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Uncle Tom Writes ...

Posted by Temmie on August 29, 2003, at 20:37:48

In reply to Re: Letter to my Son - Help (long), posted by leeran on August 29, 2003, at 12:09:53

Hi J!

We are all very excited for you and for your ensuing adventure. I know that you'll do great in school, so this will be an excellent setting for you to grow and learn.

I dropped P off yesterday at the dorm ... it was easy and slick. He's rooming with a buddy from *** who's also pursuing engineering (nuclear rather than mechanical, though). Across the hall from P was a guy from *** that he knew from Middle School. It will be fun to see him grow also in his new surroundings.

As you know, I am very close to your mother and have always been willing to provide my advice and comments along the way. I hope that you will accept the same role from me as your "uncle" and that you will never hesitate to ask me for any information, help, or advice that I can give along the way.

Being a parent is an interesting role ... one that is enriching as it is also surprising. While we all may seem ancient and old to you, to varying degrees, it is important to realize that you are now a fully-empowered adult and that we all have memories that relate exactly to the stage of life that you are at. There may be roughly 30 years that separate us in age, but you need to know that I can remember how it was to be your age....without too much effort, I could "revert back" and live that life, too, as it is fun and exciting and invigorating.

I was saying to [spouse] something about how much fun it would be to be in college -- there are so many exciting things to do, so many interesting people to meet, so much knowledge to learn. If you fully knew the tremendous value of having the time to study and reflect, you would redouble your efforts (if that's possible) as the rest of us will never have awaiting us what is now ready to unfold for you.

College would be fun - but perhaps we have learned too much about the things that are particularly fun to do that it would be hard to actually get any work done. Fortunately, you learn things sequentially, and you grow in the same manner. You will learn and discover all of the many things (and many many more) that we have learned.

I recount all of this for a couple of reasons. First, as parenting is tough, it is even compounded moreso when you have a split home or other complicated relationships of the sort that Pat and I are having with our respective children and families and continuing commitments from the past. Your mother has done a tremendous job with you, and for you, and it may take you many years to fully appreciate all that has been given to you. The point is that you must be mindful of that commitment - learn from it and grow from it. The Biblical admonition about respecting your parents is true enough, but it is more enough for the relationship that you have with your mother. It is always that way. When grown men are dying in combat, it is there mother's love that they cry out for. This doesn't diminish or devalue the role of the father, certainly, but the point is that your mom (anyone's mom) is their only mom and that they gave much of thems! elves as they also gave birth to their child or children.

Relationships evolve -- they grow over time. They transition and change. But the thickness of blood --- and the strength of family ties -- is a bond that is so much stronger than any other force. This embodies the simple notion of love - unconditional acceptance and undying support. Lovers may leave you - they may break your heart - but your family remains. It is a source of strength and reassurance that you may not now see, but that you will increasingly see as you grow older and see it expressed back to you as support.

I know that the collegiate years are a time of liberation and maturation. I did many stupid things along the way ... we all have. The goal is to learn from other's mistakes without also replicating them yourself. When you do stumble, pick yourself off, dust off the dirt, see what you learned and MOVE forward. Don't fall backwards. Do not regress. Never surrender to forces that will hold you back, or that knock you down.

This is, in some ways, what I'll call the (state and family name) Tradition - a fulfillment of the state's motto "Forward!"

I hope you find some value in the perspectives I share, J. I know you'll do well, so just keep moving forward.

It will be nice to see you at XMas.

Take care,

Uncle Tom

Amat victoria curam - Victory favors those who take pains




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