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Not What Makes You a Man -- A Letter to My Son

Dear Son,


I see you striving. I see you clawing. I see your anger born out of fear and self-doubt. I know all of those feelings so well. It feels like your very existence is at stake and your identity is being ripped away from you.


I wish someone had told me that:

  • Being right doesn’t make you a man.

  • Winning doesn’t make you more of a man.

  • Making people laugh at others doesn’t make you a man.

Competing is good. Knowing is good. Winning is good. Creating laughter is good. Fighting--for the right things in the right ways--is good. Do those things. But don’t confuse the outcome of those actions with a verdict on your character or a measurement of your place in the world’s pecking order.


Men compete with honor. Men fight for justice. Men seek the good in others. Men offer tenderness and vulnerability. Men win and lose well. Men approach others and the world with a well-earned humility.


You are becoming that type of man. So, go forth in confidence. You don’t have to fight for your identity or your emotional “life.” You are loved, you are enough. Be bold and enjoy the process. See others and sacrifice on their behalf.


And, know that when the world does beat you down--when you are wrong, when you lose, when you are laughed at--that I will be right here. I will be with you. I will pick you up, dust you off, remind you of who you already are and who God is making you, and I will tell you once again that I am proud of you.


With all my heart,

Your Father



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