I wasn’t exactly prepared to get a tad emotional at Medieval Times. I mean, it’s a place where grown men and women don renaissance faire garb to play knights and princesses. But the moment you knelt before the “king,” were covered with the cape and were pronounced a knight, there was definitely a lump in my throat.

Maybe it was because yours was the only knighting that was taken seriously. Maybe it was because the king gave you the best speech. But deep down, I think it’s because I got a simultaneous glimpse of your grown-up bravery and childlike wonder.

In an age of tablets, television, homework demands, the inferior adventures offered by this bored age, and straight-up commercialism, true wonder is hard to find. And I know that as you get older, it’ll be even harder to find. That’s why this trip was so magical for me. I saw so much wonder in your eyes–wonder as the Red & Yellow Knight battled for the princess’s favor. Wonder at the incredibly executed world of Harry Potter, a storybook come to life. Wonder at the beautiful Santa Monica Beach, the crashing waves, the sunset.

I find that nowadays that what brings me the most wonder are my children. I get to see God reveal Himself through three beautiful souls He decided to entrust to me. I get to see your personalities develop, your fears and hopes on display, your talents emerge. It’s been a constant fireworks show of incredible delights (and challenges, too), the past 10 years.

London, at 10 years of age, I can hardly believe we’re more than halfway done with our time together. It still feels like it just began. I remember watching the baseball playoffs with you on my lap, trying to give your mom some sleep when you were just days old. Feels like yesterday. You’ve been my buddy since day one, even smiling for me in our first photo together.

I so enjoy how you dream big, aren’t afraid to ask for big things, and seek out new hobbies and experiences. I love your sense of humor, which has always been witty, goofy and for the most part, well-timed. You have an incredible singing voice, a vivid imagination, and a love of story. You are also a deep thinker, spiritually sensitive and someone who isn’t afraid to say the things that need to be said–especially when they’re kind things that can make someone’s day.

You’ve changed my life. You’ve changed countless others’. And you’re just getting started. Like the Bible character your middle name represents, I look forward to seeing how all these amazing gifts and talents and character traits will lead people to eternal, saving truth. How you’ll love people while never compromising the things that are important. You’re already very good at that with your friends and classmates. It’s only a matter of time before the entire world takes notice.

It’s so humbling and inspiring to have a son who could go so many directions in life. The next few years are going to be big ones for you, to determine what kind of man you’re going to be, what sorts of things will define your life. I’ll be there with you. I’ll help guide you however I can. I believe in you, London Josiah, and I am positively convinced that you are a world-changer–someone with a hunger for adventure and love and story, but who also carries the calm satisfaction of someone who is loved. You are loved. So loved. And I have been so loved by you, and by God through your life. Thank you for making me a dad. Thank you for being my best bud.