Happy Birthday, Zachary

About thirteen years ago the church Steve and I attended had a special summer series in which the pastor answered questions from the congregation. One Sunday was devoted to questions about parenting. We sat there with our infant, just beginning to embrace this whole parenthood adventure.

One comment has stuck with me all these years. The pastor talked about how we speak about teenagers. How often we hear the phrase, “I just dread those teenage years.” He challenged us to speak with hope and expectation, not dread. Talk to our kids about how we look forward to who they will become, and all the stages of our interaction.

Expect that they will be teenagers we will enjoy and love and admire.

I don’t know if we have always done that perfectly, but I have to tell you: I love my teenager. He turns 14 today and constantly impresses us. He is intelligent and quick witted, talented and kind. He has a great imagination and an excitement about things that are bigger than himself.

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He has delighted us from birth. Coming into the world calmly and instantly aware.

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As he has grown, he has impressed us at every stage with his ability to adapt and take on challenges.

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He has led the way as the big brother, encouraging his brothers and harassing them in just the right proportion.

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He is Maddie’s “Best Buddy” and such a great big brother to her.

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He has introduced us to a whole world of sports we never could have guessed we would love so much.

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And has grown in this beyond just physical ability. He has learned the balance of being competitive and being kind. And not throwing sticks and yelling when he loses anymore.

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My pastor’s advice was sound, not just wishful thinking. I thoroughly am enjoying these teenage years, mostly because of this remarkable teen. Our expectations and hopes grow as he constantly exceeds them.

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Happy Birthday, Zachary. You are loved, admired and we are thoroughly blessed you are our boy.

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