Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Letter to My Son

This article contains my hopes and dreams for the raising up of my future sons. It is written as a letter from me to them.

My son(s),

I desire above all that you come to a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe, Jesus Christ. I long for you to know the joys of following in His footsteps. To know Christ and make Christ known is the greatest adventure a human being can undertake and if I could impart only one truth to you, it would be this: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” (See Ecclesiastes 12:13)

I desire to raise you up according to Biblical principles using texts from the Bible and the works by Micheal Pearl and Steve Maxwell to craft your training program.

I want to give you a love for reading. Nothing else on earth is quite like the joy of reading a great book. When you open the pages of “Pilgrim's Progress” or “Robinson Crusoe” you are taken on a fantastic journey through the epic struggles, falls, victories, and triumphs of the men of yesteryear. When a great man of old took up his stone tablet, his papyrus, or his quill, he is giving you a treasure drawn from his most precious possession, his experience. The most glorious gift God gives to you in your youth is your strength and the greatest gift of older men is their experience. If you learn from the sayings and writings of older and wiser men, you will gain the glory of both gifts. (See Proverbs 20:29) I hope to inspire you in your early years with the tales of the world's greatest men and their achievements so that one day you can yourself raise to join their ranks.

I would have you come to love history and biographies. Mankind faces similar problems every generation, and if armed with the wisdom of the past, we can overcome the problems of the future.

I would have you be as cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves. I desire to train you to honor those things that are worthy of honor and reject those things which are without worth. I want to train you to discern evil from good and choose to do right. (See Matthew 10:16 and Romans 12:21)

In your early years I want to instill a love in you for music. I want you to hear the Scripture songs of the “Dough-Nut Man” and the songs of family by Steve and Annie Chapman. I desire to hear you humming songs that praise the Lord. I would desire that you learn to make music and sing praise to the Lord with your voice or through piano, guitar, or other instruments. I desire that you learn to cry out to the Lord through prayer and song in times of joy or sorrow. I want to be able to see your face beam with joy at the “William Tell Overture” and your feet stomp with joy at the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

I desire that you will possess a “Protestant work ethic.” By this I mean that you learn to love hard work that pursues a great and noble goal. That when the time for godly duty calls, be it for your mother, your family, your education, or your country, you will throw yourself into the fray with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

I pray that God would grant you a vision. By this I mean that God would reveal to you the purpose for which He created you and that you would follow that vision with all your heart. For your grandmother, that vision was one of Homeschooling, of raising godly children at home. It is my goal to continue that vision in your lives.

You should always honor your mother and sisters and be kind to them at all times. It is the job of men to honor, protect, and cherish ladies as God's most beautiful creations and you can do no better than to start with your mother and sisters. The honor men give women is an ancient trust, handed down from the greatest of the knights and cowboys, with its oldest roots resting with Boaz in the book of Ruth and you would do well to follow in their footsteps.

I would have you boys to be hearty, healthy and fit so that you are ready to embark on whatever missions the Lord may choose to grant to you. I want your minds sharp and your bodies athletic. You are to present yourselves to the world in a manly fashion walking will full strides and erect posture. Nothing in this world looks worse than a slouching man unless it is a wet cat. Your handshake is to be hearty and firm without being hard and painful. A weak handshake is not an honor to a man. Grace of comportment and lightness of foot are to be trained with dancing classes and fencing instruction. Boxing and martial arts are excellent ways to train yourself in quickness of thought and action. Being able to talk about sports and compete in them is an important part of being a man, but that training of the body must be carefully balanced with the training of the mind and soul.

I would desire my sons to be problem solvers and critical thinkers. Too many people in this world have never felt the joy of organizing a project or solving a problem. Chess, Checkers, and Stratego are excellent games to promote this methodical way of thinking. I would desire you to be competent in the prominent technology of your day. In your Great Granddad Standridge's time, he figured out a way to install the first air conditioning unit ever installed in a car in the town of Lexington Oklahoma while in your Great Granddad Henry's day he invented a new cattle gate latch that would open from either direction. In my time it has been building my own computers and repairing other electronics. I would love to see you continue that legacy. In your early years, I hope you can join me in my love of LEGO blocks. Nothing is quite like creating anything you like with your own two hands.

