A LETTER TO MY SONS
By Lydia Goodman
June 30, 2015
[Author’s note: In light of all the “progress” made this week, I thought I would share with readers some of the wisest words I have had the privilege of reading, other than those found within my Bible, in a very long time. The author? Troy Woods, a wise, loving compassionate man--who also happens to be my brother and the father of three sons. Although he has gone through a painful divorce, his faith in God-ordained marriage is intact. He has allowed me to share with you a very personal letter he recently wrote to his sons. I honestly believe his words have the power to change lives, from parenting to marriage, because of the truth he speaks in love -Lydia]
To My Sons
There are three ways to learn. One can learn by words, by observation or by personal experience. A parent can tell his child that fire will burn. A child can watch someone get burned. A child can be burned. Whichever way, the child learns that fire can hurt and kill. The best way to learn this lesson is to be taught by words. No one gets hurt and that knowledge can be passed on to others.
The fool is the one who chooses not to listen or obey. Fools think they are smart enough to avoid being burned or perhaps they have observed someone else who did not get burned when playing with fire. They decide to try it and learn a valuable lesson...Stick your hand in fire and it will be burned!
You see, there are absolute truths derived from natural and spiritual laws. Whether we accept them or not, the dismissal of these laws doesn't make them any less true. I am writing words for you to listen to. Do I know everything? Of course not. But, I do know not to put my hand in the fire and a few more things. How did I learn not to put my hand in the fire? I listened and took wise advice.
There is knowledge that is more vague in nature, seemly “gray” areas. This knowledge has been shaped by time, circumstances and popular opinion. These areas include what we consider to be right and wrong. Accordingly, what society now accepts as right was once considered wrong. There are situations and acts that used to be considered a sin by society that now is accepted as ok. Most of the time, if you are a Christian-- meaning that the Holy Spirit lives within you and your spirit has been recreated in Christ Jesus--you can see the wrongness; you can feel the sin; you can sense when something or someone isn't right. If you will listen to the Holy Spirit and obey, He will guide you and direct you away from sin and wrongness. He is the counselor. So, know that your spirit has a voice and it has been recreated to be in tune with God. Listen to your spirit and let the Holy Spirit teach you.
If you aren't a Christian, then you are short-sighted. You are filled with pride; you are haughty; and you want everything now. You don't see a problem with cheating or with hurting someone else to get what you want. You don't see a problem with taking from others or using others. You don't see a problem (and perhaps might even enjoy) being a bully, shouting down someone weaker, calling others names, or making others feel bad. You don't care who you step on to get what you want and this gives you a false sense of power; of bigness. This type of behavior is a display of a lack of knowledge, a lack of compassion, and a lack of God within. Satan works in your mind, your thoughts. Satan wants to destroy you, he hates your guts because you were made in the image of God. Satan hates God. Satan always presents something to us as good, or feeling good, or it seems good, tastes good. Your flesh wants it and your senses find it attractive. If you go for it, it will be the first step towards destruction...and you will be destroyed. Turn away and follow God.
Your flesh has a voice. You hear it daily. "I am hungry." "I want that car." " I want to be the most popular kid." "I want that girl or that boy." Your flesh wants it NOW! Your flesh wants money NOW! Your flesh wants everything NOW! The truth is, your flesh is never satisfied. It is always going to be hungry. No matter what you feed it, it will eventually want more. If your drive, your goal in life, is to listen to and obey your flesh, you are short-sighted and you will never be satisfied. You will be driven by your flesh into all kinds of vices and habits and un-godly situations and circumstances. In the end, you will be a broken human being. God tells us to put down the flesh. That means to exert control over those desires. If you do this, you will see life from God's point of view and you will avoid many future heartaches, hurts, misfortunes, and pain.
A Godly parent will attempt to to teach their children by word and example what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, what is the best way to accomplish something, and what is the best for the child. There are times that the child doesn't listen and obey. The parent has to somehow bring about a negative feeling or situation in order for the child to learn by experience without having to actually experience the full ramifications of their actions. An example of this would be a 3-year-old who is out in the front yard playing. The parent says, "Don't go out in the street!" These words are meant to protect the child and keep the child from harm. If the child does not listen and obey, the child heads toward the street. The parent, who is watching always, runs and grabs the child to keep the child from harm but at the same time needs to allow the child to experience pain or a negative feeling without actually having to be hit by a car because they disobeyed.
When a child is older, perhaps high school age, a Godly parent will continue to teach, but if the child disobeys; the parent will have to introduce other ways to induce negative feelings or pain in order for the child to not fully pay the price for their actions.
When a child is 18 or older, Godly parents hope that the child has learned to listen and has developed a habit of obedience--knowing that if they don't, there will always be some sort of negative outcome. Yet, some young adults can't wait to get out from under their dumb parents thumb and "do their own thing”. The desire and thoughts of "doing your own thing" is, in all likelihood, the child listening to his own spirit and fleshly voice which will eventually lead them down horrible paths and put them in circumstances that they cannot yet begin to imagine. It is a life driven by thoughts of "I am smarter than everyone else, I am better than everyone else, I don't care who I hurt, and I don't care what I have to do to get what I want!"
