I wish you could have a peek into the future. I’m writing this now as your daughter at age 42, to you as a father at near the same age back then, wishing we both could know how things will turn out and be encouraged.
In these difficult yet crucial decision-making years of my late teens, you may feel discouraged as I try to figure out who I am and where I’m going. You may feel like you are failing – but you aren’t. I am listening, even if it seems like I’m not. The time you spend with me will leave a lasting impression. Your efforts to know me while I don’t even know myself are not futile.
You take me sailing, just the two of us. I may seem sullen and grumbly, and you may wish you had never bothered, but even so, it was not for nothing. You are showing me you care.
You play racquetball with me and afterwards treat me to limeade slushes at Sonic. We have fun together. You are showing me I have value.
We escape after dinner for Italian ice so we can talk, just the two of us. You let me pick the radio station and you listen to my music, even though you don't like it. You want to know what's going on in my head. You are showing me that my opinions are worth something.
It may seem like I scoff at you and disregard your advice, but deep down, I really am listening. In my youthful arrogance, I argue, thinking I know more than you, but you listen. You don’t blow me off or ignore me, nor do you lecture me. Instead, you ask questions that make me think, and then you give advice, continuing to insist that God’s ways are the best ways. Then you watch me go my own way and make mistakes, but you bite your tongue and never say, “I told you so.” You don’t give up on me.
And it made all the difference.
I know it’s hard right now. You tease that you hope someday I'll have a daughter just like me - so that I’ll know what I put you through. And you'll get your wish - times two. Then you will say you're sorry you ever said that, and I'll laugh, and we'll hug each other with love and appreciation.
The times now may be difficult, but I will grow up, and I will have all the things you dream for me – a long-lasting and wonderful marriage, children, a successful career, but most of all, a life centered on Christ. Through the valley of shadows and over the mountains of victory, Jesus will become my everything.
And you have no idea that you are showing me how to be a godly parent to my own strong-willed children in their teen years. You are passing on a legacy of faith and love.
Hang on, Dad, don’t give up. Your reward will come.
Your daughter in 2013