Today is my Son’s 13th birthday. It’s hard to believe its been that long since he was born. I’m so blessed to have had the privilege of watching him grow into such a fine young man. His heart if full of willingness to help others whenever he can and whenever he is asked. He is fearless in reaching toward his goals, attempting things I myself was never able to at his age. I’ve been inspired watching him work hard at the skate park to learn new tricks, getting back up when he falls, trying over and over again without feeling defeated; playing football with him in any weather, repeating the same pass plays over and over, no matter how many times he dropped the ball, he wanted ‘one more pass’ because he wants to get better; seeing him march on the field with his fellow Civil War reenactors, most of whom are adults, watching him fire cannons and rifles, performing difficult drills, and doing whatever is asked of him to support his group; watching him work hard around the house so he can earn the hundreds of dollars he’s need to purchase his Civil War gear; it’s all been such an amazing blessing to be a part of.

Over the year’s he’s helped his church, raised thousands of dollars to support unwed mothers in their unexpected pregnancies, and helped out numerous times at our local community center. And, while he prefers playing football, skateboarding, firing guns, and many other things that boys his age love, he still has no problem finding time and energy to play with his little sister, and do the things that she enjoys that he would otherwise have no interest in.

He’s a huge help at home, both to myself and his mother. He does his chores reliably, gets his school work done, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had to discipline him in the last several years. He has become more than just my son, he is one of my best friends. In many ways I look up to him, and on his birthday today, I wanted to take a moment to say, thank you to him for his love, his commitment, his friendship and for often times being the person that I myself wish I was.

You sir, are commendable. Happy Birthday. This badge is for you.