Cultivate Future Readers

Want to cultivate future readers, writers, and other creatives? Read, read, and read to you children.

It’s a near daily thing in our house. We read about five or six books at the start of the day. Usually, as he grabs them, runs up, and shouts, “Bookie!” as he holds it high.

Yes, my wife and I have read about Llama Llama more than any human being should. But that’s okay. He wants to read because we read to him and we make sure to act excited about it.

Read to your kids, grandkids, nephews, nieces, etc. The future world will thank you.

He looks like me…

We first saw our son on the ultrasound at 6-weeks. A tiny human being developing in what looked like a speck. Yet, his heart beat as a rapid flash on the screen, pumping blood to what would soon be arms and legs, a mouth, eyes, and a brain. We didn’t even know he was a he, but my imagination still soared–who would this child look like? What would his personality be?

We saw him again at 13-weeks. It was still too early to know his gender, but he looked clearly more like a human should. We saw his head and nose, and little arms and legs. Two months passed and we learned we were having a boy. A tiny person jumped and spun in black and white on the screen. Still, I wondered, What will he look like?

Nine months of wondering as he grew in the womb. When he was born, from the moment I first laid eyes on him, it was obvious: He looked like me.

This is not unusual, as many sons resemble their fathers. It’s still weird at times, though, staring down while I hold him in my arms, seeing a face that looks so familiar, sans age and a beard, yet belongs to someone else.

He looks like me and now I wonder how much he will act like me.

I ponder four decades, and there are plenty of highs yet also some deep lows. There are things I have done well, yet things I could have done much better or said better and people that I should have treated better.

I want him to have my strengths and avoid my mistakes.

Although, I know, even if he does, there will be plenty of mistakes he will make on his own.

But this is what fathering is, right? Guiding a child toward adulthood, my boy as he grows to be a man, trying to direct him to wise choices, to love people well, and to think more of others than he does of himself. Yet also seeing him stumble and fall, seeing him make mistakes–some that are new and some that seem all too familiar. But then offering him a hand to help him back up and keep pressing on to become the man he is meant to be.

He looks like me. At times, I’m sure, he’ll act like me for better or worse. My hope is he ends up a much better man than me.

landscape mountains sky water

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com
Photo used with permission: https://www.pexels.com/photo/landscape-mountains-sky-water-110573/

A Letter to My Newborn Son

Dear H,

Welcome to the world. Nine months of waiting and anticipating while you grew inside your mama, and now I’ve met you face-to-face. Your eyes have opened to the newness. You’re hearing things you’ve never heard before. Your tiny fingers get to grip mine.

I’m looking forward to seeing the person you’ll become–to meet your personality and help you discover your gifts and talents.

Three things that I wish for you as you grow and learn:

Be the best you you can be. The world can be a confusing place and a trying place. Sometimes it feels the easiest to conform and go with the flow–to be what other people want you to be. Honestly, though, that’s exhausting. Even if you match one person’s expectations, you’ll never match them all. God has given you your personality and abilities. Hone them and use them well. But be you. And if someone doesn’t like you, then smile, be kind, and keep being you.

Be the best you you can be in Jesus. The world can be a messed up place. But that’s not the way it was meant to be nor the way it will always be. God created us to be in a relationship with him, loving him, enjoying him, and loving others. But in a tale as old as humanity, we rebel against him and seek to live without him (or with our own tamed version of him). One day God is going to remake the world so there is no evil, death, or disease. Everyone there will love him, enjoy him, and love others without fail. The way we get there is through Jesus. He died and then, amazingly, rose from the grave to reverse our rebellion and set us right with God. If you trust in him, then he will take your heart, personality, and talents and use them in this life to love God, enjoy God, and love others.

Be the most loving you you can be. The world can be a cold place, a mean place. Though I use social media, I’m glad that I didn’t have to grow up in a world of social media. I was bullied at times and it was hurtful enough without a bunch of people piling on in a public forum. Some people hurt others because they have been hurt. They need compassion and grace. Some people hurt others because they’re just mean. They need compassion and grace. Some people struggle under the pain of hurt. They need compassion and grace. You can’t be everyone’s best friend, but you can be kind and loving to everyone you meet. Jesus overcame evil with love and he calls us to do the same. Some people are hard to love, and the Lord knows that I myself have failed plenty at loving others like I should. But if you make it your ambition to love well, even though you won’t be perfect at it, you’ll be able to make a little piece of the world just that much brighter. And it might even change the course of someone’s life or eternity.

I know right now that you won’t be able to read or understand a single word of this, at least for a while. That’s okay. Even if you never read these actual words, it’s going to be my job to help you learn these lessons. I pray that I do that well.

Love you Little Man.

Dad

I Feel Old (and young)

You’re only as old as you feel, they say.

I’m a year from forty and most days I feel well past that. I feel it in how much my body aches and how hard it is to lose weight. Things weren’t like this when I was in my twenties.

I feel old but I also feel young.

My wife and I are a few days away from having our first biological child. I’ve been a dad as we have fostered. I’ve ran around the yard and kicked soccer balls. I’ve crawled on the floor and given piggy back rides. And then I went for the medicine cabinet to get the ibuprofen, knowing that I’d be stiff in the morning.

And yet, here we are. I’m 39 and about to hold my newborn child for the first time. I have friends my age who are the parents of teenagers. I sometimes think that’s where I should be. A newborn just might kill me.

I feel old but I’m also about to become a baby boy’s daddy. I dream of holding him, praying over him, reading to him. I dream of helping him learn to roll over, crawl, and then walk. I dream of running around the yard with him, teaching him to ride his bike, and how to throw a football or kick a soccer ball.

I’m old enough to know that it all will fly by too fast, but, Lord willing, there’s a lot of life on this earth left to live.

My body will still ache more than it did in my twenties, but I feel young as I think about being a little boy’s daddy. I’ll just need to remember to stretch extra before giving his first piggy back ride.