I debated about posting this. I didn’t want to do it if it was only to “toot my horn.”
I’ve thought about it quite a bit since yesterday and I finally decided that this is just too important not to share.
My son sent me an e-mail yesterday that lifted me up, but brought me to my knees at the same time:
I want you to know that although I may have caused a lot of trouble for you, I really appreciate the way you raised me. I don’t know if I really show it all of the time, but I feel like I really owe a lot of who I am to how you brought me up. I have thought about this a lot before, and just never really thought about telling you. However, I was reading some of your blogs on your website and it just makes me proud to have a father like you. I always aspired to be like you. An honorable man of my word. You really are a rare breed and I feel as though you have raised me to be the same.
I just wanted to let you know that you are the person that I respect the most for everything that you have taught me and everything you have done for me. I know now how hard it is to be a father now and I REALLY hope that I can be one as good as you. I don’t know how to express the amount of appreciation and gratitude that I feel toward you, I only hope that my actions and life can live up to what you expect of me.
I don’t always have the same beliefs, and I know I have definitely said and done some very ignorant things in my short life already. I just want you to know that if I were to name the most significant influence in my life it would be you. I am considering many paths in my career to come, and I am still definitely going to graduate with a degree in music education, however I am still seriously considering a career in law enforcement. I am not sure why but I feel a calling of some sort to it. I have always been good under extreme pressure and I truly want to help people. I just hope that if I pursue law enforcement I won’t get bogged down by the bureaucracy and red tape.
Anyway, I am not sure what else to say. I know it is usually traditional for the parents to say that they are proud of their children, however in my hope that Savanna and my other children are appreciative of me, I want to say that I am proud of you and I hope it means something to you. I still think of the long nights of writing “I will not forget to do my homework ever again” and the long nights of arguing. Yet I understand now more than ever (being a parent myself (still really weird to say)) how much you care and cared for me.
I feel now like I am entering a very difficult stage in my life, yet I will never forget the lessons that you have taught me. And even though I have already said so much, I still feel like I haven’t gotten my point across, but I will leave you alone so you don’t have to read such ridiculously long email.
Thank you so much for bringing me up a man of honor. I respect you so much and love you even more. Sincerely and forever,
P.S. I got straight “a”s last semester in 11 classes and I now have a 3.6 overall gpa. In high school I fought for a 3.0 in my senior year. You inspired me and I hope you are proud of everything I have done. I will continue to strive to graduate with honors in college, knowing that you pushed me and taught me to do it.
The letter lifted me up because I’m thrilled to see what a good man my son has become. But it brought me to my knees because I feel so undeserving of such accolades.
I am painfully aware of my shortcomings as a parent. I know of many things that I could have…should have…done better, and I also know that there are probably many more that I’m not even aware of.
I’m a little embarrassed to put his letter out in public like this because I don’t feel like I deserve it. Sometimes I feel that my kids turned out the way they did in spite of me more than because of me. But I also know that I did my best. The mistakes I made were honest ones made because I just didn’t know any better at the time. I’m still learning and growing and figuring out how to be the man that I really want to be.
I’m proud of both of my kids. They have both grown into people that anyone would be proud of. They haven’t always made the decisions that I would have made, but they made the ones that were right for them at the time and they’ve both accepted responsibility for their decisions and where those decisions have taken them. What more could any parent ask for?
I guess my point is this: parenting is hard work. It’s full of struggles and heartaches and stresses and Pepto Bismol; but take heart: someday, God willing, you’ll get an e-mail or a phone call or a letter or a talk that goes something like the e-mail above and you’ll realize exactly how “worth it” it truly was.
Thanks Josh. I love you and I’m proud to call you my son, and my friend.