I remember the indescribable joy in the labour ward on the day you were born, and it seems to me that almost overnight, you have grown into a strapping young man. I have so much to say to you as you navigate your path towards manhood: what it feels like to fall in love with the woman you will marry; what it feels like to earn your first paycheck; what it feels like to buy your first house…The list of my experiences are no doubt varied and numerous, but I want to share just a few thoughts with you this Father’s Day 2015.
Your Mum has told you this a thousand times, and she is right – you do need to be responsible. If you’re involved in a project or activity, take the lead and act responsibly. If you make a mess, clean it up. Do the right thing. Don’t wait for someone else to take responsibility; just do it. When you disappoint those close to you, resist the urge to make excuses or blame others; take responsibility for your actions and ask for forgiveness.
I know you love to hang out with your friends, and that’s not a bad thing. Hang out with them as much as you want to, but if your friends are doing something you know is wrong, stand your ground and do not follow. Sometimes it’s tough finding yourself alone because of the values you’ve learned from home and church, but trust me on this one – never abandon your faith or your values to follow the crowd.
With your looks and physique, it’s clear you will meet loads of girls in your life. Treat them all with dignity and respect. Care more about their inner beauty than their outward appearance. Treat their bodies, and yours, like the temples of God and don’t give in to sinful behavior. Remember to do the right thing and save yourselves for marriage. Remember how to ‘Counter-Kulture’. The world may make a mockery of your faith and values but stand for God and you will be fine. And when you do find the right girl, if she’s anything like your mum, don’t let her go.
Don’t ever pretend to be who you’re not. You are who God created you to be. Don’t hide from your true self, and don’t hide your faith or your beliefs from others. Stand against popular opinion when you know you should and do it every time the opportunity arises. Be the man. God’s man!
You may find it difficult to find a church you like. That’s fine. Just remember that you are the ‘church’. Church is not necessarily a building; God is with you at all times. One of Jesus’ names is Emmanuel, which in a sense is the ‘God who hangs out with us’. So talk to Him. You don’t always have to pray with your eyes closed, hands clasped and head bowed; thinking thoughts directed to God can be prayer. Do it often and consistently.
Don’t cut corners
Don’t cut corners or take short cuts in your work or studies. Don’t look for the easy way out of problems; do that which is hard. Working hard can seem futile sometimes but there is really no substitute for hard work. Persistence pays off in the long run. And by the way, sitting near the front of the class is likely to help you pay more attention. And remember – Read! Read! Read! The more you read, the more you will know.
Live on a budget
Put yourself on a budget and resist the urge to spend beyond your budget. Keep an account of the money you’ve spent and learn to save, save, save. Prioritize what you’re spending your money on. Don’t be influenced by your friends’ spending habits. Put your spare change in a jar; it adds up. Use Skype or emails to save money on phone calls. Ask for student discounts. Book your tickets in advance. If you are disciplined and prudent, your money will work for you.
At one point or another, you will inevitably be hurt or disappointed by people you trust. When this happens, you may want to retreat into yourself or you may want to quit, but don’t! Do what a real man does – love anyway.
You will be tempted like you’ve never been tempted before – alcohol, drugs, sex, porn…It takes character, a whole lot of character not to succumb to these temptations. We know that you have a large reservoir of character. Don’t forget it. Tap into it every time the need arises.
Call Mum regularly, not just when you want something. Call her just to say hello and find out how she’s doing. Trust me, this will make her very happy. Email us both from time to time. It’s a good way of honoring your parents. Remember other people’s birthdays, especially your sisters and extended family. A surprise email from you will gladden their hearts greatly.
Finally, and most importantly, I want you to know your Mum and I love you very much and we are very proud of you.