Whatever it is that you come to do my boys, do it with all your might. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:29: “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.” No matter the political climate, no matter the economy, there will always be a place for a man who is skilled in his work.

When talking about movies, reading books, listening to music, speaking with people, I want you to learn to discern whether or not these people are speaking from a Godly or historical perspective or not. I want you to be able to tell good wisdom from falsehood. I desire to talk with you about these things and I am sure your mother will also. That is one thing I will always love about your Grandma Henry's home, is that we could always talk about anything. We could take a topic of any kind and pick it apart finding out the core moral of the idea at hand, and finding out if that agreed with Scripture and history or not.

I hope that you will have a love of nature and of the outdoors. God's creation has so much beauty for one to see if they will only look. A long hike followed by a picnic is great fun and a camping trip is a time of wonder. I desire that you be able to safely load, clean, shoot and care for firearms, knives, tents and other outdoor equipment. I want you to be able to safely ride bicycles, drive cars, operate ATV's, drive a standard, and operate a tractor and any other equipment you may encounter.

I desire that you know your way around the house. I want you to know how to wash dishes, run a load of laundry, and cook a full meal if need be. While these duties are commonly thought of as a girls domain, he-man soldiers the world over train regularly at these skills and so should you. It will give you an appreciation for the work your mother and sisters do and will make you self reliant.

I would desire that you be a researcher. If you do not know something, I want you to be able to find out that information. I want you to know how to use a library, how to use the Internet, and how to read instructions.

I want you to have an appreciation for art. Creativity and innovation are invaluable qualities to possess and art is a vehicle for both of these. Whether creating a blueprint for your next LEGO creation or painting a masterpiece of God's creation, I hope art will play a role in your life.

Having the ability to bring order to chaos is a skill that all boys should possess. Battles have been lost due to slipshod handling of something as trivial as a horse shoe nail. King Richard the Third mourned:

"For lack of a nail a shoe was lost."
"For lack of a shoe a horse was lost."
"For lack of a horse a soldier was lost."
"For lack of a soldier a battle was lost"
"For lack of a battle a war was lost"
"For lack of a war a kingdom was lost."
"All for lack of a nail."

Do your best to see that no “kingdom” in which you have a part is lost “all for lack of a nail.”

My son, the desire of my heart is to see you grow up and glory in the service of the King of Hosts. I desire you to have long life and see good days. I would like to draw this letter to a close by quoting a prayer from one General Douglas MacArthur to the Heavenly Father over his son.

“Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
Then, I, his father, will dare to whisper, have not lived in vain.”

I would like to close this letter with my own prayer for you.

Oh Father God, give him courage and strength to overcome all difficulties he may face. Please give him wisdom and ability in the way you would have him go. Please give him clear vision in the path of grace and the will to follow that path to the end. Please prepare Him as a golden vessel for service unto You. I desire that he be pure in heart and righteous in word and deed. Please give his mother and me the wisdom and ability to guide his footsteps in the way they should go. Please let him be a honor unto Your Name. Let him be trained as You see fit above all else. Let Your will be done in his life.

In Your Son's Name I pray,



Anonymous said...

Wow I do not know you at all, but any young lady will be fortunate to marry you some day! God bless! (Now if I only had a daughter, I might suddently find myself believeing in arranged marriages, lol)

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Kiery Deary said...

Seriosly, Mr. Henry, you haven't updated in almost a year. ;)

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Laura said...

This post blows me away. Wow. Such a vision in a young man is a beautiful thing to see and appreciate. This is powerful.

Anonymous said...

Amazing, sir! It's refreshing to find values like these presented with the plan to pass them on; I commend you!