Son, for far too many years of my life, I could not comprehend the value of working with people. It was silly, immature, and counterproductive. Everywhere you go in life, be it school, church, university, or career, people will always be involved. In most cases they will be the gatekeepers to things you want like jobs, money, grades, companionship, marriage, sex, and kids. People are made by God, for His purposes, and when we value them the way He does, there is this joy that comes into our lives--as well as theirs. This is also one of the huge dividing lines in the world-views that set people apart in this life. One value system esteems people, encourages them, helps them grow and become independent, challenges them in healthy ways to walk, then run. Other value systems ask people to see themselves not as individuals but as pieces of some sort of collective, incomplete on their own, and constantly dependent on draining resources of others--especially those that do not belong to them. In our home you will be rewarded for achieving success, and you will encouraged to give from your success into those who have not had the advantages you will have had. Your mother and I pledge our unending support in assisting you to find that charity.
3. Forgive completely, As you will be...
In the days to come little man, your brother--who's two years your senior--will likely have times when he is not the ever-dearest-angel that we thought he first might be when he was your age. He may get territorial about his stuff, and sadly, you will have a lot of things handed down to you that were once his. Please understand that your mother and I are going to keep him in check, but there may be times when he wrongs you. And let me assure you of something else--there will be many more thousand who definitely will wrong you over the course of your life. Son, learn to be long-suffering when people are unfair, but more importantly be quick to forgive when they admit their wrong doing. And I don't mean - forgive them in word, but secretly hold the grudge to grind the axe the next time. No! Forgive! Let go of the hope to insure that they face the wrath or judgment you believe them to be worthy of and allow for God to work in you, to build character, and to grow your faith in Him, and those who love you. For this is also true, there will be many times when you too will miss the mark, and in your home you will be forgiven quickly, and you will be encouraged to change course. Your mother and I pledge our unending support in assisting you to find (and give) forgiveness quickly.
4. Be measured by merit...
In the world you are being born into, there's a lot of psycho-babble that's more or less hogwash. Our president, congress, and much of the two political parties work regularly to assure people that mediocrity isn't a crime. But in our home--it will be. God did not create you, give you skills sets and interests, passions, desires, and abilities to watch you almost do something swell. I hope my son to demonstrate by example the meaning of a day's work, and what it means to succeed through the effort of excellent ethics. I want you to never be afraid to be the one the buck stops with, because you've been prepared, you've done the work, and you did it better than anyone else. You don't hear this from the leaders of our times, but the marketplace pays for value, and it is up to you to demonstrate--through your own toil and sweat--the value you bring to that marketplace. Your mother and I pledge to assist you in measuring your success by the ethic of your effort.
5. Be afraid to follow, never to lead...
Son, in the very week of your birth, our nation's highest leaders demonstrated for the world to see with their own eyes, what little to no value there is in people who "lead from behind." In short there is no value. There is danger, there is abdication of responsibility, and there is a degree of cultural and political popularity for those who do refuse to lead. Measuring statements to never be too controversial, measuring actions so as to attempt to appease everybody--rather than measuring them on the basis of right vs. wrong, this is the very definition of modern day leadership. Yet it confines those caught under such "leaders" to an outlook of dismal futures, lessened hopes, and it keeps alive the worst form of bigotry, the kind that comes with low expectations. In the end son, you and your brother will have significant expectations put to you as you are being raised. The hope in doing so is that you undergo training to become a self sufficient thinker, and ultimately someone other people turn to for answers on the biggest questions facing your generation. I don't care if you ever become President. But I want very much your thinking abilities to be so clear that all who come into contact with you recognize the gift you've been given in the area of clarity. Your mother and I pledge our unending support in helping you obliterate confusion, and pursue clear thinking.
Son it is with great sadness that I felt compelled to have to issue these encouragements to you. Yet if you adopt them I will not regret it for a moment.
The days that lie in wait for you are filled with problems that experts will argue require sophistication. In reality that's just the intellectual elites' way of saying, "they have no clue." You will be given a different gift than them, and in return Jonathan Stephen McCullough you will be required to recognize it and put it to use.
For God did not give you to a family who does not care, and is not engaged.
Rather you have been given a haven of protection, training, and wisdom that few of your generation will know. It is our greatest joy to give it. It will be our lasting joy to see it at work in your life.
For we love you with all we have baby boy, and God willing, you will know that very, very, soon!