Right now I’m sitting in your dad’s and my room, and I’m listening to a rare moment taking place- the 3 of you are playing together and I can’t hear any screams of torture or maiming. It’s glorious. My ‘Mommy-senses’ don’t have to be on full alert.
The 3 of you boys are currently pretty young in the grand scheme of things, and -although I’m sure you’d roll your eyes at me if you read this at this point in time and claim that you aren’t little- that includes you, too, Camo. 12, 6, and nearly 2 are ages that don’t have to worry about so many things yet. However, you won’t always be so young, so if you should one day run across this, I hope you’ll read it and take what I say to heart. I know if I was to mention this all to you right now, you’d ask when I was going to finish (about 5 minutes in) and start to fidget. You’d undoubtably take a point I’m trying to make and think I’m picking on you and an argument might ensue. Hopefully, if you’re reading this as an older, wiser, version of you, though, you’ll have mastered the art of patience and the ability to discern the difference between me “picking” on you and me looking out for you.
That brings me to my first thing I want to say.
#1- Do not- under any circumstance- pray for patience unless you’re ready for what God will hand to you. God CAN create something out of nothing, but -with us- God likes to “teach us to fish” so that we’ll have that skill forever. In other words, God won’t just grant you patience; He’ll give you a bunch of situations in which you must learn to breathe or die from holding your breath. So, go ahead and pray for it- patience is a virtue and all that- but be ready. I prayed for patience at 19; God gave me a bottle rocket named Cameron. I’ve been in the process of honing that virtue now for the last 12 years.
#2- Its good to be cautious, but its also okay to throw caution to the wind at times. Don’t let fear keep you from new experiences. You guys are smart; your dad and I have raised you to have good heads on your shoulders. You know the difference between fear of the unknown and fear because you have a gut feeling you shouldn’t do it. Please remember this for when you have your kids, too. Its good to be cautious with your kids, but there IS such a thing as ‘overly-cautious’. Scrapes, cuts, bruises- they all heal. Those situations that allowed for the stings of life, though, they teach you bits and pieces about life and who you are. I’m not saying to let my grandkids do anything dangerous, but if it isn’t death defying, sit back, grit your teeth, and let them explore. Let my grandkids BE kids- or I’ll tell them stories about YOUR childhoods, complete with pictures.
#3- Since today is Sunday, its reminding me of faith and church and beliefs, so I’ll bring this up. While I hope and pray that everything your dad and I taught you will be instilled in you and you’ll choose our beliefs, its ok to have doubts and to question. Just like every passenger on a plane needs to have their own ticket to fly, no one will get to Heaven on someone else’s faith. so, by all means, ask questions! It’ll make me happy because then I know you won’t just blindly follow anyone else’s beliefs either. Also, if you’re asking questions, it means you’ll have a better time learning what God wants to teach you. Oh, and don’t worry about asking questions in other areas of your life, too. If you don’t understand something, ask, and if that person doesn’t give you a satisfactory answer or if they suck as a teacher, find someone else. Never settle on uncertainty because you’re afraid of making someone mad or uncomfortable. They can deal with it.
#4- People who say “Its not about winning or losing” are stupid. I’m sorry, but its true. Any kid who’s lost a game can tell you it sucks, no matter how much fun they had. There will ALWAYS be winners and losers in this life, and one of the best examples I can give you for grown ups is the person who gets the job/ promotion and the person who doesn’t. Do me a favor- yourself, as well: strive to win. Shoot for the stars- heck, aim for the outer reaches of space! If you don’t make it once you’ve given it your all, then fine, but don’t allow yourself to be fooled into thinking life will give you a “participation trophy”. Schools and some sports programs will do that for you right now because they say its good for your self esteem. You know what’s better for your self esteem? Winning. Do you know who gives “participation trophies” and will worry about your self esteem in the work force? That’s right- no one.
#5- I’m hoping your attention span has gotten better with age, but just to make sure I don’t lose you, this will be the last point I make for now.
As an adult, you’ll find that you might have a lot of regrets- things you wish you’d never said; things you wish you’d never done; girls you wish you’d never dated- and you might be tempted to say,”I wish I’d never done that; said that; known her” or whatever.
Everything in your life has helped to mold you into who you are- the good times AND the bad. You learn from everything- God knows, I did. the good times will teach you to be thankful for God’s blessings and mercies. Those times when everything is bright and shiny and happy- its so easy to be thankful in those places. But don’t fear the memories of the bad times- you usually learn more from them than you might think, and usually a LOT more than you did in the good places. The bad times -the trials and tribulations of this life that push you to your knees and knock the breath out of you- they teach you patience, courage, bravery; heck, they can even teach you to have a sense of humor. Without the bad times, you’d never know just how good the good times are.
So don’t hold onto regrets. Look at them briefly and then hold on to what God gave you after. Remember: “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” If God allowed it, He did so for a reason and He’ll give you what you need to get through it.
I love you more than there are fishies in the sea!