Article 43


Monday, July 25, 2011

Letter To My Daughter


An open letter to my daughter, on the occasion of her graduation from high school:

By Neil Westergaard
May 22, 2005

Well, this is it, kiddo. You’re graduating from high school next week, so I guess there’s no denying it now—my little girl is grown up. Your father and mother officially become empty-nesters in the fall when you go off to college.

Excuse me if I seem a little weirder than usual lately. I’m having trouble facing the fact that I am now, indisputably, middle-aged. Kids in the home keep you from worrying about that stuff.

I’m experiencing a mixture of great happiness and a little sadness right now because the most important and rewarding job of my life—successfully raising you and your brother—is speeding toward semiretirement.

The rest of your life is mostly up to you now. Where you go, what you experience and how much you succeed is out of my hands. You’ll be making your own way, without warnings from me all the time to be careful, stay away from drugs, don’t be out too late or do your homework.

Oh sure, I hope you’ll always want to ask for my advice—and I’ll still have a financial stake in your life for a little while longer.

But the truth is, you’ll be living under a different roof now more than you’ll be under mine. I know this is a source of some anxiety for you, but honey, it’s natural. Just trust me that it’s the beginning of a new and exciting period of your life—where you’re in control.

I’m glad you’ve chosen business as your college major. It’ll serve you well even if you don’t decide to enter the business world. As we’ve discussed many times, almost everything has some connection to business and the economy.

Business gets a lot of bad press in the mainstream media. All those CEOs being led away in handcuffs have one thing in common, however. Somewhere in their past, they put their consciences away in a box and forgot that lasting business success is based on ethical behavior.

Being honest with themselves, their employees and their customers became secondary to making a short-term profit. They bent the rules to serve dubious ends.

No doubt you’ll study some of these high-profile cases when you’re in school. Pay attention. It’s important.

But Rachel, the vast majority of businessmen and women are honest and ethical people who are committed to making the world a better place. Lapses of business ethics may capture a lot of headlines, but that’s not what’s really going on out there in the business world.

Some supposedly learned scholars in the last century tried to make the case that selling goods and services at a profit was inherently bad, that markets oppress people and that business exploits the labors of the people. Entire countries were built on this notion.

Instead, we found out the opposite was true. Profit was OK, markets liberated people and hard work—whether for yourself or for someone else—had a noble purpose.

Business is among the places a young person with an upbeat personality like yours can really shine, too.

You’ve proved yourself an able salesperson. You’ve no idea how proud I was to hear from your boss and from customers how easy it is to talk to you, how mature and poised you are with adults—not at all like the sullen or vapid teenagers I see portrayed on television or I occasionally meet.

You have a precious ability to shrug off disappointment, to look to the next goal and to keep moving on with your big smile and hearty laugh. You’d be surprised how many people can’t do that.

You’re certainly not afraid of asking questions or questioning the status quo, for that matter, which I think is going to be a particularly valuable trait in the future, given the way things are going lately in the world.

Remember what I said: There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. Seeking the truth—not being satisfied with someone’s simplified version of it—is worth the effort. Always.

Thanks for understanding when maybe I tried to reason with you a little too loudly and for lending a hand with my many projects around the house. I hope you picked up some knowledge you can use.

Remember the time we shingled the entire garage together, snapping the level lines as we went along and working as a team with the pneumatic stapler? I can see you correcting a workman some day about the proper spacing of cedar shakes around a sash window.

Some, not a lot, of your music is awful. I think there’s an unwritten rule that requires teenagers to like music their parents hate. Must be part of the separation process.

But I’ll miss you sharing new music that, despite my apprehensions, turned out to be rather good. One song in particular, I’ll remember. You said the band’s name was Guster.

“Dad, you just have to hear this!”

I did. And I liked it. The words especially. The last line in the song goes like this:

I’ll be the one to tell you.

Careful or you’ll hurt yourself.

Gonna try, try, try ... ‘til the morning comes.

Congratulations, Rachel. Stay in touch.

Love, Dad.

Next generation could be worse off

By Rita Buck
Rapid City Journal
August 31, 2010

Dear Younger Generation:

I am sorry that our parents had the foresight to think of their children first and yours didn’t. Our parents had work ethics and your parents have entitlements.

I am sorry that our parents lived for today and thought about tomorrow and your parents just live for the day.

I am sorry that our parents were courageous and did what needed to be done to keep America and its families strong.

Your parents are cowardly and think if we just give Washington enough time, everything bad will go away.

I am sorry that our parents were part of the greatest generation and that your parents and I are part of the worst.

The problems facing this country are not just going to go away. Politicians in Washington are not going to solve your problems. We will need to work hard and sacrifice, all of us.

It is human nature to trust that all will be fine in the end, but not this time. Action needs to be taken.

We cannot idly sit by and watch the next generation suffer for our mistakes.

It’s time that the baby boomer generation realizes that we may be the first generation in American history to leave our children worse off than what we were, and that is certainly not a legacy to be proud of.


Rapid City



Letter From A Judge

Northland College (NZ) principal John Tapene has offered the following words from a judge who regularly deals with youth.

“Always we hear the cry from teenagers ‘What can we do, where can we go?’

... My answer is, “Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons, and after you’ve finished, read a book.”

“Your town does not owe you recreational facilities and your parents do not owe you fun. The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that no one will be at war, in poverty or sick and lonely again.”

“In other words, grow up, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you..."”


Posted by Elvis on 07/25/11 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America • Section Spiritual Diversions
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