Before I get going, I just want to state this is intended for my sons. All, obviously, are welcome to read it.
To my dear sons Will and Jake,
A man is the sum of his actions, not his words. Words are powerful, but if there is nothing to sustain their value, they are pointless dribble. Likewise, your words should be of value and reliable. If you say you will do something, then do it. Use your words to lift up others rather than tear them down; and to show others you care for them.
A man does not gripe, grumble, or complain. He accepts what is given him, and seeks to make it better with dignity and respect; not by the worthless prattling of his tongue. Understanding of course that at times you will need to confide in others your worries and your concerns, but don’t make yourself a constant source of negative discourse.
A man is gentle and protective of those who are less fortunate, or less capable than they are. They do not lord over others or treat them in a condescending fashion. He leads, and by leading he serves; and presents himself as an example. He asks nothing of others he is not willing to do himself should it be required. Not of course to speak of things he is not capable of doing, but in such a situation shows due respect for those more capable. He does not act petulant towards his superiors, but instead seeks to grow to be as capable. If his superiors aren’t as capable, he still shows the due respect required for that title and relies on his actions to show his worth rather than demeaning speech.
A man does not raise his hand in violence, lest it is to protect the helpless, and will gladly lay down his life for others if it is required. Simply put, it takes far more strength to stay your hand, than it does to let it fly.
A man never strikes a woman. A man never forces himself onto a woman. A man never pressures a woman to do anything she is not willing to do on her own. A woman is not a trophy, but a precious person. A daughter, a sister, a mother. Generally under appreciated in our society today, but the brace that holds most things together. You are of no greater worth, and you will not act otherwise. A man respects a woman, and when he finds the right one, loves that woman more than he loves himself.
A man does not fear commitment, and when he finds the right woman, he will marry her. A man does not leave his wife. A man will do anything in his power to make his wife feel safe, secure, and loved. I know that a person is responsible for their own feelings, one can not force security, happiness, and love into another; but that is not an excuse to stop trying, EVER! If you are failing to do this, you are a selfish boy; only interested in your own contentment. Admittedly that may sound harsh, as what is required may not be possible or even practical. At those times discernment is required about what should or should not be done, but the final decision should never be reached for the sake of personal gain; but for the gain of both. If a concession needs to be made, it is not weak to concede to your wife; and it will not go unappreciated if it’s from the heart.
Know that making a child doesn’t make you a man, raising one does; and a man raises his children in integrity, and shows them all the love and attention they deserve (They do not however take precedence over his wife.). He is patient with them, he plays with them, but he doesn’t hesitate to rebuke them. He is the firmest, and gentlest hand that his children will know. A sons first hero, and a daughters first love. His heart beats for them, and he lets them know that they are his pride. The words of a father to his children can be the difference in how high they fly, or how low they sink. Do not be an anchor, but wings for your children.
Finally, a Christian man loves Jesus, and seeks to emulate him in his every day life. Loving others, always forgiving, and obedient to God; even to the point death (literal, or metaphorical). Life is not perfect, it’s a series of heart aches and joys. You will not be strong enough to do it alone; I certainly don’t. But for as long as you have me, I will do what I can to help you; and I pray that you find peace and strength in Christ and the faith that these teachings are a part of, but I will love you any way my sons.
– Your Dad