I picture you twenty years from now, launching into a world full of adventure and choice, creating stories written in your own print and choosing partners to pen them with. By that age, your Dad and I will (most likely) find you (slightly) intolerable. Because, if you're anything like we were, you'll believe that you know more than your parents do about all things. I'll pray about that in advance...
Be amazed at the responsibility you're being allowed to manage. You'll also be more likely to rely on God for guidance, instead of relying on your own 20-something-year-old instincts.
You've informed us, at ages 4 and 6, that you want wives and kids someday. You've also let us know that you're planning to live here in our house so that you can keep using the pool. That's not happening, by the way. By the time you read this, I have no doubt that you'll think we have too many rules here anyway. Get a loan.
Imagine now, that future "you" has chosen a wife. Say you decide together that she'll stay at home with the babies to raise them. That special girl of yours, she's going to need care that you won't understand. Knowing you boys, you'll choose energetic, intelligent women to join our family. I can't wait!
But, know that the world is going to suggest to her that raising your babies won't be enough and that her education will be go to waste. Understand that they'll ask her questions like "when are you going back to work?" and "what do you do all day?" Believe that they'll judge her by how clean the house is and how "put together" your life looks on the outside. Be prepared when some shrug and ask, "how hard could it be to clean and spend the day with the kids?"
Be ready to stand up for her should the rest of your family or friends not understand your life choices. Don't be afraid to create the family you envision. Make priorities. Set boundaries.
As a leader of your home and an amazing support to your wife, it'll be up to you to determine the new standard by which your life will be measured. Measures. By what will her time at home be measured? Six years ago, it would have looked a bit different to me. After being home with the two of you, I'll share that success has begun to look more and more like this lately:
1. Walking through life peacefully and within the security of consistent teaching. Maintaining a prayer life and a confidence that we are loved by a big God who cares for us.
2. Connecting emotionally with others. Maintaining a healthy balance of hard work and rest, instead of constantly being overcommitted and distracted.
3. Nurturing a willingness to talk about the tough things the atmosphere of openness and love that's been established allows it.
4. Maintaining healthy boundaries while chasing exciting dreams. More importantly, cheering one another along to try new things and accomplishing those dreams.
5. Cultivating an attitude of wonder, "never-give-up", and lifelong learning. God is constantly speaking and we'll discover new joys our entire lives if only we're open to them.
Really and truly, your children won't remember whether you did laundry daily or once a week, only that you cared enough to do it. They won't remember if their play space was pristinely organized, only that they had fun. They won't care if dinner was gourmet or a simple baked chicken, only that you ate it together.
They'll remember if you were physically present but distracted. They'll remember being bathed in love and acceptance when you gave them access to your heart, mind, and focus. They'll remember whether or not there was any patience left for them at the end of a long day.
She'll carry the burden of shaping, teaching, and encouraging your children to be who God intended them to be. To learn and to grow, to become responsible and take pride in jobs well done. To make a beautiful, vital difference in the world. She'll take it more seriously than anybody else you could ever hope to hire for the job.
So please love her for it, and show her grace when she feels overwhelmed and not enough. Build her up, boys, and always remember, "A wife of noble character, who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.*"
Tell her that she's been given everything she needs to fulfill the exceptional job of motherhood she's been called to - whether she works in the home or outside of it.
Oh, and should you ever forget to remind her - and those nights with the newborn roll into months of her functioning sleepless and occasionally passed out on the couch, I simply suggest you sleep with one eye open.
I love you so and I'm praying for all of you "Wise Guys" out there,
2. Write a letter to them today!
"In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." Ephesians 5:28