Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Note to my Kids

Looking back on 18 and where I have been and where I am now, here are some things I would tell my 18 year old self.

Guard your Character. Guard that with everything you have, it is truly what separates Men from Little Boys. Tell the truth, be loyal, always keep your integrity, think before you act, be willing to sacrifice for what is right, serve others, mind your manners, and keep your promises. These are uncommon in today's world but necessary for survival. Remember who your Mom and I raised you to be. Remember those values that have been instilled in you since you were little, and make them important to you.

Guard your Credit. Don't borrow money you can't pay back. Don't spend money you don't have. Even if you pay with a credit card, don't buy unimportant things you can't pay cash for. There will be times in life when you will have to buy big ticket items like a house or a car, save your credit for those and pay them off fast. All you have is your name, if you guard your credit and your credibility no one can ever take that away from you. Pay your tithes, it belongs to God anyways, Give sacrificially, you can't out give God anyways. Put money in savings; You will need it later, I promise.

Guard your Ego. Don’t be afraid to be you and never settle for second best; you are a child of the King. Don't ever let anyone make you feel like you are less than who God says you are. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to, so don’t doubt your abilities but please don’t think too highly of yourself. Humility is worth more and will get you further than you will ever expect.

Defend your Faith. Read your Bible. Pray meaningful prayers. Talk to God. Listen for His answer. Be different than the world. Live a lifestyle that makes others ask questions about God. Share the gospel everywhere you go. Don't be ashamed of Jesus even if it means your livelihood or even your life.

Maintain Perseverance. Life is hard sometimes, don't quit when things get a little rough. You learn so much in those times where you struggle. Don't be afraid to fight your way through the tough times; but don't be too prideful to ask for help. Your Mom and I will always be here for you.

Embrace Servanthood. You are a tenderhearted, kind, caring person; stay that way. Don't look on the surface of the people around you. Look deep into their heart. Everyone deals with some kind of pain or disappointment in their lifetimes. Bring joy, happiness, and laughter into peoples lives. Repay meanness with kindness. Love those who hate you, even if they are hard to love. Volunteer your time and energy. Look for ways to serve others.

Enhance your Mind. You are very intelligent, but do your best be wise, they are not the same thing. Intelligence is your ability to comprehend and retain knowledge, wisdom comes from applying that knowledge and experience to make good choices. Work hard but never stop learning. Read books. There is a world of information you don't know yet. Always keep an open mind, other people might have good ideas that are useful to you.

Practice Grace. Giving and Receiving. Know how to admit when you are wrong and always make a point to ask forgiveness, both from God and the person you offended. Learn to listen more and speak less. Control your temper and be quick to forgive people. Grudges don't hurt anyone but you. Don't judge people too quickly, look deep inside them and learn who they really are.

Create Boundaries. Prioritize your life. God, Family, Work, Friends, Self. Keep these in order and build boundaries around them. There will be people who try to place themselves or their desires in a higher order. Put them where they belong and don't let them get you to change it.

Live Life. There will be things in life that you will find are not as important as you thought they would be. Let those things go. Don't hold onto regrets. Don't be afraid to try new things. Take risks, but learn from the mistakes of others. See the world, be a tourist, take lots of pictures, create memories. One day you'll wake up and your kid will be grown and you'll either be happy you did all of those things or you'll wish you did and long to have all of those years back.

Come Home. No matter where life takes you or how far you roam, remember where home is. It's where you are loved and nothing you or anybody else does can change that.

I know this is a long list and it is not exhaustive. I love you and I promise if you will take this to heart, you will succeed in life. I wish I would have listened when your Papa tried to teach me these same things 22 years ago.

Love,
Dad

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