“godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6 (New International Version)
Malcolm and Matthias,
As your father, I’ve had the opportunity to think about the life ahead of you and my role in trying to prepare you to be strong and men of God. When I looked at each of you closely for the first time, I struggled with the questions most fathers ask: “Will I be able to guide you?”, “Will I be able to provide for you?”, and “What kind of man will you be?”. The dreams and goals I had for you during those early moments have not changed. I not only want you to grow, but I want you to flourish. I want you to put your marriage and children first, and I never want my mistakes to visit onto you. You are at a wonderful stage of life with so many wonderful stages still to come. I don’t know what trials you will face in the coming years, but I hope to be there to help you through them. To help you prepare, I offer this letter and the words it contains.
Be open to new things, experiences, and people in your life. When your mind is closed to new people and you don’t open your heart to them, you may avoid pain, but you also lose the opportunity to meet some incredible people. Some of these people will be there for you during the toughest times of your life and create some of the best times of your life.
I must tell you that life is not a competition, but in your life you may meet people who will try to outdo you in school, in college, or at work. They may try to have a nicer car, a larger house, or nicer clothes. They may view life is a competition — they must do better than others to be happy. However, you should know that when you spend your life always trying to impress and outdo others you are wasting your gifts. Instead, learn to enjoy life. Make it a journey of constant happiness, learning, improvement, and most importantly love.
Love. There is no better rule in life. If there is a single rule to live your life by, it should be this one: Live your life by the rule of love. While success or selfishness rules the lives of others, you should be ruled by love. A life ruled by success can be stressful, unhappy, and shallow. A life ruled by selfishness and putting your needs above the needs of others can lead to a lonely and unhappy life. Love your wife, your children, your mother and I, and your friends. Love them with all of your heart. However, you should also show love to your neighbors, your coworkers, strangers, and even your enemies; and please don’t forget to love yourself. You are not ugly, dumb, or unworthy of love unless you think you are. You are a wonderful human being, worthy of happiness and love if you think you are. Love yourself for the wonderful person you are.
I love you both and I always will. You are starting out on an incredibly wonderful journey, and I will be there for you whenever I can. At this point in your lives, you can’t read this letter or understand what this letter is about, but my prayer is that someday you will look back at this time and know that from the start you were important to me and I love you both. When you are able to read this, I hope you will find some wisdom and value in what I share with you and I hope I am doing right by the two of you.