My precious boys,
There are countless things that I wish to tell you, to teach you, before you are grown men. I know that day will arrive sooner than I feel today. Today you are all so small, full of innocent passions and ideas, giggling smiles and grubby hands.
Yet soon, so very very soon, you will tower above me, no doubt full of strength and ambition. You will leave this place of memories and blaze your own paths in this vast world.
And you should. I would want it no other way.
But before that day comes, before you close the door on your childhood and venture into a world of shadows, please take these words and requests of mine to heart.
There will be many whispers in your ears on how you should treat women. The various encounters will stretch these words from smooth to cruel. I would ask that you ignore them all, and keep two images in your minds instead.
When you see an older woman, think of me.
Whether she is the grocery clerk or a lady of means, a friend or complete stranger, whether she is screaming obscenities to your face or smiling sweetly, whether she is beautiful or worn down by the years….think of me.
See your mother in all of these women and treat them as you would me. Offer them your strength, your kindness, and your arm. Carry them as you would carry me.
And when you see a younger woman, think of your sister.
Whether she is lovely or plain, large or small, sweet or harsh, whether she is secure or homeless, intelligent or simple…think of your sister.
Protect and defend them as you would her. Don’t merely see flesh and curves, but sisters in need of a brother and friend. Be a voice for them when their’s are silent, though it cost you greatly to do so. Protect them from their own foolish choices, though it earns you their scorn.
You would for your sister. Do the same for them.
I am aware that this is a difficult thing I ask of you all. It means setting aside your own desires and reactions that the world around you caters and encourages.
But I know you can.
And if you grow to be even a fraction of the man your father is, then I know you will do this without me even asking.
Be strong and courageous. Not simply for yourselves, but for those around you. For the images of your mother and sister that greet you daily.
Be just. Be merciful. Be godly. Be kind.
Throw the apple.
All my love,