Andrew Collins: My Future Son

Posted by in Faith | August 5, 2013


Editor’s Note: Andrew Collins has now written a blog post for us first as a member of our brotherhood, and now as a full-time member of IRON and FIRE’s team. His clarity about what it means to leave a legacy as a father is significant, not just for it’s merit and insight in the face of a materialistic worldview that’s constantly imposed upon us, but also for the simple fact that he is still a young man, anticipating his first child. This kind of wisdom in reflection is what we work tirelessly to impart on our brothers in IRON and FIRE. Thanks Andrew for the thoughtful lesson and for the man you’re becoming!

When I was driving the other day, one of the guys in the car was talking about a sweet car that his dad had and then another guy piped up and talked about his dad’s motorcycle. Then they started to talk about having these different lake or beach houses and memberships to the best clubs. It struck me in that moment that I will probably never have any of these things. Then I thought, “What if my future son was in that car? Would he be thinking, ‘man my dad is lame, he doesn’t have any of those cool things or places.’ What if he mentioned my old 4-cylinder truck or the place we lived and the fact that, not only do we not have multiple houses, he shares a room with his brother? Would he be so ashamed that he thought making up something would be better than telling the truth?”

So I started to ask myself, “What would I want my son to say in that car on that day? Would I want him to stay quiet or skirt the truth so I sound cooler to his friends?” After all, I do have a deep desire to be liked and approved. I want to be put in the categories with other dads who are successful and wealthy. I want to be able to give my son things to be proud of and make him feel valued. It sure seems like that’s what gets you talked about by your son in a car full of kids bragging on their fathers. Then I realized my desire for approval and value had sunk to a conversation between teenage kids. Why do I even care?

I sank for a second under the weight of all this and thought, “What if I fall short of worldly approval from my son? Is that all I have given him on which to stake his life and purpose?” Then, quietly in my heart I cried out, “Jesus, let me be a father of eternal things.” I want my future son to know Jesus and that is the best gift I could ever give him. Even with all the money, houses, cars, status, fame, and success, there is still only one gift you can give your sons that is eternal; and that is Jesus.

Recently, I attended a funeral for the dad of one of my close friends. It happened only a couple of days after my friend had been married. As I was traveling to Montgomery for the funeral, I was trying to make sense of everything that was likely going on in my friend’s head. I wondered, “What would I say of my father?” then, “What would I want my future son to say of me.” These thoughts swirled around in my head until my friend got up on stage and spoke of his father. His father was a very successful and wealthy man; but his son spoke none of that. His son talked about his father’s spiritual impact on his life and the legacy he has left. Then he said, “I want to tell you my dad’s favorite story.” I was ready for some wild, crazy story with a comedic ending. But, instead, he gave everyone a story that will continue to endure throughout time – the story of the gospel.

That was it. I saw then a clearer picture of what I would want my future son to say. I want to give my son all the time in the world to spend with me, as my heavenly father has given me his time. I want to be slow to anger and abounding in grace and love, as my heavenly father has been with me. I want to guide my future son toward purpose and identity, toward knowing that he is a child of the king, just as my heavenly father has done for me. I want to be a father who looks my future son in the eyes and says, “Well done. I am proud of you.” not because of his success, but because he is my son. How deep a picture is this of how the heavenly father looks on Jesus and then on us. May this be the call on my heart as a future father, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. Make important to your sons the eternal, not the perishing.

Andrew Collins

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