“We must not hope to be mowers,

And to gather the ripe gold ears,

Unless we have first been sowers

And watered the furrows with tears.

It is not just as we take it,

This mystical world of ours,

Life’s field will yield as we make it

A harvest of thorns or of flowers.”

                  -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Right now, It’s an unusually beautiful February day and I’m sitting outside on my porch writing while watching my 9 year-old son ride his bike while my 2 year-old daughter plays with her little purse, trying to hide it in a tree. I love the innocence of childhood! I was observing my son a few minutes ago and just feeling grateful to be that little boy’s father. I’ve been very blessed! As I look at these children,  I also feel the burden that comes with the responsibility of being a good father.

I don’t want to be a good father so that one day when my children are grown they like me. I don’t want to be a good father to show the world that I am one. I want to be a good father because I want my children to grow up and be genuinely happy people. I know that all of the experiences that I have had in my life are there so that not only I can learn from them, but also so that I might teach my children through my own experiences. Part of the work of being a parent isn’t just the yesses, no’s, disciplining, and headaches that we go through each day, but rather the pains that we go through as we have our own difficult experiences and watch our children pass through their own difficult experiences.

I’m not going to sugar-coat it for you here folks… life is hard, and it’s meant to be that way! What we can do however, is sow what we want to reap from it! With our kids, we can teach them by example the best way to handle difficult situations. I often have found myself when in a difficult situation, much more short tempered than is natural for me to be. I am not as patient with my kids as I would like to be in those moments. What does that teach them? It teaches them that when then going gets rough, it’s time to lose patience and throw our hands in the air!

So if my goal is to raise my children to be happy and joyful people, I need to sow the seeds of happiness and joy! I have to purposefully react to those situations in a way that shows them the best way to live and be happy. I have to intentionally react to my circumstances in the ways that I believe are best for them to see, rather than allowing my circumstances to rule the way I react. Everything in this life is a choice. Every second of every minute of every day, we are making choices. Right now, you are choosing to read this article. Thank you! I am choosing to write it! With every choice we make, we have the option to let our upbringing, culture, or beliefs choose for us, or we have the option to consciously choose for ourselves how we will react. I prefer having the control. It’s much more fun!

We have to live our lives on purpose! If we don’t purposefully live our lives, then our life is going to live us and we’re just going to be observers on the sidelines! I know what I want out of this life. I know that you know what you want out of this life. It’s time that we each sit down and write out what it is we want out of this life, and then write out what it is that will be required of us to get whatever that is. Everything is feasible my friends… it is up to us to write the plan of how to get there and begin to execute.

We can choose whether we are going to reap flowers or thorns. It’s all a question of what we sow. That which is worth reaping, is worth sowing through blood, sweat, and tears. It rings true for parenting, relationships, careers, and anything else we want to achieve greatness in in this life. I’m sorry to break the news to you my friends, but the blood, sweat, and tears are a requirement for anything worthwhile in this life. If it’s worth having, it’s worth fighting for! I believe that with my whole heart. So let’s get out there and bleed! Let’s get out there and sweat! Let’s get out there and feel sorrow and cry! It’s worth every second. Let’s get out there and fight!