From the moment we found out we were expecting you, your father and I began to dream. When we found out you were a boy, our dreams got just a little more specific. When I first held you in my arms, so many of my personal dreams were realized.
Do you remember that first night? Of course, you don’t. Long after everyone left the hospital on the day you were born, it was just you and me in the dark room getting to know one another. I held you skin-to-skin, showered you with kisses, and told you all of the dreams I had for you.
As I’ve had the joy of being your mother and watching you grow, those dreams really haven’t changed. Now that your personality is intact, there is no doubt in my mind that you are capable of great things. You, my child, are strong-willed. Or as I like to say, passionate. Everything you do is done with such intensity and purpose and I love this about you!
Many people talk about changing the strong-willed child, but the last thing I want to do is change this part of your personality. To squelch your strong-willed nature would be like forcing you to write with the opposite hand or wear your jeans inside-out and backwards. It might be doable, but it would be awkward, uncomfortable, and unnecessary.
My dreams for you now encourage the use of your strong-willed temperament. As your parent, it’s my job to make sure that you develop this part of your personality appropriately. I want to help you strike a balance that enables you to assert yourself while maintaining self-control. While it is not okay to talk back and throw fits when you don’t get your way, it is okay to respectfully share your thoughts. While it’s not okay to try to take control over every situation, it is okay to be a leader.
My dreams for you and your strong will include the following:
- Respect the thoughts and opinions of others, even if they differ from your own. This can be difficult because the strong-willed often feel the need to be ‘right’ or have the last word.
- I see in you great potential to be a leader. Be the kind of leader that is worth following.
- Treat everyone as if they matter, because they do. When everyone else walks past the not-so-popular kid in the cafeteria, I want you to sit down and have lunch with him.
- Know what you stand for and don’t be afraid to stand alone because of it. Being strong-willed gives you an advantage in this area. I pray that peer pressure would be no match for you.
- Let your work ethic speak for you regarding your skills and abilities. You are still too young for us to know where you excel, but odds are there will be something that you are great at or enjoy more than anything else. Work hard and be humble. Right now, you have a work ethic that I didn’t even know existed in kids your age. I will do everything I can to continue to encourage this in you.
- Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. This includes the disabled, the unborn, the elderly – they all matter.
- When others run from a problem or tough situation, I want you to run towards it and tackle it head-on.
- Don’t let the real world steal your love of life. You have so much energy and ‘zest’ for life – it would break my heart to see you lose that.
- Come to your own faith in Christ and live your life to glorify Him.
Honestly, I have so many dreams for you that will keep growing and evolving the older you become. But, none of those dreams involve material things; they revolve around the character and integrity I want you to have. I have never dreamt for you to be a doctor, high-powered business man, or professional athlete. I don’t care about those things and I don’t want you to think that is the measure for success. Actually, you have told me on more than one occasion that you would like to be a garbage man. If that’s your passion and you give it your all, then I would be so proud of you for being a garbage man.
There are days when we butt heads, you and me. I am strong-willed, too. I understand that you want to be right and I understand your intensity because I am the same way. We both have a bit of the perfectionist bug to us as well. It has been and will continue to be a challenge to help you focus your strong will in a positive direction, to develop self-control. There are times when I am in tears because I don’t know if I am teaching you in the right way, or if I am even getting through to you at all. But there are more times when I see a glimpse of the man you will one day become and I know that the hard days are worth it.
While I am not much of a gambler, I’ll tell you this much – I’d bet my life on you.
Your strong-willed personality is a gift, not a hindrance. I can’t wait to see where life will take you and I pray each and every day that God would use you in mighty ways.