A letter from a Father to a Son

Many years ago, my own father found a copy of this letter and gave it to me. For reasons too complex to get into here, it touched me. I have remembered most of it ever since. I was pleased, therefore, to find it on the Internet again. When I searched, I found about 5 different versions of it. Clearly people had been modifying it slightly to fit their own purposes. The version I reprint here is the version as close as I can remember it from the 1980s.

Dear Son,

As long as you live in this house you will follow the rules. When you have your own house, you can make your own rules. In this house, we do not have a democracy. I did not campaign to be your father. You did not vote for me. We are father and son by the Grace of God, and I accept that privilege and awesome responsibility. In accepting it, I have an obligation to perform the role of father. I am not your pal. Our ages are too different. We can share many things, but we are not pals. I am your father. This is 100 times more than what a pal is. I am also your friend, but we are on entirely different levels. You will do, in this house, as I say, and you cannot question me because whatever I ask you to do is motivated by love. This will be hard for you to understand until you have a son of your own.

Until then, trust me.

Your father

Does this mean that I will be quite so dictatorial as a father? No. But there is a certain surpassing truth to what I read here.

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