Not so long ago a a very dear friend asked me to compose a few thoughts to his son that may help him along his way in life. My first thought was to run away in terror but as I talked with this friend and gained understanding into what he was trying to provide to his son I immediately became enamored with the thought that my past experiences could bring insight and understanding to a young man coming of age. I was filled with a sense of honor and trust as well as a sense of accomplishment. I know it sounds odd that all of these emotions could be drawn from one simple question. Yet here I am lost in thought and emotion while I compose the letter.
Along with this requests I wanted the delivery of this request to say something to the person receiving it, something more than just words on a piece of paper. I really wanted the individual reading the composition to be able to experience some of the emotion and life that goes into creating something of this magnitude. Additionally, being a father myself, I was filled with thoughts of what I might tell my son in the event he were to ask me for advice. Then I realized what I really wanted to convey. I wanted to convey the magnitude of the decisions that one must make to become a person that someone else would look to to ask for advice. Even as I write I am humbled by that thought that my experiences would help someone else make life decisions. Lastly I really wanted to deliver a letter that said something about the author and this author, at least when he is true to his heart and passion, is “A Self Professed Geek.” Thus, I come the choice in delivery; a blog.
So here we go – A Letter to a Friend’s Son.
Let me just list a few things that I have learned over the years. Please keep in mind that this is a Hodge-podge of thoughts, experiences and lessons that have brought me to this point in life. Also note that this list is in no particular order.
- Be Unique! I love a lot of things and recently within the past few years I have gained a fascination for photography particularly I like landscape photography. While reading one of my favorite photography blogs the author wrote this –
- “Style is inimitable. It is your unique vision, influenced by your personal experiences and knowledge. Even if you try to fake it or imitate someone else, it won’t last and you won’t be happy, so what’s the point ? Why can’t you imitate someone else’s style and make it work for you? Style is a unique point of view, a blend of one’s personal experiences and technical expertise, and no two people possess that special combination. Be inspired by and learn from your peers, but don’t copy them.” Read more: http://digital-photography-school.com/turning-pro-part-iv-style-development-and-life-long-learning#ixzz1yvO6bpZx
- Be Creative! Out of our uniqueness we can gain creativity. Last year I had the opportunity to speak at our church. For the message I choose to give a message on goals mainly because the message was to be a part of a mini series about goals setting that was being kicked off as a part of the new year. My message was on the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. This Parable is one of my favorites because it says so much about who we are and what we can become. I titled the message – “Intentions – Creating a New Path” and the transcript of the message can be found here.
- Get a Mentor and Be a Mentor! I can’t say enough about this and maybe the most important point in this letter but you MUST, find yourself a mentor. More importantly don’t limit yourself to one mentor but surround yourself with many of them. People in themselves are unique and each of us has our own experiences and insights so ensure that you have people in your life that you can go to for a variety of situations. Secondly become a mentor yourself. We solidify lessons by teaching them to others. What better way to solidify a lesson that you have been taught than to teach it to someone else.
- Learn what you love and do that! Seems fairly straight forward but it is so often overlooked. We often sacrifice our love for something to make money or strive for fame and fortune instead of do what brings us joy. I beg you with all my heart don’t go down that path. Take the advice of Solomon in Ecclesiastes and be content with what you have and who you are. Instead pursue what you are passionate about and what brings you joy. You may surprise yourself and others.
- Never stop learning and exploring! Everyday is a new day and provides a new experiences and new adventures. Psalms 118:24 teaches us “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”. So with every new day, every new adventure and every new opportunity approach it with an attitude of learning and insight to the future.
- Read and read again and again and again! If you don’t love to read then learn to love to read. I can’t express enough how important the written word is as well as how important it is to learn from it. There are a lot of people who are much smarter and much more inspirational than I. Find the people who you learn from and learn from them. Some of my favorite authors are:
- The Apostle Peter
- The Apostle James
- The Apostle Paul
- King Solomon
- King David
- Andy Stanley
- John Eldredge
- Matt Chandler
- Francias Chan
- Mark Driscoll
- R.C. Sproul
- J.P. Moreland
- Be patient and trust the Lord for he is good. (Psalm 1, James)! For this lesson I leave it to the author of Psalm 1 and the book of James. Read and learn these scriptures and you will be blessed!
The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
1 Blessed is the man[a]
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
- Be Inspirational! How ever you can be inspirational and to whom ever you can be inspirational to just be inspirational even if it is only to yourself!
- Keep Moving Forward (God does not present bad options) Lewis Robinson learned this from himself as he traveled to the future.
- Learn for yourself! Advice is great and mentors are great but most importantly you have to learn how to apply that information to you. I can only explain it in the words of the Apostle Paul in Acts 17 when he is talking to the Berean’s about scriptural lessons. He tells them to study the scriptures for themselves and come up with their own conclusions.
- Keep a journal of your thoughts, emotions, experiences and life and refer to it often. Last but not least – keep a record for yourself. Refer to this record often and learn from this record. You will be amazed about how much you can learn from your own past experiences.
So that is it 40 years of life all boiled down to 11 steps.