One evening my five-year-old son, Leo, announced, “I am going to be in a warrior video with Dad, and I got to hold a real sword.” He was beaming with pride and joy as he made the announcement to his sisters, mom, and me at the dinner table. We had just finished filming a few scenes that would be used for The Heart of a Warrior book trailer, and Leo and I featured in it prominently. My wife, Kate, said, “That’s great, Leo. You must be proud.”

He smiled then with a curious expression. “Mom, what’s a warrior?”

“It’s someone who stands up and fights for what is right for others.”

“Am I a warrior?” he wondered.

“Absolutely,” Kate said.

“But Leo,” I interrupted, “before you can become a warrior and use a sword, you must first know that you are beloved.”

“Dad, what is ‘beloved’?” Leo looked at me with a little tilt of his head.

“It means you are MY BOY.”

Matter-of-factly, Leo declared, “Oh Dad, I know I am your boy. You tell me every day.”

“You better believe it,” I replied.

This is the standard daily exchange between father and son—when I ask Leo, “Who is my boy?” and he replies “ME!”

Back to that evening. I then said to Leo, “So that means you are also a warrior.” He beamed.

That IS my boy, I thought, with a deep and warm sense of love. And it is vital that Leo knows it, no matter what. I feel certain he does. I believe all my children do. It’s one of a father’s greatest gifts he can bestow on his children. It is what the heavenly Father does for me every day.

- Scott Stankavage

An excerpt from The Heart of a Warrior Journal Workbook.