A Letter to My 9-Year-Old Son

Susan Narjala   |   October 21, 2017 

Hey kid,

We’re at the halfway point. In another nine years, you’ll be an adult. I have no idea how we got here. And, - I don’t mean to scare you – but we really have no clue how we'll raise you in the next nine either.

When you made your pink, wrinkly, wailing arrival into our world, your dad and I were first-time parents. We fumbled our way through diapers and discipline, feedings and fusses, baths and bedtime. But God covered our messes with His grace. And He still does. Every single day. Despite our epic goof-ups, you’ve turned out to be a creative, kind-hearted, soulful young man.

We love how you defy “little boy” labels. I’ve never had to explain away your behavior with the weak excuse that “boys will be boys.” We love how you sit on the green armchair in the living room, every fibre of your being absorbed in the latest antics of Calvin and Hobbes. Or how you journey through Narnia with Lucy and her buddies in your wildly creative mind. We love how you can’t wait to get your hands on a piece of paper to effortlessly sketch Simba or Aladdin or one of those weird Pokémon characters.  We love that you hug your grandparents goodbye without being told. We love that you’re super polite -- even while playing football. (That gets a little frustrating sometimes, but it shows that you won’t ever carelessly walk all over someone.)

Don’t let this get to your head, boy. There’s a lot of stuff we’re working on. Like how to be nice to your sister, without us reminding you for the 34th time that day. Like how to help with carrying the groceries when I’m weighed down by bags. Like how to chew with your mouth closed. And stand up straight. And not drag your feet. You know the drill, don’t you?

The next nine years, dad and I will be trying to raise a man. That’s what all the books say we should do. What a crazily impossible task for someone who is still figuring out this adulting thing herself.

We want you to keep reading and writing and drawing and creating. When the world tells you to give up those pastimes because there are more important things to do, ignore those voices. Even when the spotlight and the paycheck lie elsewhere.

We want to raise a man who has a firm handshake and good table manners. But we also want him to know that there’s more to life than pleases and thank yous and knowing where to place the silverware. We want to raise a man with heart. Who allows himself to be uncomfortable in order to put someone else at ease. Who reaches deep into his pockets to bless someone else, even when there’s absolutely no reward in it. Who takes a firm stand and always bends the knee. Who goes out of his way -- but does not ever get in the way of someone else's success.

We have big dreams for you, kid. But you shouldn’t pay any attention to them. Pursue your own dreams. Dreams that scare you a little at least. Dreams that are impossible without God.

Meanwhile, I hope in the next nine years we can teach you something. I hope we can show you how to run the race with intention, but also how to embrace the interruptions. I hope we can show you that we definitely don’t have the answers, but we lean on the One who does. I hope we can show you that life makes absolutely no sense -- unless you allow God in the picture. Front and centre.

I may be a tad bit biased, but I truly think you’re the best.

Keep being yourself.





Photo Credit : Unsplash

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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