My son will have to learn I know that all men are not just, all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero; that for every selfish politician, there is a dedicated leader. Teach him that for every enemy there is a friend.
It will take time, I know; but teach him, if you can, that a dollar earned is far more valuable than five found.
Teach him to learn to lose and also to enjoy winning.
Steer him away from envy, if you can.
Teach him the secret of quite laughter. Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest to tick.
Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books... but also give him quiet time to ponder over the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and flowers on a green hill –side.
Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if every one tells him they are wrong.
Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with the tough.
Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when every one is getting on the bandwagon.
Teach him to listen to all men but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.
Teach him, if you can, how to laugh when he is sad. Teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness.
Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders; but never to put a price tag on his heart and soul.
Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob… and to stand and fight if he thinks he’s right.
Treat him gently; but do not cuddle him because only the test of fire makes fine steel.
Let him have the courage to be impatient, let him have the patience to be brave. Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind.
This is a big order; but see what you can do. He is such a fine little fellow, my son.
I actually couldn't find anywhere if Abraham Lincoln really wrote this letter to his son's teacher , anyhow, whether these words were written by an illustrious US President or by another thoughtful father, as a teacher I confess I'd be honoured to receive such a valuable missive.
Why am I thinking about school, parents and students? Fact is, I've been thinking about school and teaching all day long, though I'm still on holidays and will be until 28th August, and I had promised mysefl to avoid any reference to my job and related topics. I'm incorregible. I can't forget what I am, neither in the summer since this is what I am, a teacher and an educator. That's not any job.
Lincoln's words make me wish and hope the next school year may be different, meaning better than the previous one. And I'm not going to tell you why the last one wasn't good. It just wasn't, trust me.
If as a teacher I'd be glad to be asked to fulfil such ambitious goals by a parent - more than the usual unasked but obvious "please, don't complicate mine and my child's life, take it easy and don't be too demanding" - as a mother I'd sign this letter myself, hoping my sons' teachers would agree with me.
Regular lessons will start again from 11th September on here in Italy. What about your country? What would you ask your teacher (if you're a student) or your children's teachers (if you are a parent) if you had the opportunity to write to them as Lincoln did? What is your favourite sentence in this letter?