A letter to my son on his sixteenth birthday

It’s my eldest son’s 16th birthday today. Being a Smiths fan I had to sing him “Half a Person”. If you know the song, you’ll get the joke. If you don’t look up the lyrics.

I’m a little reluctant to share parenting stuff because I feel like I’m always on a journey with my parenting, and I’m a bit hesitant to dispense advice.

That said, I make a point (most years) to write my children a letter on their birthday. I thought I’d share this one because I think many of you that I’m connected with will find it encouraging.

Dear Isaac,

It’s been a blessing having you around for the past sixteen years. I praise God for all the time we’ve spent together. The laughter, the tears, the good days, and the not-so-good days. 

You’re just about a man now, and as Paul says “when I became a man, I put away childish things…” This doesn’t mean you should be somber, but you should be sober (self-controlled). It doesn’t mean that you don’t have fun, but that you should take delight in God, and in pursuing the greatest command of loving him and loving others. 

At the last conference, your takeaway was to consider others better than yourself. You do this practically as you seek to serve, and not to be served. This is true leadership. You do this as you speak the truth in love. You do this as you show mercy, and seek to build others up.  These are the things that spiritual adults do, and this is what you should continue to pursue. 

A warning and this will be even more true as you get your driver’s license and gain more independence. Watch out for the adulterous women who would tempt you with winning words to follow them into defilement. Be aware of the evil men who like to band together and gang up on the weak. Be your own man before God, not following any crowd, but imitating Christ, and those who are his disciples. 

Stay in the Word. It’s a lamp to your feet and light to your path. Allow the Lord to speak to you and through you. In these days, God wants to raise up young men who see visions (Acts 2:17-21). The Scriptures can give you vision and understanding, and you can, by God’s grace, share that with others. 

Stay humble before God, and commit your ways to Him. Trust in Him with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight. Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and depart from evil (Proverbs 3:5-7).

Finally, keep seeking God for three things: 

  1. His spiritual call in your life: Ask: How can I continue to make a contribution in the House of God as a Priest? What is my spiritual gift? 
  2. Your vocation: Ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance for school and your career following school. The purpose of your career is to provide for yourself and for others. Your career doesn’t define you, and it should not take away from your service to God, but it is something to consider. Useful work is a key part of being a man. Think about a job that helps to solve people’s problems and adds value to people. 
  3. Your relationships: First, seek out other men, young and old, who you can stand with and walk within this journey from earth to heaven. Second, seek the Lord about marriage. He may not want you to get married, or it may not be for a while, but ask the Lord (if it’s his will) to lead you to a godly woman, with whom you can serve the Lord. 

There is much more to say, but I will bring it to a close. Mamma and I rejoice in the privilege of being parents. We are thankful for you and pray that you will grow in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Seek and you shall find. So keep seeking Christ! 

Happy Birthday,