To my first born son,
Within 24-48 hours of the publication of this column, you sir, will be born. It will be the beginning of your journey. For the first few precious hours, then days, weeks, and months your eyes will pop with excitement at the introduction of any new thing. Yet for all the innocence you will hold for this world around you, sadly, it will do precious little to save of any for you. Like every other child, you will have questions. And perhaps for more reasons than most, you will be leveled with expectations. Do not be discouraged by that reality though. Those who expect little or nothing of their lives, more often than not, find it.
Since it is my charge before God to teach and train you, I thought it might be best to explain the way things work in our home. There are a handful of truths you will want to know. For when you operate within them, life for you will be good in every way. Stray from them, son, and you will be in peril. As your father, it is my foremost responsibility to teach you discernment. Deciphering wisdom from every situation in life, by God's grace, I will help you choose the outcome with the best results. Knowing this, please understand that I give you these ideas with the intention of unlocking your potential to radically impact the world you will someday inherit.
1. There IS a God...
Though your mother and I will do all we can to give you the fundamental foundation of your faith, there will be mighty forces at work in academia, pop culture, government, and even some claiming to be "Christians" that will attempt to argue this fact. On your college campus, in the first 12 weeks of your freshman year, more than one tenured professor will mock this truth. They will do so to intimidate you into renouncing what is the most important reality of all time. You will not falter, because God will have answered the prayers of your mother and I many times over and you will have living proof as well as historical heritage that God is real, active, and involved in the events of your life.
2. You are responsible for your actions, success, and failures...
By the time you turn legal age, the United States may or may not have turned their back on the concept of "individual responsibility." We are in a race against time, and powerful men in the halls of elite places seek to defeat this most American and Biblical of all truths. They are, even as I write to you, penning legislation to allow others to "care for" you because they wish you to believe that you cannot care for yourself. By insuring your dependency upon their "collective" they will have the ability to control most of the choices for your life. They will attempt to rob you of your opportunity at success. Yet in the end, you will come to know this idea more thoroughly than anything else (and mostly because I will repeat it to you beginning the day of your birth), "Your choices will determine your future, and no one else can decide that for you." Because of this reality, you will never be allowed to complain about living life as a victim, even if you are. For history is changed by those who overcome the steepest obstacles, not the ones who succumb to them.
3. Your word is all important...
Son, there will be few things you will ever get deeply in trouble for. I know this because your mother and I will simply never allow you, from your earliest stages of life, to set in to place patterns of behavior to empower it in you. From the earliest stages of being able to communicate, you will be expected to tell the truth transparently, and in return, we will always be honest and straight forward with you. Because this will be our agreement, you will come to know early in life that trust is a valuable thing. You will know that there is nothing you cannot be totally honest about with us. And you will know that our love for you will be best evident by giving you sound advice, gut feelings, and honest observations. Honesty, Transparency, and Integrity will be the bare minimum of what you will be expected to contribute to our family, and in return you will have the safest and most joyous place in all the world to call home.
4. Admit faults quickly...
No matter how much we may wish you to be the perfect son, we know you will not be. In fact, if parents reap what they've sown as children, then there may be significantly more challenge to you than anything we'd prefer. But that's okay. For we will never expect perfection from you. And in those moments where your actions have disappointed us, and even yourself, if you will tell the truth, come clean quickly, and begin to run the other direction (away from the poor decision), we assure you that you will thrive in life twice as effectively as anyone growing up in your era. Giving an honest and sincere apology is one of the hidden secrets to a life well lived.
5. Clarity trumps unity...
My son, there will be many in this world who will attempt to force you into conformity of ideas, behaviors, and principles that will go against the conscience God has given you, and will violate the sense that your mother and I will live out for you. From nearly the day you are born (tomorrow) to the first time you are old enough to read this (and well beyond), the progressives in our world will try to fill your head with lies, half-truths, and deceptions that they hope will cause you to question your beliefs, your God, and your mother and I. From this letter alone they will argue that there is no God, that no one in life can truly be accountable for their own actions, that telling the truth is of little importance, and to never admit when you're wrong. But son. remember that 98% of those in this world who do so will live with tortured souls, haunted by the truths they've ignored, and burdened with the webs upon webs of lies that they are not capable of setting themselves free from. Son, you're not born to be part of the 98%. You've been given this time on earth to be part of the 2% who did it differently, took a stand for what was right, and knew great peace and contentment as a result of doing so.
My son, James Kevin McCullough, born on April 26th 2010, you, sir, are called to know the truth, to live it out, and to encourage others with it. Your decision to seek clarity in life will never go unrewarded, and you could accomplish nothing more in life that would satisfy your mother and I.
After two miscarriages, months of wondering, and 41 weeks of pregnancy we are ready to welcome you into our home.
Our pledge to you is that after eighteen years, we will have poured all we could into you so that you don't merely exist, but genuinely... really... truly... live!