Dear Son: Introduction

Dear son,

You may think life is not fair. Why can’t I be more like little Johnny’s father, who was always there to hold his son’s hands and guide him through every little speed bump planted by the cruel mistress called Life? Why is it that you had to figure life out largely on your own while your friend had it served to him on a silver platter?

Everything discomfort is for your good. Getting up from when you fall builds endurance. Surviving hardships by yourself builds fortitude. Fighting your own battles builds courage. Let me explain not through platitudes but through a fact.

Research revealed an interesting phenomenon. An organization of professionals specializing in taxes and investments found that 65% of family wealthy is gone by the second generation and 90% by the third generation.

Why is it the case that wealth tends to slip past the third generation? Why did the grandfather have the ability to amass millions of dollars, while the grandson lacked the ability to hold onto what his grandfather acquired?

Because the grandson was weak. He was incompetent. He was not a man.

The grandfather grew up without many luxuries. Whatever he needed, he had to get on his own. He struggled against life and won and acquired immense wealth as a result.

However, the grandson grew up in luxury. Every want satisfied by someone else. Life was handed to him on a silver platter. He did not have to struggle against life. He did not have to fight. He was not like his grandfather and wealth slipped through his fingers to a more worthy person.

I don’t want you to be like the grandson. Nor do I want you to be like your friend Johnny. I want you to grow into a man.

You know people look up to me. They respect me. But respect is not a birthright. You don’t acquire wealth, power, and wisdom by growing old. There are lots of old people who are poor, powerless, and foolish. You become a man worthy of respect through blood, sweat, and tears. I had to forge myself into a person worthy of it. No one held my hands. No one gave me a handout. But under the watchful eyes of God and through my own efforts, I overcame and became a man.

That is why I will not hold your hands and serve you life on a silver platter. Don’t fear. I will not leave you empty-handed. I would be slacking on my duties as a father if I did not give you some type of guidance. My father fulfilled his duties without holding my hands. Thus, I will fulfill my duties without holding your hands.

Therefore, in the next 100 letters, I will instill all the wisdom I have onto ink and paper to guide you into being the best man you can be. There will be a time when God ends my life. But you will still have my words to guide you.

Any decent father wants the best for his child, and it is no different with me. I want what is best for you. But you have to make your own choice. You may think you have to read my letters and abide by them to make me happy. But that’s not true. I don’t want mindless obedience. I want you to be informed and to make your own choice.

Ultimately, I want to give you the gift of control over your life: freedom.

You can choose to be strong or weak. You can choose to excel or wither. You can choose to become a man or not. If you choose the former, then my letters will guide the way.

If you want wealth, you will know how to get it.

If you want influence, you will know how to get it.

If you want wisdom, you will know how to get it.

It won’t be easy. Anything worth doing never is. It will take blood, sweat, and tears. You will lose your fair-weather friends. You will struggle alone for extended periods of time. You will falter. You will fail. You will feel defeated.

But you must get up and push through the hurt. Each time you refuse to give up, you grow a little stronger. Each step you take to walk through the blazing furnace of hardships is one step closer to being a man.

Take enough steps and you will rise above others.

If you choose weakness, then continue seeking pleasure and ease. Get fat on the comforts of life. Don’t be surprised when you wake up one day and find the majority of your life squandered away — in the words of Henry David Thoreau, as one of the people livings lives of quiet desperation, with your songs unsung when you reach the grave.

To be a man or not. This is a choice you must make. The former requires action. The latter doesn’t. And if you do nothing and bury your head in the sand like an ostrich, then by default, you choose the latter.

If you choose to be a man, read on and absorb the wisdom of your father.

If you choose not to be a man (or if you refuse to make a choice), then put down the letters. I would hate to waste your time.

Sincerely,

Dad

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