Walk Softly, Speak Goodness, Love Fiercely, Live Joyfully

A letter to my grandson, July 14, 2020



My dearest Cooper,

As I write this, my heart is filled with unsurpassed joy, and overwhelming love. In the midst of the loudness and the chaos, and the uncertainty of these most difficult days, I have hope. And my hope comes from you.

Thankfully, you don’t feel or understand the weight of these trying times, and you have no idea that within you lies the power for change. You are “tabula rasa,”–a blank slate waiting for the words of your life to be scribbled, shaping and molding you through your experiences and perceptions. Your canvas is being painted daily, and the words, and experiences and perspectives that become a part of you and who you are becoming will be what you will give to the world.

You are a work of art, an original, a masterpiece, and your presence will be a bright shining light, spreading joy and happiness to all you meet.

As you prepare your brushes and choose the many colors you will use when creating your story, I would like to share with you some things I’ve learned from a lifetime of lessons–joys and sorrows, difficult times, and blessings.

It is my daily prayer that you have a life you love, and a life that breathes peace, and joy, love and kindness into all you meet.

Your life will be filled with milestones, and music, celebrations, and sadness, victories and defeats. Through all the beautiful and challenging days, it is my hope that you will come to understand it is within those most difficult, hard times that you will learn the most. Those important, life-changing lessons that shape you, and mold you into the person you will become, will result from the times where you fall short and things don’t go as planned.

In those times, my sweet little man, my wish is that you learn to walk softly. Don’t be loud, or throw a fit, or draw attention to yourself by crying because you didn’t get your way. Look inside of yourself, reflect on how you can change the outcome, and move forward.

And do all of this with class. Use your disappointment to become more understanding, and more empathetic. Use it to become better. Accept the obstacles and allow them to lead you in a direction and a final destination that is far greater than you could ever imagine.

In a loud, obnoxious, deafening, hard world, walk softly.

As you learn to navigate your way through life’s ups and downs, I pray that in these trial-filled days, you will always speak goodness. Don’t let the world harden your spirit. Always see it through child-like eyes.

Be amazed and awe-struck. Believe in happy endings, always understanding that these aren’t magical, fairy-tale outcomes, but are the result of accepting the challenges and opportunities that come your way.

Smile, and laugh, and be kind to all you meet. Your demeanor, positive words, and intentional actions will not only affect and influence others, but will come back to you in many ways. What you say reflects what is in your heart. Always remember words can never be taken away once spoken. Choose yours wisely, for the words you speak will shape your attitude, and how others perceive you.

In a world where words can do harm and hurt others, speak goodness.

My sweet little Cooper, every night I pray for your protection, and health, and that you will come to know Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life, and through him you will have eternal life. One of His greatest commandments is for us to love one another.

You will find it’s easy to love the people you care about—the ones who fill your life with joy, who take care of you, provide for you, support and encourage you. But the challenge of this commandment lies in loving the unlovable. Though it is hard, and exhausting, and at times seems fruitless, always choose love.

Don’t ever give up on people. Circumstances, situations, and events can change them, causing them to become jaded, and cynical, hateful, and bitter from a life-time of seemingly endless struggles. Though it will be difficult and frustrating, love them anyway.

And love them fiercely. Be the light in their otherwise dark existence.

When there seems to be nothing left to do, pray for them. Always remember, praying for someone is the greatest gift you can give.

And for those who are easy to love, never take them for granted. Let them know how you feel, and always remember love comes in many forms. Learn their love language. Give out words of affirmation, spend time with them, perform acts of service for others, listen, share, understand, and encourage.

Love God, and your family, your friends, your neighbors, and those you’ve yet to meet. And love your country; respect the laws of the land and embrace your freedoms.

In a world filled with anger, and hardness, and hate, love fiercely.

In a loud, chaotic, deafening world filled with negativity, always look for the good. It’s there, I promise. In every situation, good can be found. Let it triumph. Let goodness, and kindness, and hope guide you in all you do. And my sweet little one, choose to live joyfully.

You see, when you walk softly, and speak goodness, and love fiercely, you will live joyfully. You will rest easy at night, and you will dream big dreams. And one day, through hard work, persistence, resilience, determination, and grit, you will accomplish all the great and exciting things you set out to do.

I believe in you. You give me hope for a better world. As I look into those big blue eyes, I see a bright future. Your life can be anything you want it to be. I pray you embrace your special talents and abilities, and are never selfish with your gifts. Share them with others, and use them to make your corner of the world better.

As I place the great burden of making a difference upon your little shoulders, I pray that my words will follow you through your life, and long after I’m gone. I pray that you will always feel my love for you. I hope you will understand that I do have great expectations for you, “for to whom much is given, much will be required.”

As you begin your journey and this great adventure, I have a peace within my heart, because I know when you choose to walk softly, and speak goodness, and love fiercely, and live joyfully, you will be changing the world.

But for now, mon cher, fill your days with giggles, and kisses, and naps, and hugs, and lullabies, and sweet dreams. There’s time enough for you to become a man.

I love you, my precious boy.


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