Who you are is better than what you are

At 4 years old, Titus the Honorable is a deep thinker. Well, as deep as a 4-year-old can get. Right now, he is trying to figure out the purpose Grammy and I have for the landscape lighting in our backyard. He took up this discussion with his Grammy. He can’t figure why we would have lights shining on a bush, a tree or a fence. It just doesn’t make sense to him. He understands lighting a sidewalk or a patio, but a tree or bush? Now he has me questioning myself: Why do I have lights shining on the bushes in our backyard?

The other day, Titus was sitting at home in a reflective mood. His dad asked him, “Titus, what are you thinking?”

He replied, “When I grow up, I don’t know what I am supposed to do as an adult.”

His dad looked at him and said, “Same here, buddy, same here.”

I am not sure what circumstances would bring a 4-year-old boy to think about what he is supposed to do when he grows up, but somewhere, he has been asked that question. Titus, would you let me take a few minutes to give you something else to think about?

I am amazed at your ability to think. That is a great skill to develop in life. Thinkers are also people who ask the right questions. If you study the life of Christ, you can see at a very early age He was thinking and asking the right questions. While most of the world will ask you “what” you want to do when you grow up, the more important question you need to ask yourself is “who” – who will I be?

We all go through a series of what we want to be when we grow up. I remember watching a TV show that featured a cowboy named Roy Rogers. Growing up, I wanted to become like Roy Rogers: ride a horse, shoot a gun and be a cowboy.

Then, I wanted to become a semi-truck driver because those trucks had the coolest horns. As a I child riding in the car, I would see a semi-truck coming down the road, and I would put my arm out of the window and act like I was pulling down on a rope, indicating to the driver that I wanted him to blow his horn. My brothers and I were always thrilled when a driver pulled up alongside us and we heard his air horn blaring away.

Later, I wanted to be a doctor, a photographer and the list went on. Even now, I am in the process of making a change in what I am going to do, but that is the fun of life: The “what” can change anytime you want.

But you should be more concerned about “who” you will be than “what.” The “who” you are going to become is about character. Character is everything. Ever since you were born, I have called you “Titus the Honorable.” It is a good name to grow into, but you must decide: Is this who you want to become? If you do, here are five things you should desire to be:

Trustworthy: A trustworthy person is one upon whom others can depend. Another good word that might help you understand this is “consistent.” A trustworthy person is consistent in what they say and do. If you are trustworthy, you be trusted with relationships, possessions and responsibilities.

Honest: No matter what the situation is, an honest person will tell the truth. It will not always be easy, but the honest person does not lie or cheat.

Courageous: This is not about running into a burning building to rescue someone but about standing up when no else does. If a child is being a bully, a courageous person will say, “Stop, that is not right.” This quality comes in many forms and shapes, but being courageous always has a cost.

Kindness: Kindness comes from the heart. It includes compassion and concern for others, recognizing each of us is created in the image of God and deserves to be treated well.

Gratitude: This is the ability to show appreciation. No matter how big or small the gift, someone with gratitude has a genuine appreciation for it and for the giver.

My dear little Titus, you have a long life in front of you, and you are going to encounters lots of Y’s in the road. Each one must be thought through. Some roads are wide and promise you a lot, but in the end will lead to destruction. Other are small and not the popular choice, but they will lead to a life that gives you peace. I pray you will choose wisely.

Love,

Poppy