June 12, 2015

When I first became a father, I was filled with awe and a little bit of fear. Nothing really prepares you for that moment. And when we learned your mom was expecting John [our second-born], I couldn’t imagine loving another child as much as I loved Elizabeth. But now with the seven of you, I’ve found that my capacity to love just keeps growing. It has been such a gift to make the sacrificial commitment to live my life not just for myself, but also for your Mom and for all of you.

We’ve been through a lot in our family. Mom and I have experienced immense happiness in raising all of you and watching you learn and grow, but we’ve also had to endure some heartbreaking times. Some families break apart with the death of a child or when they have a child with special needs, but we have been so blessed that these challenges have brought us closer together.

I have realized that life can be just hours long. And it can be over tomorrow or the next day—you just don’t know. So I know the most important thing for you all is where you spend eternity, not where you spend college. If you want to go to college, great, I will support you. If you want to go to cooking school: great. Or if you want to work on motorcycles, that’s great too. Whatever you want to do is fine with me. I am here to love and support you for the rest of your life, and it is who you are that matters most, not what you do.

The biggest piece of fatherly advice that I can give you is that you should stay true to your faith and values. Search for truth and have the courage to stand for it. If you try to live your life consistent with those values and those truths, things have a way of working out in the end. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to go through tough times, to fail or to experience loss. That’s life. But if you can hold on to the values that you know are true, then in the end, everything else will be ok.

Love,
Dad

Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, is a 2016 Republican presidential candidate

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