Letters For My Sons

Wesley: Son, I still feel the same way.

For Wesley – because you asked.

Hello, Wesley.

It’s January 10th, 2020. And I don’t know if you remember this, but I’m certainly anticipating you will.

I just found this in my notes on my laptop. It’s a note I had written to you a little over three years ago. I think I will just copy and paste here.

Yeah. That’s as good a place as any to start.

Wesley;

You’re 25 years old now; but I remember when you were little like it was yesterday.

I’ve been thinking about some of those moments today. And the reason I’m thinking about them is because you sent me a text a while back; in that text, you said,

“I remember when were young, you were doing this thing where you wrote letters to us to read later in our lives. Are you still doing that?”

Son, you wrote that text to me a good six months ago now. It is frustrating sometimes how time flies when you’re grinding out life. One of the biggest regrets in my life is that I never followed through very well on writing those letters. I still have one I wrote to your brother (Michael) when he was little. Sometimes, when I’m sorting through all the paperwork I have in my cluttered office, I see that. And sometimes, when I do, I cry.

You see, in all the busyness of life, in working, in trying to juggle all the balls in the air, and in trying to find my “place” and my identity in this world, writing those letters has always been one of those things I was “going to get to.”

But I realize that this is one of the best things I can do with what remains of my days on this earth before I go home someday to be with our heavenly father. If I can say this in a way that doesn’t sound selfish, I want to impact you in a way that you will miss me when I’m gone; at least just a little.

I also hope our relationship will always be healthy enough that you’ll not mourn too long when I go. A little is good. But just a little.

The main thing is that I want to be the kind of father to you that is worth being missed.

And so I want to embark here on a journey of writing to you guys about my thoughts about you, my dreams for you, all the things that keep me up sometimes at night asking our heavenly Father to fix and to bless and to carry you guys on to your ultimate goal in life – becoming men who seek hard after God’s heart.

I might send some of these to you when I write them; others, I might just park in a book for when I’m gone someday and your children are maybe missing me too – always in a good way, and never without hope that we will see each other again.

Son, you have no idea how much it hit me that you remembered the letters I said I was going to write to you. I had no idea that would be so significant to you that you would even recall my intentions to do so.

So I want this to be the first of many. Feel free to check up on me from time to time to see if I’m keeping up with it. If it’s important to you, I want it to be important to me.

I love you son. With all my heart I love you.

Thanks for asking.

Dad


It’s funny, son, that I just realized as I copied and pasted this note from over three years ago, that part of the problem for me has always been getting these things down without getting distracted by the tears that come. 

Young man, you’re pushing 30 soon. And I still remember when you were little like it was yesterday. And I still feel the same way. I love you bunches. I always did. I always will.

Love,

Dad

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Letters For My Sons

Michael: Do you still remember the turtle?

Michael;

Do you remember the day I picked you up after work and brought you home from your grandparents’ house?

Grandma had invited you to come up to their house and stay for the weekend. And on Monday, when I finished work, I drove up there to pick you up and bring you home.

And on the way home, we saw him crossing the road in front of us. It was a painted turtle, I think. He was about eight or nine inches long. He wasn’t moving particularly quick (as is usually the case with turtles) and I had to slow down and steer around him so as not to “prep” him to be turtle soup.

And in that moment, I thought, “inquisitive kid. Teachable moment. Let’s turn around.”

You’ve always been a curious one, with what always appeared to be a love for learning and a discipline to do it well.

When we stopped and got out of the van that day, you were watching the turtle. But I was watching you. I loved how you interacted with people and with things back then, and I loved to watch you – to see you growing and becoming your own little person. I loved that chance to let you see something new.

Sometimes you’ve surprised me with your lack of curiosity about things, too. I remember a day I took you and your brothers into an auto plant close to home to let you see the equipment in operation.

I opened the door into the plant from the office, letting you see some of my world – with the robots working feverishly and parts of cars going everywhere.

And again, I watched you. I watched all of you actually. But in that instance, I watched you probably more than the others. Because with your love for computers and science and stuff, I thought for sure it would be a hit.

Nah.

You had enough after about 15 seconds. Not your cup of tea. Considering that you’re a physicist now, doing cutting edge research, I thought it would have been more to your liking.

But that’s ok. You’ve done well enough for yourself now. And I’m proud of you for all the hard work you’ve done that has gotten you to where you are now.

My job, as your dad, was to give you a chance to see as many doors open wide to you as I could. But I’m not hurt that you “found your own doors.”

Our Heavenly Father has opened doors for you that you’ve walked through. I truly believe that. He has put people in your path that have taken you on a journey that I never could have done on my own. He does stuff so much better than we can.

Anyway, I’m surprised to see how much of a thrill I get when I watch all of you guys all out doing things that I couldn’t do or wouldn’t see myself doing.

But I guess a good dad always wants to lift his kids up on his shoulders so they can climb from there to new heights and eventually go where dad has never gone.

