6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8. How much pain have those evils cost us which have never happened.
9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred. (The Book of Man, 425).
Charles Sykes, Writer and Journalist: Things to Tell Your Children or Grandchildren
Rule 1: Life is not fair—get used to it!
Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will not make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss.
Rule 5: Flipping burghers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burgher flipping. They called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes; learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes, and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So, before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off, and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one! (The Book of Man, 379)
My Cousin Peter
Some years ago, before my cousin Peter became an architect, he taught boys in three of New York City’s trade and technical high schools, two of them located in the ghetto. The boys, who came from lower income families, were mostly African American. One thread linked them together: There was no sign of fathers anywhere in their lives.
The worst Friday in the year for the boys was anticipating the upcoming Father’s Day. Without their fathers, they were like orphans. The boys’ mothers were the bread winners; grandmothers raised the children. When a boy was absent from class, in most cases, he was caring for a sick grandmother. Mothers couldn’t afford to get sick.
Peter taught his students the basics of trade, architecture and building construction, drawing, drafting, and reading blueprints, but more importantly, they learned from him self-discipline and self-respect. He loved his boys with a firm yet understanding heart, gave them direction for the future, and often served as in loco parentis. Peter was a hero to those boys. To this day, he is the much-loved patriarch of his family.
“A wise child makes a glad father but a foolish child is a mother’s grief” (Proverbs 10:1) “Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice. He who begets a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice” (Proverbs 23:ff).
“After chaos, confusion, and turmoil, after a frantic search for him all over, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. “After three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. . . . . When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him: ‘Why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety’” (Luke 3: 41ff).
Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. Today and every day, give us what we need.
“To our sons, John and Joseph, who are becoming the kind of men we hoped, prayed, and worked for. Know that others will say of each of you, following Homer, that the son is far better than the father, and that he makes glad the heart of his mother.” This dedication appears at the beginning of William J. Bennett’s, The Book of Man.
A Happy Father’s Day to All Fathers and Expectant Fathers.