surrender problems through prayer and I know he would want you to do the same. Don’t save prayer for the tough times, either. Talk to God in the good times, too. He deserves your praise and thanks in ALL times. Trust in Him.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 | NIV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12 ESV
- Know you are forgiven
Your Daddy wasn’t perfect. He did not expect you to be either. You are going to make bad choices sometimes. Be the first to apologize and ask forgiveness. And know, Gman, please know, you are forgiven. Your Dad loved everything about you. He was proud of you when you were at your best and he loved you when you weren’t. He would forgive you. Your God forgives you. Don’t beat yourself up when you fall short. We all fall short, including your Dad. He would want you to do your best to make better choices next time though. He would really want you to know you are forgiven.
28 This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;
Daniel 9:9 (NIV)
- Honor your mother
It is sure to be difficult having only one parent. There’s no one here to be the “good cop” when I cause you frustration or anger. I know there will be times when you are so aggravated with me. I expect these moments will make you miss your Dad even more. During these times, I think your Dad would want to remind you to show respect towards me. We won’t always agree, but please understand that I have your best interest in mind – always. Discipline means to teach. It may feel like it means “control me and make my life miserable” but I assure you, I’m only trying to teach you. I love you.
6 1-3 Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, “so you will live well and have a long life.”
Ephesians 6:2-3 (MSG)
- It’s ok to cry sometimes
The world will tell you that real men don’t cry. This is not true. Even Jesus wept. It is ok to cry when you’re happy and when you’re sad. This doesn’t make you weak. It makes you wonderful. To be honest, your Dad cried more often than I do. We laughed about that, but I sure loved him for that tender heart of his. If you feel like crying, do it.
35 Jesus wept.
John 11:35 (NIV)
- Follow your own dreams
Maybe you’ll be good at science or computers or music like your Dad, maybe you won’t. I don’t know what you’ll be when you grow up, but this I know for sure – Daddy would want you to follow your own dreams. You don’t need to be exactly like Dad to be awesome. Dad would want you to pursue your own gifts and talents and chase your very own dreams. He will be in your heart, cheering you on all the days of your life, Gman.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (NIV)
1 Peter 4:10
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
There are so many more, less important things I know Dad wanted to teach you. I know he looked forward to teaching you how to shave, tie a tie, learn the rules of football, how to play a guitar, mow the lawn, how to drive, and so much more. I know it isn’t fair that he can’t be the one to instruct you. I know he would’ve probably done a better job of it than me. But I’ll do my best to pinch hit, even though it won’t be the same. We will have to rely on family, friends and YouTube for some of these important but lesser things.
I need you to know how much your Daddy loved you, Gman. Being a Dad was his absolute favorite thing in life. You brought him joy just by being you. You will see him again one day, sweet boy. Until that day comes, I’ll do my best to teach you the things he wanted you to know. I’ll love you double. We’re both going to need extra grace, but we’ll be ok. We will trust in God’s promises and plans. I love you!