This started as I attempted to sleep and wondered who I would like to have been other than myself. The list was endless, a movie star, a great director, an opera great, a rock star, a rich man, a famous man, a martyr, a great author, and on and on and on. I finally decided that I really would only want to be me--warts and all. I did begin to wonder what my sons might be and do with their lives. I wondered what I could give them if I had the power and then realized I had already done it. I had already given them the best of me I could. So, I put this down in words I hope all can understand.
TO MY THREE SONS: CHRIS, JOHN, and KEITH
May my sons know love, the deep, abiding, trust of love that comes from those who love you deeply yet love you well beyond what you deserve.
May they know the hurt that loving sometimes brings without letting that hurt close off any part of their hearts for to love is to risk hurt.
May they grow from all the pain they suffer and never let it dampen their spirits or turn them from endeavors that are right and good.
May they have joy and joy surpassing that which only comes from the senses.
May they live till they understand who they are and why they are, and may that inform and inspire them.
May they always have compassion for those who suffer and never cause suffering for their own advancement.
May they never turn from a struggle but know when to run from a lion.
May they cry when they should and may that crying enrich their humanity.
May they always laugh at what is laughable but never laugh at the sufferings of others.
May they know the love of children, the smile that only asks for a friend, the warmth of a small hand in their greater one.
May they have the admiration and respect of their peers—and deserve it.
May they always graciously accept the rewards they receive, and may they always give rewards to those who have earned them, even if only a quick word of praise.
May they struggle for a better world than the one in which they find themselves.
May they embrace all the qualities and goodness of their parents, grandparents, family, and loved ones without pretending not to see the wrongs and scars--because not to learn those is to repeat them.
May they always love and respect each other and always be there for each other so that each knows that help is only a brother away.
If these things be (and I believe they do), then I will have received a “noble” (not Nobel) prize for that is all for which I could ever wish. I'm not sorry I am not leaving behind any riches for them to share other than those above. It has been my experience that more money has never solved a single one of any of my problems. When my own father died I got none of his money but realized he had already given me all his truly good things for which I could ever ask. I pray that is the same for my sons. If each live as decent, honest, loving, caring, and gentle men, they will have exceeded all my hopes for each of them. May their lives always show others that there are decent, honest, and gentle men in the world. I love them more than they will ever know. If they can live so that the things above are true, I will never die but always live in them.