Dear Joe

Posted: October 25, 2009 in parenting
Tags: , ,

Dear Joe,

I look at you and see a boy who knows for sure that he is a fast runner, a good leader, a smart thinker.

Josiah 7

At nine, your only kryptonite is math, but somehow your weakness with numbers seems to make everything else more charming. You love to play and love to win, but you love for everyone to win. Victory at the expense of a friend’s self esteem is not an item in your particular bag of tricks, though I think it might make you better at sports if it were.

Josiah 3

I love your spark, your joy, your refusal to – almost ever –  get angry or mean. I love that you believe in the goodness of the people around you and you believe in the goodness in you.

But I wonder (and this is where the mom road gets a little rough)…

Josiah 8

…who will be the first to bend your belief system? Someone will do it. Someone will make sure you understand that you aren’t that great or that fast or that kind. Someone will disregard your sparkling storytelling abilities and define your intelligence by your struggle with long division.

A boy who hasn’t been well-loved will want to become a winner by making you a loser. An insecure girl will make herself feel beautiful by convincing you that you are ugly. It will happen and I can’t stop it because our whole planet lies under the sway of the heartache of sin.

Josiah 4

And sometimes – as crazy as it sounds – I am tempted to pave the way for the breaking. Sometimes I feel like I should prepare your heart for the sting of reality. To soften the blow of that moment when you will feel the rush of the wind, only to discover it’s someone passing you by; winning your race. I wrestle with the dueling desires to “build-you-up” and “let-you-down-easy” and so I ask for wisdom.

Josiah 10

Wisdom that keeps me from speaking words that would define or destroy.

Wisdom that helps you find both your breaking and building in arms of Jesus.

Wisdom, to hold you close and launch you freely into a world that isn’t kind, but so deeply needs someone a lot like you.Josiah 5

So I stand in the shadows of your indefatigable optimism and I pray that when the day comes that you discover that there are those who cannot cheer you on, no matter how much they may secretly want to; you will hold tightly to the knowledge that there are those who always will. No matter what.

I love you more than words can say,

Mom (and I think I speak for Dad, Corey & Whit, Tori & Tess as well)

Josiah & Bo

  1. Susan from Nebraska says:

    Keep committing him into the hands of Jesus and He will be there when you aren’t and when you can’t……it takes those moments when all others aren’t to understand that He is!!! Reminds me of how Jesus must feel about us.
    And Joe reminds me so much of Steve!

  2. bolovesjoe says:

    Oh mom I love it. So much. Every thing you said is so true. He’s funny, optimistic, and yes, the fastest kid in his class. But he’s also strong, and there’s not a doubt in my mind that he will make it through the rough times. Maybe because he has a great family, and a great mom backing him up (:

  3. Tess says:

    And woops that isn’t bolovesjoe’s comment. It was Tess’s 🙂

  4. Dear Little Elementary School Brother,
    I won’t ever ever stop fighting for you. I promise. If I could teach you anything right now it would be that your family is eternal; and HUGE.
    Dad, Mom, Corey, Whitney, me, and Tess + 50 Sterns + 15 Mishlers = Josiah’s Family.
    This will only keep growing. Some of them will look up to you, and you will protect them. Most of us you look up to and we will protect you with our prayers until you come to victory.

    All this to say, I love you and pray for you from all the way over here.:)

    Big College Sister

  5. Nita Belles says:

    Okay, I got through this with great admiration and appreciation and no “sniff-sniff” until that darned Big College Sister, Tory made me do it! 😉
    Oh, love you Sterns so much, and pray that God will make me even half the parent you are Bo, or the grandparent you will be.
    Much Love,

  6. julie says:


    That is unbelievably beautifully written. You capture so much meaning in one sentence.

    I will print this out and keep it forever – for I have an 8 year old (nearly 9) who too is on that precipice of someday discovering the truth about the world around him.

    But for now, he eagerly embraces it all with trusting arms, running full tilt into his tomorrows.

    Thanks Bo!
    Julie (from Redmond – David Klinkenberg’s sister!)

  7. cassie says:


    LOVE tHE pics TESS!!!! AMAZING!!!!


    LOVE Josiah. He’s real great. I’m doing my best to make sure that those graduating through 180 will be well trained in all things Biblical and godly, so that by the time Joe(and my little siblings) gets there, the leadership will be strong, bold, courageous and ready for a generation that is quickly going downhill with each passing day…..

    i ❤ the Stern family.

  8. Jenna says:

    Well, this totally made me cry.

    I loved the pictures…I am so impressed with that Tess of yours.

    Bo Stern, I didn’t think it was possible but reading about the ways you love your kids makes me even MORE excited for my own little bundles. I am blessed by the way you love them and appreciate each so well. I am proud of the awesome mom you are to those kids of yours and it turns out I totally love your kids too. Thanks for setting such a great example in momville. I am so so so blessed to behold you Bo.

  9. […] forts and throwing a baseball and about a million other things. He also the subject of one of my favorite posts I’ve ever scribbled out on this little blog.   So really, when you know a guy like that, why […]

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