Hi #1 son,
We just talked briefly on the phone re: your appointment at 10AM. (I imagine you would be there now – as I’ve always said, you can do anything in life, except turn the clock back!)
Since I was at the computer when you called, I re-read your ‘self-reflection’ university paper, from last year. For some reason, I was struck by one line in particular: “Our father has very strong Christian beliefs and raised us to respect other religions and people.” I’m very proud that that is something you remember from your childhood. Hopefully I have lived up to that assessment most of the time and that I did try to expose you to other similar values, which I saw, reflected in other beliefs.
For example, I know you remember the 70’s Kung Fu TV series featuring the little boy nicked named ’Grasshopper’ and his training to become a monk in 19th century China. His early training was constantly brought back to him, as an adult, in a series of flashbacks – life lessons he learned from his masters. You may recall in one flashback, his Master Poe instructing him to, “Above all things grasshopper, guard the purity of your vision.” What you didn’t know, as we watched these weekly shows together, was that I was constantly having my faith reinforced as well.
Many times in my business career, I was tempted to bend the rules (like everybody else seem to be doing) in order to achieve some sort of security – but something always stopped me. Looking back now, I can see it was in part a concern about my legacy – not only in the eyes of my children, but also in the eyes of my peers. And what I found out was that, in the long one, it was a worthy decision. I found that my particular ‘line in the sand’ was my own credibility – something that I would not compromise. I mean what kind of a Sunday school teacher would I have been if I didn’t ‘practiced what I preached’, by compromising the very values I supposedly believed in (my ‘purity of vision’)?
And, what I didn’t realize at the time, was that what I thought was a very private decision, was so obvious to everyone around me … my peers, family and friends. It was the defining characteristic of my personality … somebody you can trust. Is that worth anything in today’s world? I believe it means everything! A person can have all the degrees in the world, (get 90% on a ‘self-reflection’ paper) or be an expert in world religions; but what does it all matter, if you can’t trust them?
And, that’s what I can honestly say about you Traf – you are a trustworthy and caring individual – someone you would be proud to call a friend … proud to call a son. In fact, as you complete your teaching degree, you’re the type of teacher that any student would respect and as an expectant parent yourself … proud to call a father. This is your legacy too!
With much respect, admiration and love to my #1 (and only) son,