Dear Austin – A Letter To My Son

It comes to pass, in every parent’s life, that a child will begin preparations to leave home. Some will be off to college, some will go to the military or other national service, and many will just strike out to seek their fortunes in whatever field has captured their imagination.

It’s at this moment, when the preparation begins, that most parents will realize that all those heart-to-heart talks they always intended to have with their offspring somehow never took place. Or, at the very least, that many of them managed to slip through the cracks. I blame basketball, but that’s my cop-out.

It was in this environment, of not-quite-panic, that I sat down at my computer to make up for missed opportunities. I had no idea what I was going to say to my son, but I knew I had to say something.

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  1. Beautiful. Touching.

    Only one note regarding the content of this great and sensitive letter:

    Our generation created the computer, flew to the moon, found a cure for polio, came up with more fuel efficient transportation, ended segregation and a few other worthwhile things. I am sorry we’re leaving the next generation so much debt, but I am proud of the accomplishments of our generation, in which science and medicine have made a better world in many ways than the one we inherited.

    Your letter to Austin is a testament to your innate skills as a father, David. You are smarter than most, and use that intelligence to cut through the crap most parents dish out to their children. You brought him a message from the heart, a message of acceptance and reassurance.

    I’d have given anything for a letter like that from anyone, just once, as I first struggled with the responsibilities and choices of adulthood.

    And don’t ever claim to not be religious. That connection you mention between all people on the earth, that positive force that transcends time and space and rewards us for caring and giving to others…well, there’s another name for it…and that’s love.

    And God is love.

  2. Bravo, David I am truly impressed with your writing, compassion, love of child, and wise advise.

    Even though we have different political views, we both hold family very dear. If I was using your letter to give to my son, I would change very little, if anything. Your son is a very lucky young man.

    I am as proud of my son as you are of yours. I told him when he got married that he was my hero and he still is. (I am everybit as proud of my daughters)

    Again Bravo David

  3. Actually, Kent, you and I were small children when the computer was created, when polio was cured, and segregation was ended. We were barely out of high school when the moon was conquered. It was, in fact, our parents’ and grandparents’ generations who accomplished all of those things. I’ll give you the better car.

    We are leaving our children and grandchildren with far larger issues to solve than a big national debt, and we don’t seem much interested in doing anything to avert them. I respectfully disagree, and stick by my assertion that our generation was criminally negligent.

    That said, thank you very much for the kind words. I don’t deserve most of them, but I’ll take ’em anyway. You’re hardly ever that nice to me.

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