I have long called my kids by numbers on social media posts. 8 years ago TC legally became our #1. TC. My most elderly child is going to a military program to finish up high school. He is 17. And that is super old.
I am 36. I think. Someone correct me if I am wrong.
I met TC when I was 26. He was adopted when I was 28 and he was 9.
When TC first came to live with us, he was a terror. A goofy, angry, furious, raging, terror. TC is a survivor. Dealing with some of the darkest parts of humanity as a child will alter the world view and create extreme compassion and bitterness, simultaneously. Which describes TC so well. We have witnessed healing and growth. But the scars remain, like so many of his former-foster-youth comrades.
And here we are, a few years later. And he is moving out. It went by so fast.
Even in deep-rooted, horrid, angry disagreements, there is no place for hate. There is always another side to hear. Another story to hash out. Your generation will never drive out injustice by drawing lines in the sand and touting obnoxious ultimatums. The resolution will almost always be found on the other side of a kind word, lovingly said and well received.
Even when the person doesn’t ask for forgiveness. Even when you are still mad. Even when you want to throat punch someone. Forgive.
The name brands. The phones. The silly things that are so easy to get attached to are not what is important. People. Search for the value in the people around you and you will always find it.
Which brings us to…
Son, this is where your heart is split open for the world to see. How we treat the incorrectly stereotyped, repressed, and persecuted populations broadcast who and what we value. Value people. Value life. Value what is good and kind. It is so, so easy to jump on the high horse of judgment and self-righteousness. But please remember, we are only one decision, one mistake, one step away from the hungry, the orphan, the homeless. We aren’t as far removed as we want to believe.
As you go from man-child to man, remember all of this. And if you forget, come visit and I will happily remind you.
Choose what is right, noble. Go to church. Love Jesus. Love your wife, your children, your friends, your family. Work hard. Speak kindly. Value what is actually valuable (and it is absolutely, 1000% not your cell phone.) Fight against injustice. Remember where you came from and make a plan to get to where you want to go…wherever that may be.
You have a voice. A compelling story. Use them to change the world.
Life is quite a ride and almost never what you expect. So hold on. And off you go.