I want to share with you one of the letters I wrote to them (a total of 8). It's Father's Day and after reflecting on losing my father to murder at the age of 15, I truly understand the importance of hearing your father's (or fatherly type) voice.
A Letter to My Children from your Dad!
Jonathan and LaRhonda,
Both of you have grown into being amazing children. One of you has been with me since birth, while the other came to me as a young adult, yet I love both of you without distinction. I cannot believe, Jonathan, you are now 14, and on your way to High School. LaRhonda, you have overcome so many obstacles and have made your first major purchase. Every time I cross the threshold of your beautiful home, I become overjoyed and proud as a father.
WOW…where did the time go?
I remember so many people telling me to enjoy every moment of your children’s lives because the time will fly by and they’ll be gone. Gone to the next phase of their lives.
I honestly never thought that far ahead or perhaps I rationalized they were just talking. I now realize what they were saying and truly understand what those words mean.
I also want to apologize for being so engrossed in building churches, growing our company and traveling so much. Sometimes, that meant I wasn’t always present physically or emotionally, and for that, I’m sorry. I remember consciously saying; "I would call my kids no matter where in the world I was," and for many years, I kept that promise. I recently realized, that I have not kept that promise for several years, I promise to start doing that immediately.
I am your Dad, and I am responsible for making sure you always know I love you, especially before you lay down at night.
Why am I apologizing to you? Because Jonathan, one day you will have children and they need to know that saying you’re sorry is a big step in being mature. But to LaRhonda, it’s imperative that you know that my accomplishments don’t mean I shouldn’t always be transparent with you.
You both have had different journey’s yet somehow, each of you have found your own rhythm and are my favorite people in the entire world. You honor me, are gracious toward others, and make me proud to be your father.
Finally, here are a few lessons I want to leave to you in hopes that they live in you:
God first, everything else follows.
Value relationships, they are your real equity.
Love yourself, love others and let your actions say, I love you.
Do for others without expecting anything in return.
Spend only your fruit and never your seed. Once your seed is gone, there are no more chances to grow fruit.
Never seek more for the sake of having more, when having less could have satisfied you.
Stay humble, work hard and commit to being your best ALWAYS!
This Father’s Day, I wanted to share with you everything I have learned from being your father. Thank you for being the greatest children I could ever have.
I love you both.