A Father’s Prayer

This prayer was written by General Douglas MacArthur. I first came across it while reading MacArthur: America’s General by Mitchell Yockelson. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds: a son who will know Thee—and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm: here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”

My Son, the Con Man

My 2.5-year-old son is a con man. Seriously.

This morning he had donuts and juice for breakfast. He then opened the fridge, found a sleeve of fun-size Kit-Kats and used his puppy-dog eyes and pathetic voice to get one of those. A few minutes later this conversation took place:

Elijah: “Daddy, I’m already hungry.”
Daddy: “You’re hungry already?”
Elijah: “Me too! Let’s have cookies!”

This time his charm didn’t work, which caused a small temper tantrum until he realized that wouldn’t work either.

A few minutes later he was laying on the floor playing with some toys and decided he wanted his mommy. When commanding her to come didn’t work, he pulled out his favorite trick: pretending he wants a hug. Continue reading My Son, the Con Man

Things I’ll Miss about New Jersey, Part 3: My Dad

For as long as I can remember I have idolized my dad. My mom would bring us to church when we were kids, but I never wanted to be there because dad wasn’t. I would rather have been home, doing yard work and watching sports with him. When I finally became receptive to the gospel and eventually came to faith, it was only because my dad had started going to church and was headed down the same path. If church was something my dad was doing, then I was going to give it chance.

I’m still not sure how, but my dad somehow managed to work crazy long hours in order to earn enough money to provide us with all the advantages he didn’t have as a kid growing up in a large family, yet still have time to spend with us and make us feel loved. I remember my dad leaving for work early and coming home late, but he was never an absentee father. I’m sure that he sacrificed sleep and time for himself to make sure that he didn’t sacrifice time with us. All of my best memories as a kid revolve around my dad: playing football in the front yard, vacations in New Hampshire and Ocean City, MD, opening copious amounts of presents on Christmas without ever even having to make a Christmas list because dad always managed to pick out exactly what we wanted.

playing football with my dad and sister

Continue reading Things I’ll Miss about New Jersey, Part 3: My Dad

Daddy, happy

One of the words my son has picked up recently is “happy.” He learned it from Veggie Tales. Not just the word either; he has learned the concept of happiness. In one of the Veggie Tales videos, one character asks another, “What makes you happy?” My son turned to my wife and said, “Juice happy.” My kid loves his juice … to the point that he identifies it as something that makes him happy.

taking a walkThe other day he and I went on a walk (or to be more accurate, he made a run for it getting out of the car after church, and I followed). After walking for 10 or 15 minutes, he turned to me and said, “Daddy, happy.” I asked, “Taking a walk makes you happy?” and he said, “Yeah.” The next day we went for another walk (this one was planned) so I asked him, “Are you happy?” and he said, “Happy of course.”

Besides being really tender moments for a father and son to share, these moments comfort my heart a little when I think about moving him half a country away from the life he knows. I worry sometimes about removing him from his grandparents, the church he knows, the people and environment he’s comfortable with. It’s good to know that he finds happiness in simple things like taking a walk and spending time with his daddy, things that won’t change just because we’re moving.

Things I’ll Miss about New Jersey, Part 1: Giants Games

In The Emotionally Healthy Church, Peter Scazzero makes the point that we often do not properly grieve the losses in our lives, and this hinders our ability to effectively minister to others. I’m excited about moving to Baton Rouge, and I’m confident that it’s what I need to do. However, I also understand that in doing so, I’m leaving behind almost 30 years of history, and that I need to recognize the drastic change this will cause in my life so it doesn’t become emotional baggage later on. So I’ll occasionally be writing about the things about life in New Jersey that I’m sad about losing, with the first installment being Giants games.

with my mom and my siblings at the first regular season game at Met-Life Stadium

My family has had season tickets to the New York Giants for decades. My dad took me to my first game when I was four, and over the past quarter century, the only year I didn’t attend a game is the year I spent as a missionary intern in Russia. Giants Stadium was a home away from home for my siblings and me in our childhood. Fall afternoons were spent tailgating in the parking lot with our extended family and strangers who became something like family just from always tailgating in the same area (like the guy who gave us Devil Dogs before each and every game). Giants games were always the one thing that brought our family together–the one thing we all had in common. Continue reading Things I’ll Miss about New Jersey, Part 1: Giants Games