Just the other day, I was cleaning out some old files. You know, the ones that are so stuffed and jammed full, you shudder to even approach the cabinet where they make their home, least papers come flying out at you?!? Well, perhaps it was all this spring in the air, but the time was right…and I so thankful I did.

Because guess what I found?

A letter.

A letter from my father.

Not a note from a random birthday or another special occasion, but rather this letter was full of his random thoughts to me. As I held the words there on that piece of paper, it took me back to when I actually had received this letter. I remember how my heart had swelled to receive something special like this in the mail, but mostly I remember how my heart leapt because these words came from my father.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to your teenager?

I do not mean an email, a text or scribbled dinner directions left on the kitchen counter. When was the last time you actually sat down with pen and paper and reminded your teenager about who they are or how you are connected to them?

My husband teaches a class about fathers mentoring their sons into manhood, adulthood. One exercise he requires from time to time is to have the fathers write actual letters to their sons.

This exercise is intended to assist the Dads to see and name what they notice in their sons. But also, this process often reveals words that they as men, husbands and dads desire to hear as well.

It’s an incredibly beautiful process. For teenager…and for parent.

I thought it might be time you heard from another, what sons (and daughters) might just be longing to hear:

Dear Son,
As I look back on my life, I find a curious but clear pattern in my memories. As many
times as I have failed, as often as I have really blown it or messed up, the only ones that
stay with me as regrets are the ones where I violated my heart. I have concluded that in
the end there are no failures except the failure of character. Everything else is about
what you do, but failures of integrity are about who you are.

It is good to pause, remember who you are is continuing to become through the choices
that you make. The foundation of your beginning does not lie in this world, you were
born first from the love of your Creator and then through the human love of passion.

My Son, live your life with passionate abandon. Risk greatly, attempt great things and
never fear failure. Make opportunity your ally, just never, never compromise your
integrity which is the inner conception of your life where the fingerprints of God rest.
Guard your heart. Let who you are speak loudly and serve as your defining

No matter how hard you fall, the strength of your character will get you back on your
feet. Remember Christ Jesus is transforming you from the inside out, taking your heart
of stone and giving you the heart of God.

You will desire many things in this life, but above all else desire God. The integrity of
your passions will continue to lead you to the man I see you becoming.

Honor and love,

~ b.

(Letter adapted by Rick Patton from Erwin McManus materials, used with permission.)