To My Future Son-in-law’s Dad

Please teach him to climb a tree

Sir, you don’t know me yet. But rest assured, you will know me well as our children progress in their relationship. More importantly, you will understand well my expectations of any young man that dates my daughter. Maybe you have a daughter also, maybe you don’t. But surely you can understand why I would have such high expectations of my future son-in-law.

To My Future Son-in-law's Dad

Your son has little chance of meeting my expectations without your intentional engagement and teaching in his life. Please do not abdicate your responsibilities to school teachers, youth ministers, church members, or even his mother. If you do, a moral façade will be created that robs your son of the blessing of true moral character and hides your son’s true nature from my daughter. Others can mold a nice façade around your son, but only you can build a proper foundation.

Unlike all the clichés you read about, I have no plans to clean my shotgun while your son is in my home. I don’t plan to take him snipe hunting. I will not be asking my police buddies for any background checks on your family.

However, I will communicate clearly with your son my expectations. It would be much better for him if he hears these things from you first. Let me share a few things that I hope you teach your son long before he pops the question to my daughter.

Teach him to have a relationship with Jesus… Notice I didn’t mention take him to church.

Teach him to study his Bible… Notice I didn’t mention just reading the Bible.

Teach him to talk with God… Notice I didn’t mention just reciting a prayer before each meal.

Teach him to climb a tree… If he won’t climb a tree as a boy, he won’t climb a ladder when my daughter needs a light bulb changed.

Teach him to avoid conflict when possible… If he doesn’t know how & when to avoid conflict, conflict will become the norm for daily life.

Teach him to face conflict when needed… If he doesn’t know how to face unavoidable conflict, he will allow others to take advantage.

Teach him to sacrifice… If he doesn’t understand the principle of sacrifice for the benefit of others, he has no hope of fulfilling his responsibilities as a husband.

Teach him to work hard… If he won’t work hard, he doesn’t deserve to eat.

Teach him how to shake hands… If he is afraid to deliver a firm hand shake, he doesn’t possess the confidence to be a husband.

Teach him to look people in the eye… If he can’t listen with his eyes, he’ll allow almost anything to distract him from listening to my daughter.

Teach him to love & respect his mother… If he doesn’t demonstrate love & respect for his mother, he won’t do it for my daughter either.

Whether you also have a daughter or not, I trust you understand my motives for sharing this letter with you. I want the very best for my daughter and I will scale whatever mountain, leap whatever building, have whatever difficult conversation, suffer whatever awkward situation, and confront whatever person that jeopardizes what’s best for her.

Having said all that, what do you say we meet for coffee and discuss?


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If you are already a podcast subscriber, thank you so much for listening. It is my hope all the content you find here will equip you to be God’s man at home. It would mean a great deal to me if you would stop into iTunes to rate the podcast with a star rating and provide some feedback.

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