& occasionally about other things, too...

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his son’s teacher

He will have to learn, I know, 
that all men are not just, 
all men are not true. 

But teach him also that 
for every scoundrel there is a hero; 
that for every selfish politician, 
there is a dedicated leader… 

Teach him that for every enemy there is a 

It will take time, I know; 
but teach him, if you can, 
that a dollar earned is of far more value that 
five found… 

Teach him to learn to lose… 
and also to enjoy winning. 
Steer him away from envy, if you can, 
Teach him the secret of quiet laughter. 
Let him learn early that 
the bullies are the easiest to lick… 

Teach him, if you can, 
the wonder of books… 

But also give him quiet time 
to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the 
Bees in the sun, 
and flowers on a green hillside. 
In school teach him 
it is far more honourable to fail… 
than to cheat… 
Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, 
even if everyone tells him they are wrong… 

Teach him to be gentle with gentle people, 
and tough with the tough. 
Try to give my son 
the strength not to follow the crowd 
when everyone is getting on the band 

Teach him to listen to all men… 
but teach him also to filter all he hears 
on a screen of truth, 
and take only the good that comes through. 
Teach him, if you can, 
how to laugh when he is sad… 

Teach him there is no shame in tears. 

Teach him to scoff at cynics 
and to beware if too much sweetness… 

Teach him to sell his brawn 
and brains to the highest bidders, 
but never to put a price tag 
on his heart and soul. 
Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob… 
and to stand and fight 
if he thinks he’s right. 
Treat him gently, 
but do not cuddle him, 
because only the test of fire makes fine steel. 
Let him have the courage to be impatient… 
let him have the patience to be brave. 

Teach him always 
to have sublime faith in himself, 
because then he will always have  
sublime faith in mankind. 
This is a big order 
but see what you can do… 

He is such a fine little fellow, 
my son! 

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