My wife and I are blessed to have five wonderful children. Of our five children, four are sons. Recently, my family and I have entered a transition phase in our lives, and with transition comes reflection. I thought about my sons and if I were to sum up what I have tried to teach and impart to them, this would be my list of top ten principles and values:
1/ LOVE RADICALLY. Luke 10:27 says to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all yoru strength and with all your mind…” Put God first and foremost in you lives, then LOVE:
- Your wife as Jesus loves the Church – UNCONDITIONALLY
- Your family more than any occupation or career – YOUR FIRST MINISTRY
- The church that you are apart of – PARTNER WITH CHRIST AS A CHURCH BUILDER
- Your country – PROTECT THE LIBERTIES THAT I DEFENDED AND OTHERS PAID FOR
2/ YOU ARE STUCK WITH ME. As my sons, I want you to know that I will always be there for you. I raised you to be strong men with principles and opinions. Because of that, we don’t always see face-to-face and will disagree. No disagreement will ever come between us. Like it or not, you are stuck with me.
3/ CHIVALRY IS NOT DEAD. You are gentlemen and are always to act with courtesy, honor, generosity, respect, and valor. I charge you to:
- Fight for those who cannot defend themselves.
- Care for the orphans and widows as commanded by Christ.
- Open the door for others.
- Give your mom and wife flowers on special occasions.
- You walk closest to the street.
- Speak the truth at all times.
- Obey those placed in authority.
- Never turn your back on others.
4/ ACHIEVE THE IMPOSSIBLE. Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 With God, you have great potential if you will walk in faith to achieve the impossible. Fear is the great intimidator and will hold you back from fulfilling the purpose that God has for you. Fear limits your potential, while faith pushes the boundaries of possibility.
5/ TEARS ARE NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS. People cry for many different reasons. As I look back on my life, there have been very few times that I have cried. I had this perception that if I cried, I was somehow weak and not strong. Women cry, men don’t. This could not be farther from the truth. Whether tears come from joy, happiness, grief, or brokenness, they have a way of bringing an emotional freedom and release. Tears remind us of our humanity and let’s others know we care. The real fact is that real men do cry.
6/ SHAKE HANDS FIRMLY. Handshakes can tell alot about a person. A handshake for a man speaks volumes. Shake hands firmly. A firm handshake says I am a man, I am confident, trustworthy, and I am comfortable in my own skin. Make direct eye contact and be sincere.
7/ YOU ARE NOT DEFINED BY WHAT YOU DO. As men, I think this is one of the most difficult things to remember. What you do is not who you are, and you are not defined by it. You are who God says you are. What we do is an extension of our service to God as He calls and purposes. When we truly understand this, there will be no identity crisis that comes with uncertainty based on circumstances. Your identity is firmly in Christ.
8/ ITS OK TO FAIL. I love the fact that as I read the Bible, God chose to recount the lives of real people, who achieved much, and who failed greatly. David is a prime example of a man who achieved great success, and had great failure. God did not spare him of the consequences of his decisions, but still chose to use him in a mighty way. Jesus was the only perfect man to ever walk on the earth. Don’t set expectations of perfection that you will never achieve. You are human. Remember Pastor Jack would say “we are fallen creatures in a fallen world.” Take risks. Step out in faith. Don’t let fear rob you of your potential. Failure will come and when it does, it is your response that will determine your success. The key is to be teachable, learn, grow, and don’t make the same mistake twice.
9/ GREATER THINGS. Jesus says in John 14:12, “…whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” My heart is for you to do the greater things that Jesus declares that are available to you.
10/ REMEMBER MY NUMBER ONE RULE. Many of my years have been spent on the soccer field. I had the privilege of coaching almost all of my kids at some stage of their lives. I always had a number one rule for them and the teams that I coached. That rule: HAVE FUN!