Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How to be a good husband and father

Last night, I was writing a letter to Joshua to send along with the cookies I made for him and Elder B (chocolate chip oatmeal-pecan, if you must know.  Sheesh.  So impatient.)  I was thinking about the fact that the boy that I sent out 17 months ago is no longer a boy, and that the man that comes home will be nearing the time that -gasp- marriage and family will enter his mind.  I was also thinking about the fact that my Curtis has been such an amazing father to his children and husband to his wife (that's me!), so I decided to give Joshua a little advice about how to be like his dad.  Here's what I wrote:

Joshua, your awesome dad is a good man.  Always be like him.  When you get married, always be the kind of man who treasures your wife even if she sometimes asks like a spoiled poop head (not that I know anyone like that…)  ;)  Always play with your kids and ride skateboards and run and be active and don’t wear “dad clothes.”  Eat and live adventurously.  Do things that other people don’t do.  Honor your priesthood and go to the temple as much as you can.  Play Xbox with your sons and Bitty Babies with your daughters.  Cook and bake because it’s fun and a creative outlet.  Come home early from work as a surprise sometimes.  Take your sons out for ice cream after the priesthood session of General Conference and go out for Mexican food after baptisms, graduations and other important family events.  Remember to have family prayer and scripture study and Family Home Evening, and give your kids and wife blessings at the beginning of each school year.  Remember to ask your home teachers for a blessing for yourself.  Always be excited about missionary work.  Give your wife flowers just because.  Don’t get mad or stressed out if she sometimes cries for no apparent reason.  Learn to braid your daughters’ hair.  Pay your tithing first.  Go on a date every week even if it means you lock your bedroom door and eat takeout Chinese and watch a DVD at home.  Don’t spend more than you make and make sure you save money each month and slowly put together your food storage.  Go out on double dates with other couples.  Make sure those other couples aren’t all church members.  Write letters and notes to your wife.  Read the Ensign and enjoy your church meetings; don’t think of them as a chore.  Listen to loud music and dance with your kids.  Wrestle with them and get into tickle fights.  Let them stay up past their bedtimes sometimes, and let them have cake for dinner once in a while.  Save for a yearly vacation, even if it’s just a long weekend a few hours from home.  Read lots of books.  Watch conference and make sure your family does too.  Mow and shovel and rake for the widows or elderly that live close to you and teach your kids to serve others.  Deliver treats to neighbors and friends on Christmas Eve with your family.  Let your kids make forts in the basement.  Don’t eat too much meat.  At least once a year, send your wife out for a day alone.  At least once a year, go out alone or do something fun with a friend.  Do a good job with your church calling and see it as a challenge and privilege rather than something to be endured.  Be happy and “find joy in the journey” (Elder Wirthlin) even when you’re faced with challenges.  Propose to your wife-to-be in a really interesting and creative way.  Don’t go into debt to buy her ring.  Buy her a rock for your 10th anniversary.  Sing to your newborn babies.  Don’t worry and let negative comments  roll off your back.  Remember the scout motto.  Have fun at your job, even if it’s not your dream job.  Notice funny things.  Take your teens and their friends out for pizza during school lunch.  Have lunch dates in the school cafeteria with your little kids.  Give your wife a Valentine’s Day present even if she says it’s a pointless holiday and she doesn’t want anything.  Constantly think of ways to improve your life and your family’s life.  Call your parents every Sunday.  Think about adopting a child with special needs.  If you end up with a biological child with special needs, don’t grieve too long and recognize quickly that you’ve been entrusted with an amazing blessing.  Paint your daughters’ toenails.  Give way more than you think you can afford.  Tell your very pregnant wife that she’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.  Don’t worry when she calls her mom and cries sometimes.  If you slip and say a bad word, apologize.  Chocolate is always the right answer.  Don’t regularly eat unhealthy foods or allow yourself to become addicted to anything.  Exercise because it’s fun.  Don’t use credit cards.  Take each kid out for a daddy-child date every month, even if it’s just a trip to the store along with a chance to pick out a treat at the checkout.  Tell your people you love them every day.  Keep the Sabbath day holy.  Hug your kids and kiss your wife every day.  Expect good things to happen in your life.  Work hard.  Serve the Lord with all your might, mind and strength.  Listen.  Be encouraging.  When your wife frets over innumerable things, wrap your arms around her and promise her everything will be all right.  Ask her if she wants a blessing.  Have a dog.  Listen to great music or audio books on the way home from work.  Play indoor soccer on a men’s team.  Tip well.  Talk to strangers.  Teach your kids to drive a stick shift.  Don’t eat at McDonalds.  Do eat at hole-in-the-wall restaurants, get to know the owners and ask them to surprise you with your meal.  Say sorry even if you’re sure it’s not your fault.  Stay in touch with your missionary companions.  Call your siblings on their birthdays.  Remember their kids’ names.  Don’t give your children everything they want, even if you can afford to do it.   No matter what you do, let your actions and words demonstrate that you love God and want to be with Him again.  Together with your wife, lead your family in righteousness.  Always have a prayer in your heart.

These are the things your dad does.  You’re already so like him in so many ways.  It makes me excited for what the future holds for you (and no, I’m not trying to make you trunky, stinkpot!).  I just want you to know that even though we’re far from being a perfect family, we’re as successful as we are because you have an awesome father.  If you’re like him, you’ll have a wonderful and happy life in spite of the challenges that inevitably come along.  Your grandpas are good examples too.  You’ve been very fortunate to have so many wonderful men in your life.  President Cutler (and Jones) is another man you can learn great things from.  You have been truly blessed to have been shaped and cultivated by your Heavenly Father through these righteous men.  

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