A Father’s Letter to His 13 Year Old Son

Since Elijah officially turned 13 today, Edric gave me permission to share this with you all…a letter which he wrote to him to read at the top of Mt. Apo.

My Dearest Elijah,

Today is a very special day as we formalize your passage into a young man. You are no longer a boy in my eyes, in the eyes of the men who matter in our lives, and in the eyes of your Mom.

In this new stage, my prayers for you are the following:

1. Be a young man of purpose. Grow and develop like Jesus did: wisdom, stature, favor w God and men (Lk 2:52). Don’t waste time doing things that don’t fall under any of these growth areas. As you do, have BIG dreams for God’s glory. Don’t fall into the culture of mediocrity. Instead, try to envision the greatest thing God can do through you with all that He has blessed you with. Do all you do for His glory, my son. (Dt 6:5-7)

2. Be a young man of purity. This stage will usher in all sorts of curiosity especially towards your body, a woman’s body, and the natural sexual interaction God has designed between the two, but in the context of marriage. As I’ve told you before, I cannot protect you (not completely anyway) from the devil’s temptations in this area –pornography, immoral relationships, and things of that nature. But I can prepare you. This is my way of doing so. Letting you know that it is a beautiful thing in the right context, in marriage. “How can a young man stay pure?”, the Bible says, “by studying God’s Word”.(Psalm 119:9)

Remember this is the only sin in the Bible that says “flee”. (1 Corinthians 6:18) So many times this is what you might have to literally do when friends (maybe even relatives) expose you to the same.

3. Be a young man of strength and courage. As Joshua was charged by God to take on leadership from Moses to finish the job of bringing His people to the Promised Land, God exhorted him to be strong and courageous, several times. He needed this pep talk to accomplish the great task God laid before him.

My son, the same is true for you. God has a great task before you, I don’t know exactly what it is, but I know you will need strength and courage. And that’s what I loved about our Apo climb. It pushed you to apply strength and courage as we scaled the boulders, pushed through the thickets, traveled the narrow paths, braved the frigid cold, endured the scorching heat, and braced ourselves from the wild cats! Life will hurl many of these roadblocks that will need you to be strong and courageous, pursuing the purpose and purity I encouraged you with earlier.

4. Be a young man of love. Jesus modeled this best. Fix your eyes on Him, my son. Not daddy. I will do my best to model Christ-likeness. Copy that. Where I fail, pls forgive me and do NOT do the same. Love like Jesus did. Have compassion towards others. Be motivated ultimately by this. Help the poor, orphans, and widows.

I love you with all my heart, my young man. I am very proud of the young man you are becoming. I am here for you every step of the way, as long as God allows, and solely by His grace.




  1. Love this letter. So much wisdom for not just a person turning 13, but everyone too! Happy birthday Elijah.

  2. A must read letter to all the youth out there:)
    Happy birthday to Elijah 🙂

  3. Happy Birthday, Elijah! I pray you grow up to be a man after God’s own heart. Love the picture of Edric and Elijah, Joy! Please send Elijah my love. xx

  4. You’re blessed to bless others 🙂
    Have a blessed birthday Elijah!

  5. Jubilant Birthday Elijah! 🙂
    What an inspiring billet-doux, full of love and wisdom! I admire you and your hubby more for sharing such significant milestone with your precious son! I’ve been on a hike to Mt. Apo in 2008 and I can attest that it was a very challenging expedition! That must have been an awesome object lesson and bonding for the men of your life.
    I pray for a kind of future husband and dad to my future children like your hubby. More power!

  6. I think there’s no sweeter thing than a dad writing a birthday letter to his son full of encouragement and prayer..How I wish my dad was able to do this when I was still growing up…Happy Birthday Elijah, God Bless you more

  7. I’m not 13 anymore but I can very much relate to this letter. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Made me cry. I am looking forward to getting married maybe next year. And when I become a dad, I would like to model Christ-likeness to my kids. I and my girlfriend always talk about becoming good parents in a Christ-centered relationship. This is so encouraging. I wish all dads would do this.

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A Father’s Letter to His 13 Year Old Son