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To My Son

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By: Wassef Moukalled  



Page 22 Profile News USA Edition Aug -2008 بروفايل نيوز
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To my son
Dear son,
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Now you are a man and a college student!  Your body is taller than mine and your arm muscles could swallow my muscles and your green eyes are spacious enough to fit the hopes of the world and the dreams of the future.
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Twenty years, my son, and I’m concentrating on your daily life particulars, academically and socially.
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During our twenty year journey, we have discussed many issues related to you, your friends and loved ones, to your presence and future, your experiences and plans. We golfed together, and went pheasant hunting and fishing.
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Sometimes I was a fair father, and other times a firm one, but I always dealt with you as a son and a friend. I encouraged you to do some things and swayed you away from doing others, and as always, you were the good son who makes every father proud.
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Do you remember how many times you cried in my lap? And how many times you laughed with me?  Do you still remember how many times we wrestled on the bed? And how many nights we spent doing your homework?
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Yes my son, I dealt with you roughly and softly, I was serious and humorous, unyielding and lenient. My only intent was to get you ready for this day, when you become an adult and the sole owner of your decisions; to ready you to face the robustness of these days by yourself, to harvest your own successes, and to build, on your own, a better future that will make you, me and your children joyful.
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I will never stop, my son, asking about your welfare; how could I? I’m a Middle Eastern man, in whose eyes the son is a youngster, despite his age.  But the time has come to leave you alone, to choose and make your way. Not only wish to see you successful in school, but I plead with you to be aware of the other necessities in life, such as family, social and academic matters.
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School by itself is not enough, but necessary; family by itself is not enough, even if it were a silky mattress; and society by itself is not enough, but it is the ultimate school. Can you imagine if all three became friends in your own place of effort and future?
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I recognize your mental assets well; therefore I expect more and better things out of you. I realize how handsome and what a gentleman you are, and I know you are a man of principles.  I fed them to you with your childhood nutrition, and reinforced them while you were growing up and you enriched them while preparing yourself to become an adult. Therefore, you are competent to become a distinguished contributor to this society.
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I want more for you than to earn a college degree to help you land a job and a monthly salary, because this objective is a petty one and could suffocate your inspiration.  I want your degree to be a passport that allows you to enter the other world from its wide entrance, the world of the distinguished and effective people.
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You could become a Senator if that is what you want; you could have your own school of thoughts if that is your objective, or be an astronaut, if that is your dream. But the question, as always, remains: what do you want to do with your brilliant and rich resources, your intelligence and your heart?
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I do not want you to enter my library of knowledge to borrow some books; you cannot do that, even if I wished to help you.  I would rather accompany you on a road that takes you to your own inner soul where your brilliance and determination exist; otherwise, you would permit yourself to become average, one of millions of people.
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I’m well aware that your capabilities have no boundaries, but it is your responsibility to take care of them like a plant in our mountains, which will not survive if ignored, and will not bloom if not irrigated with your own sweat. You will not eat its fruits if you don’t feed it the bread of your patience.
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Knowledge, my son, is just like that plant; it is a tree that opens its heart to give fruits only if you irrigate it with the inner rivers of your own knowledge.
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I’m very impressed with your dreams, let them fly in your inner space, but be logical, guide them as you would a kite at the sea shore, grasp its strings firmly, but be supple, let it fly anytime you want it to, change its direction when necessary, and bring it back to earth when it becomes stormy; this way it will always be under your control and capability.
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Again, more than that college degree, I want you to be notable. It was my luck to pitch my tent in this country, and yours to be born here. Learn from this society, make friends.
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This country is rich with positives and negatives; recognize both, swim in the sea of the first and throw the second to the shore of ignorance.  Thus, you will be able to distinguish between right and wrong, the beneficial and harmful. Only then you can carry the constructive ones to the mainland of your fathers and grandfathers, if you wished to.
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 Ahead of you my son is a bright future, a lengthy road, and a sacred obligation. Start now building your castle.  From its balcony you can see all things clearly, but do more than just look at it. It’s your responsibility as an effective contributor to build on the helpful ones and revolutionize the unhelpful.
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I do not want you to be this society’s prophet, but the prophet of your inner self. If you trust your inner soul you can enter its secretive mines to open the damps of its rivers to gush out.
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It is unimportant to eat and live! Foxes, flies and criminals also live and eat; it is vital how we live and how well we influence the people around us.
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One day I hope to see you accompany a thief to church to confess and ask for mercy, or guide a miscreant to a mosque to bow and ask forgiveness, or lead an ignorant one toward your intellectual place to drink of your knowledge, or steer a pessimist toward your fields of optimism.
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One day I hope to see you open the door to a house of silence for an indiscreet or lead a hungry man to a field of wheat, or a lazy man to a source of energy which may transform him, or lay a thorn on the soft leaves of a flower to nap.
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Then will I feel my obligation was complete, then my soul will applaud you and I will stop advising you, and take advantage of my time golfing with my grandchildren, your dear children.

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