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Lincoln Letter 3.26.9

Letter to his son's teacher.


He 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 for every enemy there is
a friend
It will take time, I know;
but teach him if you can
that a dollar earned is of far more value 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
quiet laughter.

Let him learn early that
the bullies are the easiest to lick...

Teach him, if you can,
the wonder of books...
But also give him quiet time
to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky
bees in the sun
and the flowers on a green hillside.

In the school teach him
it is far honourable to fail
than to cheat...

Teach him to have faith
in his own ideas
even if everyone 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 everyone is getting on
the band wagon...

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 u 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 have
sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order
but see what you can do...
He is such a fine fellow
my son!