My youngest brother, Tim, turns 18 today. He is the youngest of 8 children, and is officially recognized as a legal adult.
Tim was the last child from my childhood, and now he’s legally allowed to smoke, gamble, go to strip clubs, and (gasp) vote! Pretty crazy stuff!
Anyway, it got me thinking about becoming a man, and what that really means to me. And, since I’m 11 years his senior, it also has me thinking about how much I still need to learn. I originally started out writing a short note to him with only 1 or 2 pieces of advice, but as you can see it started expanding exponentially from there. So here are some things I’m still learning about what it means to be a man:
- A man is more concerned with what he can contribute than what he can gain.
- He has experienced forgiveness, and knows that those who have been forgiven much are that much better equipped to pass forgiveness on to others.
- He knows that he is strengthened by difficulties more than good times, and is sharpened by conflict more than coexistence.
- He gains a good woman’s heart by showing selflessness, demonstrating care, and providing security. He leads gently, listens intently, and speaks to show love rather than to inform.
- He knows that being a “sensitive guy” means being sensitive to the needs and feeling of others; not being selfish and over-emotional.
- He is slow to anger when he is wronged, but quick to defend others.
- He speaks tactfully, but can receive a blunt word.
- He knows that being responsible is less about what you can do, and more about what you choose not to do.
- He knows that no amount of talent, charm, attractiveness or attention makes a person special. It’s the small, often quiet, sometimes unseen, special deeds that make a special person.
- He knows that humility isn’t spending more time thinking low thoughts of himself. He knows that humility is spending more time thinking of others.
- He knows that children learn from example, and teaches by his lifestyle more than by his words.
- He knows that truth is something worth pursuing, even if others don’t like it. Even if he doesn’t like it. Truth doesn’t need to be approved in order to be true.
- He knows that, while truth is good, it’s okay for some things to remain a mystery. He knows that knowledge can puff up, but love builds up.
- He knows that love is the ultimate pursuit. It covers over a multitude of sins and divisions and brings us closer in relationship and likeness to God.
- He knows that being a man after God’s heart doesn’t mean being perfect; it means knowing God’s heart… and going after it.
Like I said… I’m still working on most of these things, but I figured the more stuff I can throw at Tim in his early stages of manhood, the better. Lord knows I was a complete moron when I was 18, and would have benefited from applying a lot of this stuff much earlier in my life.
Since it is Tim’s birthday, I’d just like to say to him:
Congratulations on being an adult now! You’ve been given an incredible advantage over many others your age: You have a strong foundation provided by two parents who love you and demonstrate God’s love with their lives.
You know God.
You’ve done stupid stuff, and have learned from it. You’ve done good stuff, and have seen the blessings that come from that. You’ve been forgiven, and it has made you a better forgiver. You are loved, and it has made you better at loving others.
You’ve invested your natural talents and turned them into hard-earned skills, which you’ve used to bless and teach others.You can read more about this on riversidefamchiro.com
I hope you continue to experience God’s mercy and grace, and share God’s love every chance you get.