In 2010, as my three daughters were preparing for kindergarten, 1st grade, and 4th grade, I wrote them this letter because I wanted to engage my children, even at this young age, with some key character principles that will help them eventually be the people God wants them to be. I pray it will be helpful to you as you seek to strategically invest in this next generation.
August 12, 2010:
Well, girls, it’s time to start school. Wow, you are growing up fast!
As you start school, I want to provide for you some rules that I pray you will follow.
Be kind to everyone and treat them with respect.
In school, you will be tempted to be mean to people. There will be times when people will have toys that you want, they will get more attention from the teacher, they will do something better than you, or you just simple won’t like them. You will be tempted to be mean to them. Don’t! Remember how kind and patient God has been to us and be kind to others.
Do your best at everything you do.
In school, sometimes we have to do things that we don’t like. We have to study and read. We have to think. But remember, your teacher is having you do these things for a reason and with everything we do, we are to do it for the Lord. Colossians 3:17 says we should do everything to honor Jesus as if we were doing it for him.
Don’t worry about fairness.
In school, as in life, things are not always fair. There will be times when someone cuts in front of you, or takes your spot, or get credit for something you did. Those things will happen. Don’t let it bother you and don’t worry about fairness. You do your best and let God take care of the rest. You are a beautiful, smart girl with a great smile and personality. Don’t let your circumstances frustrate you.
Remember that you are an incredible kid. God has blessed you with wonderful looks, a wonderful mind, wonderful talents, and a wonderful family. Some of the kids you will hang out with will be jealous of you. Some will want to be like you and look up to you. However, you will not always know that and you will be tempted to look at the people you think are special and want to be like them. Don’t try to be like them; just be yourself. Be the person God made you to be. I promise, in the end, you will have more true friends than you can imagine, and people will want to follow you.
Choose your close friends carefully.
Yes, I want you to be friendly to everyone, but choose your close friends carefully. Friends will have a great influence in your life. They will tend to become more like you and you will tend to become more like them. You don’t want a friend that will tempt you to do the things that you know are wrong. You don’t want a friend that will threaten to quit being your friend if you don’t do what they want you to do. You want a friend that will accept you for who you are.
Live for Jesus
I pray that you will be a light for Jesus, that you will live for him, and tell others about him. Hope is only found in Jesus. Remember that. Also, remember that we have an enemy in Satan and he wants to destroy you. He will use your friends to tempt you to do wrong. People will make fun of you and try to pressure you into doing wrong. Don’t let them. Stand your ground. I promise, in the long run, they will respect you and want to be like you.
I love you girls. Thanks for being my daughters. It is a privilege to be your dad.