As we strung out the lights on the Christmas tree last night, I watched Lucas playing with his baby brother and I felt that joy again. It’s not the first time I’ve felt this today and I know it wont be the last. It happens every day. I watch them interact and love each other so deeply already that my heart almost seems to swell inside my chest. As I almost gallop from bedroom to bedroom in the evening hours after they sleep, I often feel an excitement that makes me want to squeal right aside their bed while they sleep… “I love you, I love you, I love you”!!! My heart wants to leap right outside of my chest daily for the joy I feel watching them, for the love I see between them and for the gift that I have been given in them.
I watch them growing so quickly and I find myself thinking about the things I need them to know as the get older. I often wonder how I’m doing preparing them for the life they have ahead of them.
In the spirit of holding myself accountable for teaching and leading Lucas & Zac with my own example, I’ve jotted down a list of things that I want my boys to know. While the words are a bit beyond their years in many cases (Zac is only 9 months old!), the lessons are ones that I want to establish with great importance over the years ahead of us. So here it goes…
Play – Don’t be in such a rush to get older. Your childhood is only here once so jump into it head first and stay as long as you can. When you do eventually grow up never stop having fun and being silly. Keep a happy heart by being young at heart and keeping active in life. Be fun and funny, and laugh as much as you can… always embrace those big belly laughs that get you laughing so hard you cry. Life will be what you make of it, so don’t hold back!
Be Kind – Never take what you have for granted. Be thankful! We have been so blessed to be born and live in a country that is so rich. Don’t be greedy with all you have been given – pay it forward! The world does not owe you anything, you need to work to make the world a better place. The rewards for such work are endless and will live within you always. Do what you can to bless others.
Be Honest – Be a true friend. Don’t ever be a bully, but never be afraid to defend yourself or what you believe in. Don’t lie, don’t steal, and don’t be someone you’re not. Go to bed every night with a clear conscience and you will always wake up on the right side of the bed
God is Real – God is great, and strong, and He loves you! He will always love you and will never leave your side. There is nothing you can do to lose God’s love. I hope you always know that He is always with you. You will never be alone. Pray and find peace and joy in knowing God and building your relationship with him. Your faith in Him will keep you strong through all you encounter in your life.
Treat Women Well – Be a gentleman. Be kind to women of all ages. Be respectful, courteous, hold the door open, pull out chairs, send flowers and always find a compliment. Be very careful with your words knowing that something you say in just one second could have an effect on young lady for the rest of her life. Be thoughtful!
Love – Really truly love others. Fall in love one day, knowing that your heart can get shattered into a million pieces, but do it anyway. There is no greater emotion than love and the joy that it can bring far outweighs the heartache. Share the love you have within you with others and see lives change. Never let fear stop you from loving with everything you’ve got. Love other people as much as you can… family, friends, and strangers. Sharing our love with others is what we are called to do with our lives.
Don’t Judge – Always remember that you do not know the circumstances of others, so don’t make assumptions. Don’t ever find joy in taking others down. It’s extremely unattractive and just mean. If you truly care and have love for others you will quickly turn any judgement or gossip into an opportunity to be compassionate, to empathize, or to pray for others rather than judge them. It is not your job to judge. It’s your job to love.
Ask Questions – Be curious always. Learn and never stop learning. This world is full of endless opportunity and beauty. Start now and don’t ever stop. Knowledge is an amazing tool to have with you, so don’t be afraid to speak up and find out as much as you possibly can every day.
Don’t Give Up – Guard your heart and all the things you really believe in and value. Be strong, courageous and be prepared to fight the good fight. Don’t let anything take away your incredible spirit. There will be battles. There will be heartaches. There will be times where you feel like you have to give up. Don’t! You are strong and capable of so much more than you realize.
I Love You – There is nothing you can do that will ever change that. I will always be here for you. I will never leave you and I could not imagine a world without you in it.