this is a letter my grandfather (now deceased) wrote to my aunt on march 20, 1967. she copied it and gave it to my father, who gave it to me.
i thought it was worth sharing....
My dear Cissy,
Growing up and being able to properly adjust to one's self for the healthy, happy, and abundant life that we all desire is not an easy thing to accomplish.
It is my plan and purpose in writing this letter to attempt, in some small way, to convey something worthwhile in ideas and suggestions that may help to pave the raod which you are traveling.
First off, let me say that the knowledge with which I speak has been acquired over a life span of 50 years experience and observations. Twenty five of these years were spent as a single person, and the other 25 years as married. I was reared under extremely poor conditions (more so than you have really ever realized), but through good fortune, the grace of God, hard work, and the help of many wonderful people (especially your mother) my position has improved to one of much more pleasant circumstances.
I have been lonely, broke, ashamed, frightened, sick, brave, proud, happy, and uncertain; overwhelmed with pain, joy, sorrow, guilt, and frustration. The pleasure of success and the pain of failure are both well known to me. I have been both a follower and a leader, a soldier in a far away and unusual places, charged with the responsibility for life and well being of many men in times of great danger.
I have been a tender and loving father; yet a man with many faults, short tempered and ill with my children, but always possessed with a keen and burning desire to see my youngsters succeed and be happy while doing so.
These things I say to you in order that you may understand the voice of experience is the only one which can speak the language of hindsight, to be passed on to those who follow.
There are many things which I do not know, however, my accumulation of experiences in a lifetime of many years has endowed me with numerous thoughts and observations that could be of inestimable value to you. Some of them are offered below for your study and application whereever they may seem appropriate.
1. Everyone has certain inherent qualities of strength and weakness, therefore, I urge you to take stock of yourself. Make a list of your assets and liabilities, this will enable you to exploit the best within you while bringing into focus more clearly your weak points which can then be gradually improved upon and controlled.
2. Make plans (a ship without a chartered course is lost) both for your present situation and long range future. In doing this, please remember these plans must also be flexible, ready at all times for modifications to meet unexpected changes that will naturally arise. Set your aspirations and dreams high, but not beyond the realm of realistic possibility.
3. Be active- do things- project yourself into the everyday opportunity of living life at its best, not sitting and lavishing for the end of a rainbow. The good life will not be brought to your doorstep- you must seek and be self motivated into going after the things you desire.
4. Reevaluate your circle of friends and associates. Gradually move away from associating with and entertaining those whose nature and personality is full of criticism and fault finding. Drop any and all who may seek to plant seeds of discontent and unrest within your mind. Misery loves company, therefore, many will attempt to have you join them in their unhappy abuse of things and people around. Explore the wonderful opportunity of broadening your range of activities, socially and educationally.
5. Give of your time and talent in helping others. Many less fortunate people can be benefited with the unselfish gift of some of your spare time and willingness to sacrifice a little in their behalf. Include clubs, church, student activity, and charity and other interests of your choosing. The rewards will be enriching.
6. Develop strength and faith to sustain you when things go wrong. No life is completely happy and sublime. Misfortune and tough times befall each of us- they will not forget you. When the burden is heavy, try pulling a little harder and before long things will be brighter again. Optimism is contagious, please try to catch it.
7. Change and improve your mental attitude- gaiety, cheerfulness, and a somewhat more light hearted attitude can make your life more pleasant and satisfying. This also ties in with choosing happy people for your companions, rather than the chronic grouch and fault finder. Remember- it is better to light a match than curse the darkness.
8. Seek help when needed. None of us can cross the sea of life alone. We need the counsel and advice of our teachers, family, friends, minister, and physician. Please to not hesitate to express the need when it arises to some understanding person who can help or direct you to the proper and most appropriate source available. The unselfish willingness of others to help will never cease to be amazing and comforting.
9. Be sure to maintain an active interest in the physical condition of your body. It is young, strong, and should be used often in vigorous sports or other means of bodily exercise. A well conditioned body will carry a long way towards the goals you pursue and establish a feeling of well being.
Above all else, continue to maintain and increase your love of God. He is the One guiding light that never fails, always available and ready to comfort and guide you in times of distress.
Last but not least, we, mother and father, are also ready, willing, and able in many ways to be of service and loving understanding at any time in your life.
Cissy- I hope this has not been too long for you- I pray it may be of some help- Good luck and best wishes in your efforts to try some of these suggestions- It will take time- do not grow impatient and give up.
All my love-
PS- You might care to let Ira, Jr. and Randy read this some day. It is equally applicable to both of them.