I am not always a wonderful father.  Truth be told, I am seldom a wonderful father.  I get angry too fast, am impatient too often and allow the pressures of life to keep me from leading as I should. It is very easy, in the midst of the aforementioned shortcomings, to forget the reason that God has given me the responsibility to lead my children.  To that end, I have compiled the following list of ten things that I want my children to know. It is a great privilege and overwhelming responsibility to lead my children. I believe that these ten things will help them to be used by God in an amazing way.

1. In spite of the fact that I often fall short as your father and struggle to be the parent and leader that you deserve, I love you more than I can ever seem to express and would do anything to help you become the person that God has created you to be.

2. Success is not measured by the job you have, the car you drive or the house that you live in.  You will know that you are a success when you have a life wrapped up in service to God.

3. The only title or position that you should ever be concerned about is “Child of God.” The rest just doesn’t matter when your identity is found in Christ.

4. Life is hard.  Hard is not something to be avoided but rather an opportunity to remember who you serve and why you live.  Don’t ever run away from things that are difficult but hang on to God as you deal with them.

5. You are going to fall.  You will not always accomplish everything that you attempt. Learn from these times and move on.

6. Regardless of what falling looks like in your life, I will always be here to help you get back up and figure out the way forward.

7. Because you are smart and talented you will often succeed. Do not allow temporary success to make you forget who you are and the purpose for which you were created.  Temporary success can be just as dangerous. Be careful and aware.

8. Do not let the opinion of others move you.  Good or bad, listening to the opinions of others will cause you to do things and think things that you otherwise would not.  The only opinion that matters is the opinion of the one who gave His life for you.

9. When you feel the worst about yourself please remember that God loves you and I love you.  There is nothing that you can do to change that.

10. Hopelessness is a feeling not a fact.  We all feel hopeless from time to time but that feeling does not change the truth that there is always hope! The path ahead may be dark and confusing but there is a path ahead even when it is unclear.  We will work to find it.

I look forward to seeing what God is going to do with your life and am both blessed and overwhelmed with the responsibility that He has given me as your father. I will fail often.  I will say things that I shouldn’t and act toward you in ways that you do not deserve.  But please don’t ever forget that in spite of the times I fail, I am your biggest fan!

What are some of the lessons that you feel you must teach to your children?

Jeremy Stalnecker is the Executive Director of the Mighty Oaks Foundation which is dedicated to helping America’s military warriors and their families who are suffering from the unseen wounds of combat. While growing up Jeremy’s only goal was to leave home and join the Marine Corps. This dream was finally realized with an active duty commission in 1999 which opened the door to serve as a Marine Infantry Officer during the opening days of the war in Iraq. One month after returning from Iraq, Jeremy entered full-time ministry and eventually accepted a senior pastor role. He later accepted a full-time position with the Mighty Oaks Foundation which brought together his ministry and military experience in a way that allows him to minister to hurting veterans, service members and their families. Along with his wife and their four children, Jeremy works to reach the hurting and provide healing found in Christ.

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