a letter to my sons

Dear Sons,

Oh, how I love and respect you. What an incredible privilege it is to be your parent. You are older now — on your own in many ways. I wanted to take a few moments to briefly revisit some important things your father and I have long attempted to instill in you. Granted, you are fairly independent now… it’s up to you…

Seek God first.

There is so much available to you on this planet… so much to strive for, seek and find. Embrace, enjoy, but don’t let the fleeting distract you, as this planet is not perfect, paradise, nor anything even close. It is not heaven and should never be confused as such. That means you will encounter sin and struggles in both others and yourself. Give others and yourself generous grace; pick yourself up when you fall and continue to grow. Welcome godly conviction but not human condemnation. And don’t point fingers — again, not at others nor at self. Finger pointing too often evinces hypocrisy.

Love your neighbor well.

Seeking God first means you attempt to follow what he asks of us. He asks us to love both what and who he created. It’s why we take care of both his people and his planet. Unfortunately, you will be tempted to love well only those who think, look, act and even vote like you. Don’t fall prey to that limited thinking; it takes even the intelligent down. Love the neighbor and the stranger. Respect them. Interact with them. Ask them questions and listen to their response. Ask them more. Know, too, they are always welcome at our table. 

Prioritize what is good and right and true.

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Grace. Faithfulness. Forgiveness. Family. Friendship. Gentleness. Laughter. Humility. Service. Selflessness. And self-control. Never allow anything lesser to pierce what is good.

Pursue the truth.

Discerning what is true is a centuries-old challenge; it’s not always clear. Understand that what you feel doesn’t always line up with what is true. Your feelings are valid, but they are not necessarily indicative of the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Also, your experience does not equate to everyone else’s reality. Know that. Be humble. And never let these learnings halt your pursuit.

Eat your vegetables.

Yes, ok… that’s not really the best way to say this, and I haven’t always modeled this well. I have much to learn. The bottom line is for each of us to be healthy — to intentionally care for our body — emotionally, physically, and spiritually. If you are off in any of the three, you are most likely off in all. But again, give yourself great grace. It’s ok to not be ok.

Treat a girl like a queen.

I’ll be honest; this is a tough one these days, but I will not stray from what your father and I have always taught you. Girls long to be cherished; boys long to be respected. Never withhold your love and respect. From either. But be careful. Not everyone holds the same values as you, especially in regard to all of the above; some have not yet found that guiding moral compass. That doesn’t make another bad, but it does mean you must be careful about any potentially compromising situation. Don’t go too far with someone you don’t love, especially in regard to time, topic, and touch. Build friendship first. Be kind always.

And lastly, when panned or praised, criticized or commended, accused or absolved, always remember the first three above…

Seek God first…

Love your neighbor well…

Prioritize what is good and right and true.

All will not always go well for you. But if you follow the above, you should sleep very well at night. You will have peace.

Love you, sons… always and all the time…

AR

2 Replies to “a letter to my sons”

  1. WOW!! Way to go Ann! I may tweek this a bit for my girls…so well said!!

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