Abraham Lincoln's 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,

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 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 have

sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order,

but see what you can do...

He is such a fine fellow,

my son!