J, I wrote this for you on April 29, 1993. I don’t know if I ever gave this to you….but I am giving it to you now, and to the world, too! (J is my son. I am using his initial to protect his privacy.)
J, my son, your time has now come
— and mine, too, for that matter.
Now listen closely, and understand these points,
For what I’m saying is not meaningless chatter.
You’re leaving home — my how you’ve grown —
And are about to be alone in this world.
Please accept gratefully the following advice,
And live by it, as you should.
Think before you speak.
Look before you leap.
Be friendly and kind; never be obscene.
Be generous to others; never be mean.
Beware of those who will use you.
Be strong, sure, and steady.
Do not procrastinate;
Always be ready.
Listen carefully, with a wise ear.
Do not believe everything you hear.
Spend your money wisely, on things that you need.
At least once a day, do a good deed.
Persevere, and don’t let life get you down.
Wear a warm smile; try not to frown.
Remain determined and ambitious; your rewards will be great.
Always be punctual; never be late.
Do not discriminate, nor treat people bad.
Be happy to be alive; try not to be sad.
Remember your friends, and your family, and keep them close to your heart.
Always — always — finish anything you start.
Do not borrow, and do not lend.
Do not fight, nor contend.
Discipline yourself to reach each goal.
Strive for excellence, but don’t taint your soul.
Accept disappointment; take it in stride.
Face confrontations head-on; try not to hide.
Enjoy yourself, and indulge once in awhile.
Be cautious of those who are filled with guile.
Treat others the way you’d want them to treat you.
Above all else, be honest and true.
If you follow this advice, you’ll never have to pay the price
That bad an unlawful people do.
Instead, happiness will be yours through and through.
Please remember all I’ve said,
And store it forever, in your head.
For, now, my dear and precious son,
The time, for you, has finally come
To be on your own, to shed your dependent shell,
And, for me, from my heart, to bid you farewell.
Here, for you, is one last rhyme.
Carry this poem all the time.
When you are feeling down or blue,
Read it again, and remember
That I LOVE YOU.
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