Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The 16th is a Big Deal....

On my blog I have seldom (anniversary excluded) written blogs about my personal life or family.  I guess I don’t believe most people really want to “watch home movies” or read about my family information.  However,  in our culture a 16th birthday is a pretty big deal and should be recognized.   Recently, I read a “tribute” to a Dad on Facebook that said this: “my dad never complimented me, never told me good job and he prepared me for life’s lessons that life was hard and I thank him for it.” Now, I’m glad this man doesn’t have any bitterness and can look back on his Dad with gratitude, but let me be clear, if that is success and preparation for life, I would rather be an abject failure. As I read that and thought about what life lessons I want my boys to "get," I realized how important it is to me that they know just how I really feel and think about them.   So, for his big 16 year old birthday,  I wanted to write my oldest son and publically tell him that I am indeed proud of him and I am thrilled that he is my son.


For some reason turning 40 didn’t bother me the way people said it would and,  going beyond 40 hasn’t bothered me (at least emotionally)... but you turning 16 has bothered me a great deal.  I guess when I look back at things in my life I can say “I was about 13 or 14 when I did that” but, for some reason from 16 years old on,  I can remember things very clearly. I guess I also really don’t believe you should be 16 already.  I know that sounds crazy to you now -  it did when my parents told me stuff like that, but for some reason life goes into super fast forward when you have kids. I remember thinking 16 would never arrive for me, and yet now I wonder if someone could tell me some secret to slow time down.

 From the time we brought you home from the hospital (when I couldn’t believe they would actually trust your Mom and I to bring you home), to your 16th birthday, I have always been amazed that God blessed me with you. We gave you your name as I was preaching through the book of Joshua and I fell in love with the passion, leadership and character of Caleb.  His name means loyal and the life you are living at the present time certainly displays that you are living up to your name. There have been so many little things that God has placed in you that demonstrate your character; from the way you treat others to your sense of responsibility.   One thing that has stood out to your Mom and I was that from the time you were toddler you gave everything away. You gave toys to your friends every time they came over and you gave all your money away.  Your Mom and I started to correct you by telling you that you didn’t have to give things away to make friends, only to realize as we talked and prayed for you, that God was developing a sweet giving spirit in you that He has used to teach me more about giving. God is still developing that in you for His glory - never neglect that in your life.

I have always been amazed by you in that as I taught you about manhood, whether we were going through a book or just talking, you have always been driven to become a man. In a culture where many 30 year olds are still striving for perpetual boyhood, you were and are striving for manhood and running towards it with full passion. Early on, in what was then your “playroom” and is now your “man cave,” we posted a definition of manhood from Men’s Fraternity. We talk about it quite often. ‘A Real man rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously and expects a greater reward. God’s reward.” As much fun as I have watching you compete against another young man to “tap him out,” and we often talk about  how “cool” and “tough” that is to do... but being a good fighter doesn’t make you a man, living a life to glorify God regardless of your circumstances, living out the definition you see every day on your wall, that is what makes a man.  The fact is that you are growing into that definition day by day, but it is my prayer that one day through God’s grace you live out that definition as you lead and love your wife and family.

I don’t want to go on and on (which I really could do) but know this, there are few joys in my life that I cherish any more than training you up to become a man. Our goal has never been to raise you, our goal has been to train you. People can raise tomatoes, they can raise animals, but something as high value as a son, must be trained. At times that training is painful for you and me, and at other times it is joyful for us, but regardless of the joy or pain it is one of the ultimate pleasures of my life to see you growing into a godly young man. I want you to know that I am proud of you - I never want you to question that. You can never say that you didn't hear "I love you" because I want you to know that every single day. You journey is far from being over, and I can only pray that God gives you the grace and desire to finish your course faithfully. But know this, as of today, June 17, 2014, based on your life and the verse below, your Mother and I are glad that God gave you to us as our son. Happy Birthday Caleb,  we love you so very much.

Prov. 23:24-25
“The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.” 

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