I realised that you are growing up so fast. I barely have time to get the hang of things when you outgrow what I have gotten used to. I rarely write anything nowadays (apart from short notes to your mum to remind her to do things around the house) since I write so much (angry letters) at work, I thought it might be cool to write you a letter which you can read after you grow up! Talk about snail-mail. This is the ultimate electronic version of snail-mail. I hope it gives you some incentive to be literate.
Anyway, my first letter is about you… my children. I have sometimes wondered what crack Solomon was smoking thinking when he wrote Psalm 127:3 – “…Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him…” I wonder because what Solomon asserts as a fact is being challenged in my day and age.
Being the practical (some may say money-face) Chinese man that I am (so racist! Sterotyping! So…sue me), I sometimes think of children in terms of affordability. And I am not alone. In the society I live in, (Chinese) people often think, can I afford a child? Or 2? Or 5? Actually the ones who have 5 or more often don’t think, they just do. Can I send my kids to the best cram schools so that they can trash everybody in their studies? So from this angle, it looks like I’m giving you the best and I’m your reward kids, and Solomon got his words the wrong way round.
On a related note, I know of people (not me) who think of offspring as a financial liability and definitely not a reward. Well, in Singapore, it is probably accurate to say that you will never make a monetary profit from having kids (unless you sell them at birth, which happens to be s l i g h t l y illegal).
I also know of people who have no… guts (substitute with any appropriate body part) to have kids because of fear. Fear that their lives may forever be changed for the worse… fear that they can’t have as much fun anymore… fear that they finally have to grow up… fear that their wives won’t be attractive anymore (now this is silly, because genuine non-surgical good looks are fleeting in real life anyway).
I know some people who willingly choose to have dogs or fish or other random pets but not children… you know where I’m going.
Fortunately for you, my experience is consistent with Solomon’s wise words, and I write to you to explain why you are a reward from God so you can tell your spawn in the future. Wow I love the word spawn, I hope you’ve learnt what it means.. It’s so primary school science. So… here are the reasons why:
- You guys are so cute! For now. By the time you can read this, probably not so much anymore. TOO BAD… but I will love you anyway. You’ve always known that.
2. More importantly, you guys make me God-like! (Not the way the commentator screams when I play DOTA2). Let me explain, before I get ex-communicated from the church that we attend. You guys make me more like God because:
You train me in patience. Love is patient, love is kind… I do raise my voice at you sometimes, especially when it’s dangerous (think of carparks, you sticking your stubby little fingers into sockets etc) or when you rebel. K is old enough to cry and ask: “But you still love me right?” (To which I will always kiss/hug K and say “Of course you silly goose. Papa always loves you”). When disciplined, Z (who is not yet 1 year old yet) just looks away and carries on doing whatever he’s doing (acting cute or innocent usually).
From my experience with you, I learnt an important truth – In the same way, however messed up or wrong some of us may be in life… God our Heavenly Father still patiently loves us. Sure he dislikes the disobedience or rebellion – but His love NEVER diminishes and our statuses as his children remain unchanged. My love for you is never diminished, even in the midst of discipline. Something for you to think about: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” Hebrews 12:7. It’s a rhetorical question btw.
3. You make me willing to give my life for you – When I married your mum, who fortunately for me is still very attractive after having both of you (or all of you, if I somehow am satisfied that my chineseman accounts can support another kid), I promised her that I will give my life for her. The verbatim extract from my wedding vow (which I wrote myself btw) is as follows: “I promise to love you as myself, to honor you and to protect you with my life.” That is so romantic… until you consider the nerdy points of contract law governing specific performance of such promises but it’s true, I intend to keep my promises without having to be sued.
As for you, I made no such promise to any of you in the presence of witnesses or in some holy place or anything. Fatherhood (parenthood) forced me to value you above my needs/wants/comfort. When you are a screaming baby/toddler who is hungry or dirty or scared of thunder/the dark etc, your mum and I will have to drop everything to attend to you first. It’s a strange but wonderful thing, this living for somebody else. At first it’s uncomfortable, and I do complain at times (forgive me), but it somehow grew on me, and the strange thing is the more I give, the more I discover that I have more to give to you.
So kids, I chose your mother when I married her and both of us made various promises to each other on that day. Both of us (though unrelated) chose to become related by covenant. But kids, you didn’t choose me. There was no courtship or any such democratic process. God chose me to be your father when you were made. It is a sacred calling and a non-delegable responsibility which I gladly embraced. When you were born, you inherited every single one of your parents’ promises – so no further promises are needed.
I will honour, love and protect you. And that may involve roughing up someone else’s kid who bullied you at the playground. Or as a more graphic illustration, I have also recently drafted the wording of a solemn vow as a template for all future fathers, and it goes something along the lines of: “I shall murder, and with my own hands castrate, anyone who tries to be funny with my daughter.” You may wish to bear my template in mind if you have a daughter of your own in future.
So kids, I hope you learnt something from reading my letter today. If anything, just remember that LimpehZ loves you [insert your name here in case I have more kids after K & Z] very much.