I love being a father. I really do! What’s more, as stated in a recenet post about a dad to be, I want to be a successful father. I strive to be a dad who cultivates an environment within our home that is conducive to seeing our kids grow and develop into mature, successful adults. To me, cultivating such an environment is a major key to success for fathers.
Speaking of keys to success, another habit that is a key to success for fathers is writing a personal letter to your kids on their birthdays. I practice this habit and it has proven to be very significant to both my kids and me. In fact, my kids have save each letter and pull them out from time to time to read the different thoughts and ideas I have shared with them throughout the years. If you’re interested, you can check out the theme of the letters I wrote a few years ago.
Last year was a big birthday for my son. He turned 16 years old. I asked Chris if I could share the letter I wrote him and he said, “Of course!” So enjoy this gift from my son to you.
And again, if you’re a father, I cannot recommend this practice highly enough. It’s a simple practice, but one that is a significant key to success for fathers everywhere.
By the way, my kids’ birthdays are just around the corner, so it’s time for me to sharpen my pencil again!
January 28, 2012
Happy birthday, Christopher.
This is a big one…16 years old. Wow!
This year, I’m going to keep it simple. Here are 16 hopes I have for you as a father, in no particular order.
- I hope you will continue to be a fully devoted follower of Christ throughout your entire life. Okay, while the rest of these 16 hopes are in no particular order, this one is first and foremost in my mind. The reason is simple—nothing is more important in life than following Christ.
- I hope you will lead your life from quiet. We make thousands of tiny decisions every day. Some good; some bad. Some move us closer to success; some lead us further away. One way to make sure we stay on track despite all the ups and downs is to take time everyday to lead our lives from quiet. I do this by taking time most mornings to read the Bible, pray, read personal development books, and think about how to best navigate life. My hope is you will develop similar habits that will help you lead your life from quiet.
- I hope you get the “BIG is Little and Little is BIG” principle working for you instead of against you. As we’ve discussed many times, this principle is always at work, and it can either work for you or against you. So remember, if you want the positive “big” things in life, you have to do the right “little” things day in and day out. If you do this, it’s almost guaranteed that you will experience the positive “big” things life has to offer.
- I hope you will always take 100 percent responsibility for your life. Remember, successful people embrace an E+R=O lifestyle, not an E=O lifestyle.
- I hope you will always honor and respect women. What’s more, I hope I have modeled how to do this by the way I love, honor, and respect your mom.
- I hope you marry well. Besides your decision concerning Christ, there is no greater decision you will ever make in life than who you marry. I hope you are wise when you make that choice and that you will marry someone who embraces the same life values as you. Then, I hope that you will work hard to make your relationship with your spouse second only to your relationship with Christ.
- I hope you will live a well-rounded life. I hope you will work hard to create a healthy environment for your family, that you will find work you love, that you would serve your community, that you would stay physically fit, and that you will always strive to grow and develop as an individual. This type of well-rounded life takes work, but the effort is definitely worth it!
- I hope you will put passion before money when it comes to work. Yes, you have to pay your bills, but I hope you will pursue work you enjoy and are passionate about over trying to make big bucks. If you do this, you will find work so much more enjoyable and meaningful. Plus, you’ll likely make more money as well. Again, I hope I’ve modeled this reality for you.
- I hope you will consistently learn to balance confidence and humility. In my book, the combination of these two positive character traits is so rare in a person. Both will serve you well in life.
- I hope you’ll do the opposite of what most people do in life. As Earl Nightingale said, “If you want to be successful in life, simply watch what most people would do in a given situation, and then do the total opposite—nine times out of ten, you’ll receive greater rewards.”
- I hope you never go into debt for silly things. Using debt to buy liabilities like cars or clothes is absolutely silly. I hope you’ll live a life free of silly debt. Also, if you ever do use debt for certain assets like buying a house, I hope you are wise and treat it carefully. A good rule of thumb is this: Treat debt like fire. Be careful and cautious because debt can get out of control quickly and end up destroying your life.
- I hope you smile and laugh a lot. This is one of your most distinguishing and attractive characteristics. You truly are a joyful person!
- I hope you always stay curious. Again, this is one of your most distinguishing characteristics. You love to learn new things. Don’t ever lose this.
- I hope you always pursue integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
- I hope you will treat others the way you want to be treated. Enough said.
- I hope you will always be you. As I always say, if I could pick any boy in the world to be my son, I’d pick you. My hope is that you will always pick “you” too!
I love you son and am very proud of who you are and the man you are becoming. Keep living it forward in the most important roles of your life. Happy birthday!