In his book, A Father For All Seasons, Bob Welch publishes a letter he wrote to his son Ryan just before the lad turned 16 years old. Here is an excerpt of the 20 points of advice Welch passed along:
1. Make God and people–not money, position, and things–your top priority. First, it's biblical; in Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus says our priorities are to love God and love those around us. Second, they are the only things that last. Fame is fleeting. Quick, who won the 1993 Super Bowl? (I can't remember either.) Money comes and goes. Today's CEO is tomorrow's fired CEO.
What people want is security and to be loved, and yet they look for it in all the wrong places. It's found in a relationship with Christ, who loved me and you enough to die in our place. Who, in a world in which people's love for each other is usually dependent on getting something in return, loves us unconditionally. Who allows us the privilege, if we simply trust in Him, to live forever.
2. Stop to smell the roses. . . . Don't get so wrapped up in the competition that you miss the ride. . . .
3. Keep your promises. We live in a world built on mistrust. We sue each other right and left. We promise to love and honor each other for a lifetime, then get divorced when things don't go our way. . . . The Bible says, let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Walk the talk.
4. Put the toilet seat down. 'Nuff said.
5. Persevere. Life is tough. Period. The key is not creating a wrinkle-free life; that's impossible. The key is overcoming the obstacles that get in the way. . . . Persevere. Never give up. On God. In Sports. In school. In marriage. Anything.
6. Express yourself. . . . I'm thinking of it more in the sense of letting people around you–and God–know how you feel about them. We somehow assume people know we care about them. But I'm always amazed at the power of a simple note, a card, a small present. People need constant reminders that they're significant.
7. Remember that God molds our character through discomfort. . . . Sure, you can be comfortable by not facing any resistance, by not sweating or climbing or risking. But you will never grow as an individual. You will get bored. And you will spend the rest of your life watching soap operas.
8. Choose your friends wisely. . . .Choose people who value what you value, who care for you as a person, not because you wear the right clothes or say the right things or know the right people. . . .
9. Let your actions speak louder than your words. People . . . appreciate someone who actually lives his spoken ideals. Why? Because it's so rare.
10. Remember your roots. You're part of a family. Part of something bigger than you are. Take pride in that. . . .
11. Laugh. Often and loud. . . .
12. Keep sex where God intended it to be: in a marriage relationship. Our society has cheapened sex to where it's just something two people do for a good time–the bedroom equivalent of grabbing a bite to eat or going bowling. Sex, by God's design, is a beautiful expression of love between a man and a woman who have committed to each other for life.
13. Learn to discern right from wrong. . . . Something isn't necessarily true because someone important says it is, or even because Mom or I say it is. Or because 52 percent of the people vote a certain way. Truth is what God says it is.
14. Never make the first or third out at third base. . . .
15. Don't be afraid to say you're sorry. . . . It softens the hardest heart. And leads to reconciliation in a relationship like nothing else can.
16. Pray. God is the most powerful resource we have. But He's nothing if we don't communicate with Him. Don't be pious when you pray. Just be honest. God looks at your heart.
17. Read. Read. Read. And don't just read books you know you'll agree with; read other books, too, because they will sharpen your faith and help you understand why some people are the way they are, even if you don't agree with them.
18. Humility is a greater virtue than pride. I don't care what the TV commercials say.
19. If you're making fun of a little ol' lady crossing the street slowly, remember: She's someone's grandmother.
20. Never forget how much your mother and I love you. . . . Nothing–absolutely nothing you do–will ever change that.
Taken from A Father For All Seasons. Copyright © by Bob Welch. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402. Used by Permission.
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