When Birthdays Become More About What You Give Than What You Receive

I just turned 35 on March 11th. It was a relatively calm birthday. My wife treated me to sushi for lunch, well, she gave me her debit card and had me buy my own since she doesn’t like fish.

Then, she bought steak and made white spaghetti (pasta with oil and pepper seeds). I prepared the steak because I like doing that sort of thing and we ate dinner with our kids and enjoyed it as a family.

We ended the night with cotton candy flavored ice cream on sugar cones. It was a perfect ending.

Our kids were on the mend from being sick, so it made it a little easier to relax at home. However, I don’t know if I would have wanted anything different.

As I sat with my son and daughter, reading and playing a little bit, I was content. I discovered that my birthday desires had shifted tremendously. I no longer wondered what I would be receiving as gifts, but what would I be leaving behind as a father to my kids.

You see, I was sitting with the future in my lap. I looked at my daughter and hoped I am raising up a strong young woman someday. She is almost two and I know she is meant to influence lives and change the world. I just hope that I am being the father she needs me to be and I will continue to raise her in such a way that she knows her own strength, ability to be independent, and continues to follow Christ in her journey. I pray she will be able to stand strong for others and be willing to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with her Creator.

Then, I looked at my son. In all of his energy and excitement for life, I saw a young me. I want him to know his potential. I want him to grow in wisdom and stature. I want him to be a strong voice for the weak and care for the oppressed. I want him to learn how to love and show love. I want him to be confident, bold, yet kind and sincere. I hope I am leaving an example of all of this.

I received gifts for my birthday, but for me, it wasn’t about what was wrapped in paper, but what is being instilled in the hearts and minds of my children.

I can only hope I am leaving an everlasting gift for the future of my children and their children.

May we constantly be aware of what we are leaving behind. May we think of the legacy we are leaving with our children or other young people we have influence with. May we seek to truly give more than we receive for the glory of our Creator.

QUESTION: How can you be more intentional about giving your time and experience to a young person in your life?

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