I know what this is going to sound like. You already know it all. Surely you’re wiser in your youth than I could ever hope to be in my old age. I wouldn’t have listened to my father. Just as I am sure he didn’t want to listen to his. I was terrified of what he may say if he called me into the room when my sisters weren’t around. Terrified that he knew my secrets; that he may dangle them over my head, waiting for the perfect punishment. I was uncomfortable with myself. He was the man I looked up to. And men did not speak of these things they struggled with: women, overwhelming lust, and a desperate need to find their place in this world. I was ashamed. I believed I was alone.
As your father, I know of your struggles, son, because you are a man just as I am. And I am not mad at you. I am not disappointed in you, and you will never let me down. We are not perfect. Our hope cannot lie within each other. Because one day I will fail you. I will hurt you. And I am so sorry for it. I so badly want to do everything right for you, but we were not created in the concept of right and wrong. We were created for life and for love. So take comfort in my love. It remains unconditional and constant, just as your Heavenly Father’s love is for you.
It is my job to best represent the life of Christ to you. To show you what it takes in this world to be a man who loves, forgives, and is merciful. To show you what it means to be a gentleman. Until one day, when you are old enough, you will leave your home and set forth on your own, writing the story God has called you to. Creating a home of your own.
My job is to teach you to stand up for what you believe in, no matter what it is you choose to believe.
To act like a Biblical man; a man of God awaiting his Goddess to come.
I will teach you to stand when a woman enters the room, to hold the door for her, and to never go in her purse without permission. I will tell you it’s okay to bring flowers on the first date, and to call her the next day instead of waiting three. I will teach you to tie a tie, and shave with deliberate strokes. I will teach you to respect woman, to honor them, to learn from them. They will teach you things that I cannot. They’re holding tighter to our hearts than they will ever realize. And you will learn this not through my words, but during the moment when she squeezes too hard. It will hurt. In this life, we will all have our hearts broken at one point or another. It will hurt because God feels it too. Because He made us in His likeness. And He feels rejection day after day from his children.
He feels your heartbreak too. Yet He has never left you.
But this is no reason not to love, not to risk. If we are not loving, and taking risks, we are not truly living. God took the greatest risk of all sending His very own son to die for us. Because He loves us. Because He believes in us.
And just as He will never leave you, as His love remains unconditional, so will mine.
As He delights in you, so will I.
So carve your heart onto the page with your pen.
And with that same hand, protect the heart the Lord has written your name on and given you to hold.
Listen, always, before you speak. Then choose your words carefully as they can bring life, and they can bring death.
Your tears do not make you less of a man, and your fists do not make you more of one.
Be slow to anger. Love remains forever patient.
Know that it’s impossible to live without regrets, but it is possible to live without making the same mistakes twice. So keep your heart teachable. The teachable man will always get the job before the personable one who claims to know it all already.
And know when you are on your own, that you are not alone.
Just as I viewed pornography at the age of eleven, left after curfew to see a girl I liked I knew my mother disapproved of, had my first beer down at the lake with my cousins at fifteen, tried my first cigarette at sixteen, I know you will struggle with these things too. And just as I have been forgiven, so are you. Not because these decisions were wrong, but because they were not the future intended for me. They only brought me farther away from the life God had planned. And just as He has forgiven me, son, I forgive you.
It’s okay that you have used pornography, and taken things too far with your first girlfriend.
Because I struggle too. I am right by your side. I cannot do this without you. As men, we are in this battle together. When we engage in battle, we will get hurt. We will stumble. And we will fall. But know that I am here to help you up. My hand remains firm for you to take hold of when you grow weak. I am right by your side.
Everywhere I go, I am challenged. I am tempted. I lust. Just as you do, and will. And the world is going to tell you that it is okay to use pornography. Because everyone does it. That you should sleep with and give your heart to as many women as possible before marriage. That just one drink won’t hurt. You only live once.
But son, there is another way. A specific way both you and I were designed to function. Though I will never tell you how to live. I will only encourage you to live the way you were created to. A way that represents you as a gentleman; as a Biblical man who puts himself second to others. A way which states that out of the six billion people on this planet, we were meant to share our bodies with just one. Someone who shares all your beliefs. Trusts you and knows your heart; has your heart. Wait to give yourself to a best friend you can laugh with, and cry your eyes out with moments later. Make sure she is someone Worth. Dying. For.
We go searching for stories in the wrong places when we aren’t living out the story intended for us. I promise to help you write your story.
There is a future out there somewhere with your name written all over it.
Only you can decide if you want to live everyone else’s future, or if you want to live your own.
My boy, you are beautiful. I am proud of you, and honored to have you as a son.
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