So maybe, by that measure, I’ve not done all that bad.

Son, I love you bunches. I always did. I always will. And I’m so proud of you and where God is taking you on this journey of life.

Love,

Dad

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Letters For My Sons

William: I see you.

I’m writing because I see you. Maybe not all of who you really are. Maybe I see my vision of you. But it’s where I start.

We don’t get as much time together as I’d like. In my perfect world, I would not have made as many mistakes as I did, and I’d be retired by now, and we’d have more time to spend together.

But we’re still both working for a living. And that’s the way it is.

But I think about you – a lot. And like any good dad, I confess I do worry about you sometimes. Maybe it means I’m not trusting God perfectly with all the ins and outs of your life. But I think it comes naturally.

Your grandfather said something to me a few years back, not long before he passed away, that stuck with me. He said, “you’ll worry about your kids until the day you die.”

It’s true. You guys are all grown now, getting married and having kids, and I still worry about what your futures will look like.

Your grandfather would always ask me about you guys – how you were doing, how you were earning a living, if you’d settled into any kind of a solid career yet. You used to drive a garbage disposal truck. He never saw much future in that.

I know that you didn’t either. And I always knew (as did everyone who knew you) that you had so much more potential than that.

But I always wondered how much you saw your potential.

I see you, and I see your potential.

It’s interesting to me that as you were growing up, if you’d asked your brothers, I think they would have all agreed that they thought you were my favourite. I don’t know if you knew that.

And I might be wrong about that. But it’s just that when they would make comments from time to time, it seems that was the consensus, as far as I could tell.

I don’t know that I ever had “favourites.”

Maybe I did. But I loved each one of you guys so much I never spent time comparing any of you in my head to see which one was my favourite. So if I did, I don’t know who it was.

But I know I was protective of you. I remember trips we took where your brothers would pick on you in the back seat of the van and it just got me enraged with anger. But I was angry over the situation.

You see, I hated it when any of you picked on any of the others. I loved all of you, and if any of you picked on one of your brothers, you were picking on someone I loved. And I hated that it was happening.

But now, that is all in the rear view mirror.

You guys all get along pretty good now. Compared to what I hear from other men my age, you guys are doing pretty good as a family. I’m happy that you all seem to care about each other and that you all get along.

But son, I see you. I see you and I’m proud.

I think the “normalness” of life can be overwhelming sometimes. You’re working a job you don’t exactly love, perhaps. But you’re doing it and you’re doing it WELL, in spite of the fact it maybe isn’t a dream job.

You’re doing it because it’s what a man does. He finds a way to provide for his wife and kids. You have responsibilities for those little critters – those grandchildren I love so much. And you’re doing it faithfully, and providing for your family. You and your wife both work hard and you’re going to make it. You’ll be alright.

Your uncle Dave once said, “there is no such thing as a perfect job. But there are jobs where there is enough about them to keep them interesting that it makes them good jobs, if you have to have a job.” And I think he nailed it for most people.

But my prayer for you is that you don’t find your identity merely in your job.

It’s natural for a guy to find his identity in what he “does.” But life gets stressful sometimes and if what you “do” doesn’t seem to scratch the itch about satisfying “who you are,” it’s maybe not such a bad thing.

Because, in the end, “who you are” really is about much more than just “what you do.”

I look back over my life – the stresses that came, the mistakes I have made, and I’ve seen how God has used the pain of what I’ve messed up to put me on my knees, seeking His face and learning about His faithfulness and His provision for me and for the ones I love.

The reality is that, at this age, I’ve come to see that God sees me for “who I am” in spite of what I’ve “done.”

God loves me because of who HE is, and not because of what I’ve done.

My prayer for you, son, is that you will ultimately find your identity in “being a king’s kid“: that you’ll let God draw near to you, in all the humdrum of life, in all the “less than perfect” of your life situation right now.

I pray that you’ll seek His face. Don’t mask any frustrations you have with any of the “less than perfectness” of your life with distractions. Avoid the attractions of youth and the momentary pleasures of those things that fall short of God’s best choices in your life.

TALK TO HIM about it and let Him meet you where you are. He can use the pain of any frustrations you might ever have with your life to draw you into His pleasure.

God sees you. He is pleased.

God is not finished with you. I see hope and a future for you.

You love your kids. They adore you. You and your wife are their whole world right now. You guys have a place to shine in their world. Draw near to the Lord and seek His face so you can shine life and hope for those little ones that God has entrusted to you.

You know what you believe about Him. Let Him show you how to believe Him – to trust Him so He can show Himself strong to you.

Always continue to find your ultimate meaning and purpose in Him. Draw near to Him. Make it your life aim to fall in love with Him over and over again.

Son, I love you bunches. I always have. I always will.

And I see you.

Don’t let the pressures of life distract you from all the potential you have to be a “King’s kid” with all of what the means for you and for Him.

Dad.

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