Dear Kids: I’m Not Afraid You’ll Fail—But Please Don’t Succeed

I used to have the typical “American dream” hopes for my kids—but I’ve changed my mind. Now I pray they won’t succeed.

Dear Boys,

When you were young I had the typical mamma dreams for you both.

That you’d grow up to be smart, funny, become great athletes and be popular. I dreamed you would go to college, get a good job, own a nice house, have babies and be happily ever after.

Scratch that. I’ve changed my mind.

You see, I have this little fear as your mom and it’s not that you won’t succeed: It’s that you will.

Please hear me out.

You know I go to a lot of funerals, (being my best friend/mentor is 93.) and I have a lot of amazing elderly friends that are nearing their deaths.

I see a lot of walkers, canes and hear a lot about ailments. And here’s the thing I know to be true:

We are all headed there. No matter how much money and success you have, you will end up talking about your arthritis and wondering if you will end up in a home or praying the good Lord just takes you in your sleep.

As I sat in the funeral home the other night encompassed by bad grandma perfume, it hit me:

We have really been doing this whole thing wrong.

We teach our children to think forward, think about your future, plan this thing out. And here’s the thing, we explain you need to think about retirement in the practical aspect, but we don’t ask you important questions like:

What do you want your life to look like when you’re 85 and Jesus is pulling your number soon?

So, here’s my challenge for you boys: Think BACKWARDS. 

Think about the end of your life and plan and pray from there.

When you are standing in front of your Maker, what do you hope to bring to Him? What gifts do you hope to leave at His feet? Will you be just proud that you acquired nice houses, cars and the latest flat screens and gadgets?

Or will you be able to say: “Father I did everything I could do to use what you had given me on this earth to advance Your Kingdom and not mine.”

Heavy stuff here that I’m bringing to you, I know. But, this stuff needs to be said.

Our world teaches us the way to abundance is by getting more things.

Hear me boys: I have had brand, new, shiny vehicles, I have lived in fancy houses with my father, I’ve been on some cool trips and seen amazing parts of the world. These things are nice, these things are enjoyable, but they are exactly that: things. 

And after a while the new car smell fades, the house becomes just a house and you find yourself always having to upgrade to the next best tech invention.

Let me be clear here, I’m not telling you to be lazy, to not have goals, or you can’t ever have nice things and you have to move to Africa to be a missionary. (But if God says go, GO or you may get in big trouble).

What I’m saying is okay, invest in the stock market if you want. But, more importantly, INVEST IN PEOPLE. INVEST in things which truly matter and are going to last and you will carry into eternity.

Don’t let your only focus in this life be about getting a new, shiny, fast car to boost your ego. Concentrate daily on boosting someone’s day and by giving yourself away and emptying yourself of YOU.

Be Kind. (that’s a rarity now a days), be compassionate, be a servant to those around you. And pleaseplease,please, for the love of Jesus don’t keep your head buried in your phone and miss your one beautiful life you’ve been given.

My bottom line here is: think this thing through. You get one gift of a life and one chance to bring this world the Glory of God that lives within you. To me that is way more fulfilling than an “American Dream”.

So enjoy your life, breathe life into others, think backwards with eternity in mind and THEN plan your life and ROCK this thing out for Jesus.

Love you always and forever,

Mom

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This article originally appeared at HollyNoelHaynes.com.

Holly Haynes
Holly is a self-proclaimed mess and says she is one of Jesus' ongoing patients. She also has two obsessions: A good book and sparkly, dangly earrings. She is a wife of eighteen years and a proud mom to two teenage sons. She has weekly bible studies and teaches teens, women, and couples. You can find her most days blogging in her notorious pink robe at hollynoelhaynes.com on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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