As parents, we love our kids. We have great hopes and dreams for them. It’s our desire that they have better lives than us, that somehow the lessons we’ve learned can help them. We may not always get it right…not showing our love the correct way, nor delivering a message as charitably as we could at times. But deep down, we love them unconditionally, for who they are as our sons and daughters.

Over the course of their first 20 or so years, it’s our job to not only love them, but to prepare them for life. What does that look like? What should they know?

The obvious things are the basic life skills, which are many and include everything from eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep to how to fend for themselves, how to stay safe, spend wisely, and even save money. More complex things are how to choose a profession or a new job, or how to choose friends or a future spouse. There are also things like discipline, generosity, and integrity. The list is obviously much greater than the above. The things they need to know are many.

Having stated the above, what I’ve experienced as the most important things they need to know are:

  • The love of Jesus Christ
  • To be heavily engaged in our faith.

Cross Country Trip – Terrain Analogous to Life

This past week, I had the opportunity to drive from Pittsburgh, PA to San Diego, CA with my son, RJ, where he launches his career in ministry, having just graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville.

The 2,500-mile trip took us 4 days. The first 1,400 miles, over Interstate 70, all the way to Denver, was straight, flat, and green. There were really no bumps or curves, much like we would prefer life to be, which is often not the case.

West of Denver, still on I70, the roads wind and go up and down dramatically. The view is majestic, with the drive at points even being a challenge. Then comes Utah, along both I70 and I15, where the red rocks and mountainous terrain are equally as gorgeous. Like in life, there’s true beauty and important lessons in the peaks and valleys, in the twists and turns.

As nice as the ride was given the scenery, the real joy of the trip was the time spent with my son, talking about everything, including our faith. We covered all the ups and downs, the good and the bad…the life we shared that looked much more like I70 west of Denver as compared to the flat terrain east.

Why Faith is the Most Important Thing

Having both come to be deeply engaged in our faith in the same way, through tragedy, I’ve been blessed to be journeying alongside my son, learning and growing individually and together. We’ve both learned that it’s in knowing the love of Christ that changes everything, that all the answers to life are truly taught by the Church and are in the Bible.

In knowing God’s unconditional love, it’s apparent to both of us that He wants us to be happy. We know that God made each of us (including you) with a specific purpose in mind, with special gifts. We know that nothing happens by accident, that all is part of God’s grand plan. And we both know that our “yes” to the Lord brings us nothing less than great peace, joy, and fulfillment, even in the bad times (there will be bad times).

Although the other things RJ learned over his first 23 years were important, nothing can replace his faith in God as being so life changing. He’s learned that whether good or bad, up or down, he has God to love him and protect him. May God continue to bless my son and all of our children. May they all have the faith in our Lord to truly prosper in life.

Please share your thoughts with me at mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.

May God Bless you on your journey to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment.

Mark Joseph

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