When a child becomes an adult, around age 20 or 21, and still won't listen or obey and the child hasn't learned by observation, the parent really has no choice but to let them learn from experience. The parent hopes the child comes to his senses and realizes that fire does burn and that the knowledge the Godly parent spoke to them was right and was taught for their benefit. A parent hopes that the artificial negative feelings and pain that was introduced to the child as punishment for disobedience will take hold before the child enters into the fire because his flesh says, "JUMP, it will feel so good!"
Here is the knowledge that I am offering you:
1. Become a Christian. Read the Bible and let the Word of God become alive in you. Follow the teachings of Christ and pray.
2. Words are powerful. Be careful in what you say to yourself and to others. Never curse yourself or others. Build yourself and others up with positive words.
3. Realize that we are created to build, to create, to work, to exercise our body, mind and spirit,and to produce. If we don't produce, we aren't happy. Live a balanced life of work, rest, and entertainment. Don't waste time; it is finite...create, build, love, and care.
4. Man was not meant to be alone. Man was meant to go through life with a woman--one woman. This is God's best. Man was meant to cherish, love, protect, and to provide for his woman. Man was meant to love his woman and children with a soft guiding hand. Man was meant to lay down his life for his woman and protect his family to the death if need be. Man is the head of the family and he is the one that answers to God for decisions made--whether good or bad. He takes the hit for the family. He is responsible and he owns it. Man needs help and needs to be complete. Only a woman can complete a man. Only a man can complete a woman. Together they are ONE. He backs her up and has her back and she backs him up and she has his back. Man listens to his woman. She always has his ear because she is part of him and he trusts her instincts, her judgement, and her viewpoint. Man will not put the burden on the woman to be the head of the household. It is not her natural position. This is all God's best, his original design and it is what it is. Man cannot be a woman and a woman cannot be a man. They both need each other.
5. We are to be held by our words. This is the intent of God. If God said it, it is truth and we can believe it. We should be the same way. This keeps us from being drawn away by the voice of the flesh and Satan.
6. These are perhaps two of the most powerful words we can speak, "I WILL....” When you tell yourself or someone else something with these words, it makes you own it; it locks you into it. If you will give your words that kind of power, that kind of integrity, it will prosper you, keep you on track, give you trustworthiness with others, and give you character that will be seen by yourself and others.
7. The intent of the heart makes all the difference in the world. Make decisions based on love, hope, compassion, care, and what is best for all concerned.
8. Choices based on evil and your flesh are short-sighted decisions and will be selfish, prideful, egotistical, haughty, narcissistic decisions that will lead you down a path you do not want to go. Listen to me.
9. Be long-sighted in making decisions. Look ahead; look into the future. Watch for the outcome of a simple decision you make today. Attempt to see the big picture. Don't play with fire, don't "try it just once". Don't take one swallow. Learn from observation. A vice will become a habit and an addiction can take you where you do not want to go.
10. Run from trouble! Stay away from any place or anyone that can get you in trouble.
11. Having a giving, compassionate heart does not mean that you aren't wise and selective in whom you choose to give to. Again, look at the big picture. Be wise.
12. Your first obligation is to take care of yourself. If you are single, you have no obligation to support others and so don't do it. You can help them, but it is better to “teach them how to fish than to give them a fish”. If you are married, your first obligation is to take care of your wife and children. You must not allow anyone or anything to get between you and your wife. She comes before the children and always will. She is your help mate--your other half.
13. Nothing can take the place of love, of companionship, of oneness with your woman. Nothing can take the place of it. Your first desire should be for your wife. Everything comes after her...children, money, cars, houses, toys, vacations.
14. Man tells his woman he loves her and means it. It becomes the foundational words upon which a relationship is built. She believes him and his actions demonstrate and prove his words. He says, "I will be faithful". His words lock him into it and sets up a boundary he cannot cross, because his words mean something to him and to his wife. He says, "I will always be here for you." He now owns those words and he will live and die by those words that he speaks to his wife and she hangs her hat on what he says. He then demonstrates his love and faithfulness to her.
15. Do not chase after temporal things such as cars, houses,or clothes. These all can be destroyed easily, but remember that love, hope, and peace are eternal.
16. Don't let a car commercial fool you. A car is first and foremost a vehicle to get from point A to point B. It is not a status symbol and if you are defined by what you drive-you are indeed a little man.
17. What should define you is your character, your integrity, your uprightness, your goodness, your desire to produce and make a difference in society and others’ lives.
18. Don't let a pretty girl lead you into a way of life that will cause you misery. Walk away if she is causing you trouble and heartache...walk away.
Perhaps I should stop here with this: Be builders, creators, and producers. Learn ways to solve problems and make life better for others. Do not be a destroyer- one who tears others down to make yourself look big. Be a giver...“give and it shall be given to you”...not a taker. I want you to really ponder my words and try to understand what I've said.
© 2015 Lydia Goodman - All Rights Reserve
As a writer and commentator, Lydia Goodman is passionate about speaking out against progressive policies that threaten to erode our personal rights, freedoms, and traditions. Lydia has also written numerous articles on world human rights issues, in an effort to focus attention on the atrocities perpetuated against people of faith.