A good man takes care of today, but a wise man takes care of the future. I don’t know why, but it has always been part of my makeup to think long-term. Very seldom do you plant a tree to enjoy today, but so you’ll have a place to hang a tire swing for your grandchildren. I’m always thinking of things I can do today that will have good results 20 or 25 years from now.
I began to think this way when my wife was pregnant with our first son, Jeremiah. I knew he, like all of us, would have plenty of challenges ahead. I decided to write him a letter and finish it the day he was born.
Back in those days, we didn’t have sonograms. The recommended method of determining a baby’s sex was to remove the mother’s wedding ring, tie it to a string and hold it over her abdomen. If it swung in a circle, the baby would be a boy. If it rocked back and forth, you had yourself a girl. This method is only 50 percent accurate but costs 100 percent less than a sonogram.
On the day each of my sons was born, I sent a letter welcoming him into the world and explaining why we named him and what his name meant. Each letter carried the postmark of the boy’s actual birthdate. I didn’t give either one his letter until he was beginning his teenage years. This way, he would know that even before he was born, we recognized his worth and value and chose his name with a purpose.
I didn’t write these letters for the day I sent them, but for a time when my sons began to struggle with their identity and needed a written document to which they could go back and reflect. And I know both boys have done so.
These days, I often find myself thinking of the future of the Kingdom. Sometimes, I give friends’ children missionary purses, little coin purses I have brought home from somewhere overseas. Into each little purse, I insert a five-dollar bill and some foreign coins along with a letter. I want to cast into their young minds and hearts that following God is a series of adventures, but like all adventures, they carry a cost, and we must be prepared. I want to cast into them the thought that one day, God might call them on a short-term mission trip or to become a full time missionary. Some of these children are just babies, but one day, they’ll ask about the mysterious mission purse.
I’ve also invested in the future through these articles. More than once, I’ve written about my grandson, “Titus the Honorable.” This has also been intentional. I know his mother clips and saves these articles for him and that one day, he’ll read his grandfather’s writing. I’ll probably be living with Jesus for a while before he understands the truth of my words. But I want him to know there is dignity in his name, and Titus means “the honorable one.” Titus is the one who walks upright, the one who in every situation will walk out the principles of the Scriptures, the one who walks according to his name and not the riches of the world. “A good name is more desirable than great riches, to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Prov. 22:1).
The more you cast into a child the value of their name, the more they are drawn to walk according to it. Can you excuse me for a few lines? I want to say something to my grandson.
“Titus, before you were born, your mom and dad prayed about your name. The Lord laid on their hearts the given name of Titus. When I heard it for the first time, it leaped into my heart. What a strong name to give a young child, a name that will last your entire life. Your name means ‘honorable one.’ You will be respected in this world because you walk tall with the Word of God and with His principles. You have already received a rich heritage with that name alone. From the time I first heard your name until now, I have prayed every day without fail that you would chose the path your name lays out before you. You are Titus the Honorable. Love always, your Poppy.”
Thanks for letting me have a moment to write to my grandson. Maybe it’s time to write to your children and grandchildren. A note like that may not mean anything right now, but like a little seed planted, it has the potential to become mighty. And so do your children and grandchildren if you keep investing for the future.