Years ago, we watched some wise mentors walk their children from childhood to adulthood in a very intentional manner. There was no expectation of rebelling. No abandoning the young adults just as they needed their parents' guidance. It was done in a manner than tied their children's hearts to theirs while simultaneously letting them move into independent and responsible adulthood.
Our eldest son turned twelve this year. That cusp of young adulthood, he is sprouting both in stature and maturity right before our eyes. In order to help him along this journey, we gave him Twelve Challenges. He is expected to complete these before his thirteenth birthday at which time he will receive additional privileges to launch him on a young man's journey to adulthood.
Here is the letter that we gave him along with the twelve challenges. Also this year, we will be reaching out to several influential men in his life to ask for input and prayer as he grows. Feel free to use these in your own family however you see fit. Next year, I'll have to update you!
Twelve years ago today, God gave us a precious gift: YOU! It has been amazing and fun to watch you grow from an infant to a toddler, to a little boy, and now to a young man. You are an amazing older brother and a friend to everyone you meet. It has been our delight to watch the gifts and talents that God has blessed you with begin to emerge. You have a love for learning about anything new. You are a natural leader who loves justice. Your kind heart recognizes when others are hurting and we’ve seen you reach out to comfort. Your quick mind easily grasps new concepts and learning comes easily to you. God will use these to bring His Kingdom to bear upon this world. We can’t wait to see how!
Since before you were born, we have often thought of how God would use Joshua in the Bible to influence and be an example to you. He led his people in the face of great opposition, standing up for the Lord in a world filled with false teachings. The Lord told Joshua, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” These words from God are for you as well.
God has called men to be leaders. They carry responsibility to care for their families, the communities and the world. Men are called to take the lead and the Lord has placed great responsibility on their shoulders. In order to grow into a servant leader like Christ, you will need to rely on His strength and wisdom, humbling submitting to His Holy Spirit with each step. This is not easy, but He has planned a special path and tasks just for you to complete for His glory. You have what it takes to be a man of God.
As you turn twelve today, there are some new things for you to learn as you move toward manhood. We have planned twelve challenges for you that are designed to stretch and test you physically, intellectual and spiritually. You may complete these challenges in any order you choose. You have one year to complete these twelve challenges. If you complete all twelve by your thirteenth birthday, you will receive a number of new privileges.
As you put childhood behind you, remember how much we love you and that we are here to support you at any age. We are so proud of the strong, creative and godly man that you are becoming.
We love you,
Mom and Dad
Challenge #1: Understanding the Needs of the World- You will volunteer 4 times. (Homeless shelter, help with disabled children, City Lights Women and Children Shelter, food bank, etc)
Challenge #2: Knowing God’s Word – You will read How to Study the Bible for Kids and apply it to a book of the Bible such as James.
Challenge #3: Growing into a Man of God – You will read Boyhood and Beyond and Do Hard Things and discuss them with Dad.
Challenge #4: Understanding your freedom – You will memorize the preamble of the Constitution and be able to discuss the Bill of Rights.
Challenge #5: Considering your future- You will research various colleges and college majors. You will identify 3 majors of interest and find the top 10 colleges that offer those majors.
Challenge #6: Having a job- You will earn $500. You will then tithe a portion, save a portion, invest a portion and spend a portion.
Challenge #7: Understanding Money – You will complete Money Matters for Teens. You will also create a budget for a family of 4.
Challenge #8: Understanding your responsibilities -
a. You will take a gun safety course and go shoot at a range or with an expert (and Dad).
b. You will learn basic car repair (change the oil, change tire, fill coolant, etc)
c. You will learn basic bike repair (patch a flat, change tire, adjust chain, etc)
Challenge #9: Building your strength and pushing your limits- You will run 30 miles in 30 days. You will train your body to complete 50 push-ups, 100 sit ups and 5 pull ups.
Challenge #10: Learning to plan – you will plan and complete a weekend backpacking trip with your dad.
Challenge #11: Helpful life skills- You will learn to touch type over 40 words per minute. You will also plan, shop, prepare and serve one family dinner.
Challenge #12: Keeping yourself pure- You will go on a Family Life Passport 2 Purity Retreat with your dad.