I have a very special connection with this child that made me a mommy for the first time. He is very much like me when I was a child, but he is also such an individual. I love him desperately and deeply. I want to protect him, but I also want him to experience life and make his own mistakes. I pray that he is able to learn some of the harder life lessons just by trusting his father and I, but I know he is so much like me that it is unlikely that will happen.
So, Logan, on your 13th birthday-here are some things I want you to know. Things I want you to carry with you and develop throughout your life.
- Be accountable. Take responsibility for your actions, even your mistakes. Fulfill your responsibilities and promises you make. Don't shirk your duty as a son, husband, father, brother, man of God.
- Respect authority. All authority. Even if you disagree with how your boss or teacher or supervisor wants something done, respect the position. That being said, never compromise on your morals. You know right from wrong, if it feels wrong-pray about it. Take it to God's word and seek His guidance. Bring it to your father or I and we will happily guide you to the best of our ability.
- Trust us. We love you and will always be in your corner, encouraging you, praying for you, guiding you to the best of our ability. I have learned from personal experience-parents get smarter as you get older. Truth be told, we have always been that smart, it just takes time for you children to realize it! We truly have your best interest at heart at all times and we are seeking God's guidance on how to instruct you. No one on this earth will ever love you the way we do.
- Work hard. Always give 100% effort in all you do. I know this has been a particular challenge for you and your father and I will continue to work with you to develop this character quality. It is so important to be known for having a good work ethic. It will take you far in life if people know they can always count on you to do a good job.
- Be honest. Always tell the truth. No exceptions. That is all.
- Surround yourself with the right people. Choose your friends wisely, they can have a huge influence on your life-good or bad. Specifically, surround yourself with godly men in the spirit of iron sharpens iron.
- Choose purity. I know-this is really uncomfortable, especially coming from Mom. I will keep it brief....save that most intimate of moments, that most intimate part of you, for the woman you will spend your entire life with. You deserve it. She deserves it. God commands it.
- Cherish your siblings. Your sisters (and any future siblings) have been with you almost your entire life. There is no one who knows you better, loves you more, or knows more of your secrets-so be careful, treat them well! All joking aside, your sisters will learn how a man is to treat a woman by your example, make sure you set the bar high. Protect them, insist they cherish themselves the way we cherish them. Don't let them settle for less than they deserve. Know who they are friends with and who they are courting. Get to know their friends and more importantly, get to know the young men they are interested in. Treat your sisters well so that when you share your opinions, they will value them appropriately.
- Walk closely with God. Your relationship with your Heavenly Father should be the most important one in your life. Spend time with Him daily. Pray, talk to Him, share with Him. Come to us with questions, talk to us about your walk. We want to know where you are, even if it is not where you want to be.
- Be gentle. Be strong and manly, but temper it with gentleness. Especially with the women in your life. Gentleness is necessary to communicate in and intimate way that transcends general conversation. Gentleness does not equal weakness.
- Choose joy. You know how important this is to me. This is our family motto-CHOOSE JOY and LOVE IS EVERYTHING. Every day, every moment, in every situation you have a choice. Choose joy.
- Take care of your body. Learn to exercise self-control when it comes to your physical health. Eat a salad every now and then, choose water instead of soda, take a walk instead of playing the X-box. I know we have not been the best examples of a healthy lifestyle, but I am hopeful that you can break the cycle. We are in this together and will support you in whatever you choose to do in order to take care of your body.
- Forgive quickly. Be patient. There are very few things that are "unforgivable". Remember that we are to forgive others as God forgave us. I know I have been forgiven abundantly by my Heavenly Father. You never know how long you have with a person here on earth, don't waste time holding grudges. Forgiveness has very little to do with the offender, it is an action that frees the offended from the chains of anger and frustration. Bitterness only destroys the vessel that contains it, don't let anger and bitterness destroy you from the inside out.