I was recently inspired by a video I saw… to reverse tradition, and instead of only receiving cards and gifts on Father’s Day, to write my awesome kids a letter from the heart. I’m in agreement with God’s Word, and the writer of the Third Book of John, when it declares; “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” I am truly blessed to have wonderful children that each have a heart for God and others. This letter is to them.
Dear Conor, Kolten, Caleb, Michaela, Merci, and Amy… it’s Father’s Day, and although it’s probably not usually done, I wanted to write a letter to you guys. I’m so honored to be called your ‘Dad’. When each of you came into my life something changed inside of me, something shifted. It was slow, but it happened. Suddenly the world was not about me, it wasn’t about what I wanted. It changed into a world of what you needed. At first it was painful. Living for yourself is easy, but living for others is one of the hardest things you can do. But when you make a choice to live for others and not yourself, something happens, something changes. Living for others is the ‘secret sauce’. When you begin to live for others and not yourself you arrive at moments of happiness, moments of gratitude, and moments of contentment. Other than bringing God glory with our lives, contentment is the unseen goal, it’s the ultimate prize. It’s the prize that you can win, and at times when you misplace it, then you need to go and find it again. I think that it’s in that pursuit of contentment that you find adventure… you find love… you find out what you are made of.
There are so many things a dad should teach you; How to tie a tie, how to mow the lawn, how to drive a stick-shift, how to change a tire, how to give a solid hand-shake, how to throw a football. But what I’ve always really wanted to teach you is the secret stuff… stuff that is learned by experience… stuff that can’t be put into a list. I haven’t always been the best teacher, for that I’m sorry. I hope that I’ve made it clear that happiness is a choice. Happiness is not found in stuff. Follow your heart, not the money. Don’t’ get me wrong… money is nice… but it won’t really make you happy. Learn to work hard. You come from a lineage of hard workers, men and women who often worked multiple jobs and strived for excellence in all they did, as they led, served, and inspired others… starting with your mother. I know we always push college, but the truth is… Hard work and enthusiasm will win over any diploma or certificate.
Conor, Kolten, and Caleb continue to be adventurous, take risks, stand apart from the crowd. Adventure only begins when something goes wrong. It’s on the side of the road, camped out next to a broken vehicle that adventures can find you. Before you get married, go on an adventure with that person and call me when you get back. This will be a great litmus test to see if they are really the one. Kolten, you got to do this with Amy… and I know you’ll agree that I’m right. Each of you have got to learn to ride a motorcycle… it’s dangerous… but it’s a freedom and joy that I just can’t express. Always fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. This is the main quality of every superhero… and a characteristic I see in each of you men. Continue to be unique. Don’t ever let people tell you to step in line or get with the program. Make your own to-do-list and don’t just do someone else’s list.
Michaela and Merci, know that you are beautiful inside and out. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should be or how you should act just because you may be a little different from them. Be confident, be strong. When the time comes… Chase love. When you find it, dive in and don’t look back. You will probably get your heart broken. Remember, my heart was broken a few times before I met your mom. Do whatever your mom says, she is much wiser and smarter than I will ever be. She is such a great example to you both of what a Christian woman is really supposed to be. When you find a kind of love like your mom and I have, guard it with everything inside of you
Amy, I’m so glad you are in our family. Your joy and attitude about everything is awesome. You found a good man in Kolten, but I hope you always feel that you’ve also become a part of a good family that loves you unconditionally and sincerely.
I’m so proud of each of you kids. I love your personalities and the way that you each carry yourselves. Continue to make people laugh. Be weird, be wild, be passionate about the things that you love… don’t be half-way… be all-the-way, pedal-to-the-metal. Especially in your love for, and relationship with, Jesus. Each of you will go down different paths, but no matter what that path is, believe in something bigger than yourself. Believe and trust in Jesus. Unfortunately, you’ll find that there are seasons where life will try and drag you down, but when you have something to believe in, a deep faith and trust in Jesus, you’ll find it will lead you to a full life that you can be proud of. When you stop believing in something, it’s like a parasite… it will kill all hope. I want you each to know that I also believe in our family. Know that in our family there will always be second chances and that there is always unconditional love. Throughout your life you will mess up… and if you need me, I will be there to help you clean it up. I won’t always be perfect, and we won’t always agree… but know that I love you… and that you will never walk alone. I’m your Dad… that will never change.
I’m so lucky, and I love you five.