Today is my son’s birthday. Unfortunately, he is at Boy Scout camp. It is his first time away from me or my wife for that long and it is his first time away from us on his birthday. Last year he celebrated his birthday at camp as well, but I was there with him. However, now that he is a Boy Scout he needs to begin to spread his wings away from me and my wife and this is one of those first steps. It was a hard decision, especially seeing as he didn’t want to go to camp at all. However, as his dad I made a “tough love” decision to make him go. It was something he needed to do, not only for his Scouting efforts, but for his young man growth path that he needs to be on.

D, I love you more than you will ever know. My job as your father is to love you for your own good, not mine. If I do my job correctly you will not need me. You will not look back and you will have the skills to persevere, flourish and prosper for all the days you live. You will serve our God and you will be bold in the way you live your life.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” — Genesis 2:24

I will pour into you the skills my dad shared with me. I will impart the painful lessons I learned minus the pain. I will continue the faith legacy that was begun many generations ago passing on the faith of Christ and teaching the ways of our Lord God.

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” — Deuteronomy 11:18-19

And while I love you dearly and would do anything to protect you, the world is not like that. Therefore, I need you to grow to be able to protect yourself. I need you to be tough because quite often others aren’t and you might be called to protect the weak…. or to fight them (remember, bullies are weak, not strong).

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” — Edmund Burke

I need you to grow into a man of character whose heart is after God’s, whose commitment is to your wife and whose sacrifice is to your family. It will not be easy and you will quite likely be assailed by society, culture and others. However, do not let anyone snuff out the light that is in you. God gave you unique skills and talents to use for His glory. It is your job to put those to use, not for you but for Him. You were wonderfully made and can do anything when aligned with God, petitioned in prayer and powered by the Holy Spirit.

I am proud of you — who you are, the path you have taken, the young man you are developing into, the people you have served, and the road you have in front of you. You are in my prayers daily, as is your future wife, your children and their children. Be prepared and soak up the journey.

Happy birthday and I love you!!!!!