I knew this day was going to come, and I truly am happy for my daughter as she heads off to college to become her own person. However, there is some sadness that comes along with this as I will miss just being around her. She and I had a great moment together last night, and she was the one crying and didn’t want to let me go. As a father, it doesn’t get much better than that.
I have tried my best to prepare her for life, but knowing I will not always be around, I wrote her a 3 page letter with some last minute fatherly advice. Most of it was just for her, but here is a little I wanted to share:
Life is a series of moments that we stitch together that becomes the tapestry (just like Carol King’s song) of our lives, and if we chose wisely, we create something incredibly beautiful. What kind of father would I be to let you go and not give you a little parting wisdom? So here it goes:
- Trust God, and allow Him to guide your steps. Do not be afraid to let Him take you out of your comfort zone or even alter your path. It is good to chase your dreams, but don’t get so focused on the stuff you want that you can’t see what God has for you, because it is always better than our plans, even though it might not make sense at the time.
- Lead with love. You have always done this, and I admire you for your heart for others. You give freely of yourself, and that is an amazing and rare thing. I know you were concerned about being a push over, and I get there will be times you have to stand up for yourself. Choose those times wisely, and don’t see serving others or putting their needs before yours as weakness. That is who you are, and trust me, we need more people like you in this world.
- Believe in yourself even when no one else does. There will be times where people will try to break you down for their own selfish reasons, but rise above them and do it with hard work and humility.
- Finish strong. You should know this one by heart by now. I have preached this to you for years. Anyone can start something, but greatness is the ability to see it through and finish what was started. There will be times when something you have to finish might seem small, insignificant, or inconsequential, but if you are going to do it, be the best at it, and finish strong. Remember you are always being watched by people, not only for your career, but also for the way you live out your faith.
- Be happy. Choose joy! Every day when we wake up we have a choice as to how our day is going to go. Are we going to let the challenges and negativity of the world consume us or will we choose to be a light? I don’t always choose joy, so I am reminding you of this because as a father I want better for you as it truly makes your life better. People gravitate to those people who radiate their faith and make them feel better about themselves. You have that in you, so make sure you choose it every day. In the long run, you will never regret being kind to people and being generous regardless of what they choose to do with that.
- Finally, and most importantly, make sure you CALL YOUR MOTHER! She loves you more than life itself and is so happy for you, but this will be hard for her. There will be times when you need to call because you need her for something, but don’t forget to call just because you were thinking of her, because there are going to be times when she just needs to hear your little voice say, “I love you.”
I love you forever and always
So that was my letter to her, but what we did not know is she had done the same for us. Here is my wife reading the last little bit through her tears.