For multiple generations we have had a culture of absent fathers, and mothers too. Absent doesn’t necessarily mean a single parent home, orphaned or lacking physical presence in other ways. Absent can still be true even in the presence of one another. We live in a culture driven to prove self for the sake of identity and to earn or work for value and approval. And this battle doesn’t automatically go away when someone has children either. Most fathers and mothers carry their own battles, wounds and areas of lack right into that next phase of life. Many are still trying to be fulfilled by success, money, approval and so much more. We have a culture starved and striving for significance, much of which can be seen every day on social media platforms everywhere.
My dad experience his “aha moment” when he heard someone once say, “You can climb the ladder of success your whole life, only to find that it was propped up against the wrong building.” He was pretty high up one of those ladders too, as many of you might be, but when he came down from that place he became much more fulfilled himself, and then began to create those same ladders for others, and helped direct them towards the right buildings. People talk all the time of the “rat race” of culture, but we don’t often talk of the “why?” that keeps it going. That “why?” is that root of identity in our lives that perhaps hasn’t been filled, or fulfilled. It keeps us climbing ladders, that lead to hamster wheels, that lead to sleep, more ladders, and, well, you get the picture.
Because of this normal, accepted part of culture most fathers and mothers have had to earn or fight for whatever they’ve gotten in life; rarely experiencing the kind of freely given love, value, belonging and worth we’re talking about with The Culture Purple. Most didn’t have parents that were present, or that didn’t know how to give such a free blessing away because they were never given such themselves.
That’s where I want to start right now. If you have grown up, and even raised kids or grandkids of your own, and have never had a father or mother stop life long enough to look at you, see your heart and all the goodness and treasures inside you; if you’ve never had someone see the best in you and be able to speak it out over you, that’s what I want to start with right now.
I want you to know that you are valued just for who you are; not for what you have or have earned, but simply because you are you. You bring your own unique goodness, life, love and presence into the room just by walking into it. You don’t have to do anything, bring anything, prove anything, you just have to show up and be you. I honor you and believe in you most just because of who you are, that you carry a special identity within that is unmatched. I am so thankful you are in this world and this world will never be the same simply because you entered it.
I also want you to know that you are loved. Too many people have grown up trying to work for love or prove that they are love-worthy, but I am here to make sure you know that is a lie from the pit of hell because you are loved just for who you are. The moment you came into being, no matter how adverse situation you or your parents were in you were, and are, loved. I’m sorry for the way many of us in the world have fortified the wrong kind of love in your life; please forgive us. But from here on out, I hope and pray with all my heart that you will know you are loved in the most free and powerful ways possible, that you no longer have to live for love, but you can live from love. I love you and I don’t even know you! Though, I would like to.
Chances are you have worked very hard in your life in one way or another, which looks different for us all. Chances are you have worked so hard that you’ve never had time or freedom to realize the purpose you carry. But the truth is, no matter what has happened up until this point, you have incredible purpose in this world. You have been designed with unique purpose that is waiting to leave a mark wherever you go, whatever you grasp, just like the unique fingerprints you leave behind on whatever you touch. There is someone, somewhere in the world who is literally waiting for what you carry, whose life will be so impacted because you stepped into purpose. And I know how challenging it can be to discover your purpose in a world where it seems like yours doesn’t fit. You might not be able to see its end line or destination, but just start connecting the dots one step at a time and you’ll find that your life paints a picture for the world that it cannot get from anywhere else.
I cannot finish this section without telling you the same thing my dad and mom sought to make sure I knew, and that is that we believe in you! You can accomplish anything you put your heart and mind to, and there are people in your corner who—even when they don’t say it out loud, or don’t know how to say it—who truly believe in you. People watch you and are encouraged by your life ten times more than they ever say out loud. People think much more highly of you than they know how to communicate, which is why we compare and measure ourselves against one another so much. But that is exactly why we don’t need to compare ourselves to the person on our left or right, because you have a part to play that only you can play. You know how to play the piano or the violin or drums when everyone else around you is actually supposed to be playing something else—that’s the beauty of an orchestra. So just keep your eyes on the conductor and play the instrument you were created to play in this world with all your heart, give life through the life in your heart and you have no idea the hope that you will shine out to so many.
As a father myself, I bless you to be who you were created to be, to fulfill every purpose formed inside you, and to go for it and multiply great things to the world all around you. You are valued, you are loved, you have purpose, and truly, we believe in you!
This is for you. And soon, it will be for others through you.
We don’t just want to sponsor the survival of the next generation, we want to empower them to fulfill every purpose they were created for. We want to give them vision, which will give them hope. We want to give them belonging to a greater family, which will give them identity. We want to give them permission to dream, and to try stepping into those dreams, which will give them purpose.