What kind of a world are you being born into? I don’t know how history will remember this time, but I can tell you I’m not miserable. I love my life. There are some weird and crazy people here on this planet, but that’s always been true. I think the difference is that they now have a voice on social media – people’s inner-most thoughts on display for the world to see. But if people secretly wonder how I could want to bring a child into this world, I simply believe that they are thinking about this all wrong. I am not wondering what this world will do to you. I wonder what you will do to this world? I believe you could change this world. You will have a strength unknown to most of them. Just as a young Superman got his powers from the yellow Sun, you too will get your powers from the one and only Son. This is a dark world, there is no doubt about that, but that only means that it has no hope of holding back your light. Your life will be filled with opportunities because of the laziness and stupidity of others. The universe is wide open for you to achieve whatever it is that God has for you.
Until you figure out what that is, I have some hopes, dreams, and advice for you:
Education in America is a bleak and barren, one-sided wasteland. They decide what’s important for you to learn and then they test you on it. I honestly don’t care if you pass those tests or not. Whether some test designer thinks you are smart or not makes no difference to me. I want you to just “learn.” Learn as much as you can and learn whatever you want. I’m sure when those nerds were building computer machines in their garages, people thought they were wasting their time. No one laughs at Microsoft or Apple now. So whether it’s drawing or building or playing sports, learn as much as you can. Love the learning.
What I see as most valuable about school is building relationships. I want you to have friends and lots of friends, but even more important, I want you to make friends with that kid who is sitting alone at lunch. I want you to invite the kid that everyone makes fun of to sit by you. I want you to pick them first for kickball. Your cool factor is going to be through the roof. Use that for other’s benefit and not just your own. Change someone’s life for the better. If you learn to truly work with people, all kinds of people, that will be a skill you will certainly use the rest of your life.
You’re going to hear a lot of poppycock on “do your best” and “everyone’s a winner.” Remember: Only losers just try their best; winners go win the game. But know this, your teammates are your greatest asset. If you can motivate them to be better, then you will have achieved true greatness. Be truly happy about your teammates successes. Genuinely rejoice with them. You will build advocates that will help you succeed when your time comes. I promise not to lie to you, son. When you are young, you will think your dad is amazing at all sports. Well, it’s just because I’m 30 times your size. When you become a teenager, you are going to realize that your gene-pool is not, let’s say, “Olympic grade.” So you are going to have to out-work other people. But don’t let that turn into jealousy in any way. When you can relish in other’s talents and triumphs as much as your own, then you will always have a smile on your face.
Your sisters are going to rough you up. They hurt me all the time, but I’m only admitting this to you, my son. This pain will only make you stronger, and you can fight back, but in no way are you ever allowed to hurt them. We don’t hurt girls. We cherish all the women in our life. There could be a day you might need to truly protect your mom or your sisters and I know you will do it. Some warnings: Sicily is going to try to play mind-games with you. Don’t let her manipulate you. Know you are always being tricked, and now you just have to figure-out how. She needs people’s approval though and will thus always be close by. Venice is just crazy. She will bull you over if you don’t watch out. But she has an enviable independence in her where she doesn’t need approval from anyone. In fact, the only time she is upset is when she doesn’t get exactly what she wants, exactly when she wants it. I think you need to learn from both your sisters. If you can be both self-content and get others to do what you want, you will have near unlimited power.
Growing up, you need to listen to your mom. She loves you so much. But if mom and dad ever disagree, be respectful of your mom and say, “yes ma’am,” but we all know you are going to do what your father says. She cannot know all the secrets that we Allotta men possess. “The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. You have that power too!” You are a Jedi like your father before you.
You are truly living in the golden age of comic books. I had cartoons like X-Men, Spider-Man, and Batman: The Animated Series, but your choices are going to be endless. Daddy went with the Justice League as a theme to your room. Daddy loves Superman the most, but didn’t want to force you into that. However, I have saved all 10 seasons of Smallville for us to watch when, according to your mom, you’re “age appropriate.” Daddy and mommy are going to have many discussions over the years on that definition. I certainly don’t want you to think you have to identify with Superman. I understand why people might like Batman more and the Flash and Arrow seem kinda popular these days. But I also don’t want you to think that we don’t like Marvel in our house or something crazy like that. We love them too. However, there is a grittiness to DC that just doesn’t blend well with the more lighthearted Marvel heroes. I just want you to know that you won’t disappoint me on any comic book choices. Nevertheless, I would like to take a moment and quote from the late great Marlon Brando when he wrote a space-letter to his newborn son Kal-El in Superman: the Movie. I feel the same way about you.
“You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the Sun… In time, you will help them accomplish wonders. They can be a great people, Kal-El; they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you… my only son.”
I’m sorry for whatever my failings will be as a father. I hope I can live like Christ long enough for you to be able to follow God by yourself. Pastor’s kids always kind of seem screwed up to me. Maybe they just get judged more harshly. I’m looking forward to being able to disciple you. Everyone else I’ve discipled always leaves me and takes a youth pastor job somewhere else. More than anything I just want you to fall in love with Jesus and His Word. You don’t have to go into full-time ministry like I did. God might call you to something different. But I’m going to disciple you from birth to be the best minister for God you can be. I believe that’s what He calls us all to do. I’ll answer any question you have about God. You never need to be afraid to ask questions about Him. I will never judge you for having a skeptical question. God wants you to know Him more and He’s not afraid of any question you might ask either. I promised to always tell you the truth, so here are the 3 questions I can’t answer because I don’t know.
1) Why Did God create the world if He’s self-satisfying?
2) Why Create Lucifer if you know what he turns into (spoiler alert: the devil)?
3) Why does God love us even though He is holy and righteous and we are sinners?
Now I can give nice platitudes, like “It’s for His Glory,” and while this is true, it doesn’t fully answer those questions. I guess in heaven I’ll understand better.
I hardly know you and yet, I love you. Being a father has helped me understand God’s love that much more. Because He views Himself as a Heavenly Father to His children, I understand a little on how He can love us despite what we do to Him. I guess you don’t really “do” anything for me Roman, but my love for you is beyond such things. It is not based on anything you do or don’t do. You might drive me insane or make me angry one day, but I will always love you. You could get in your hover-car and fly away from me and not talk to me for years on end, and I will continually love you. You could hate me with every fiber of your being, and I will still love you. You could believe in things I despise, you could sin in ways I cannot imagine, or you could vote for an 89 year-old Hilary Clinton (whether she is just running for the 7th time or she’s a head in a jar like in Futurama), I will nonetheless love you. So come on back, I’ll always be waiting for you.
I look forward to you being able to read this one day on your 2nd gen, Apple holo-phone. I can’t wait for the adventures we’ll have together.