This is perhaps the world’s most famous recorded letter from parent to teacher. The letter was written by Abraham Lincoln to the head teacher of his son’s school. Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States who served from March 1861 until he was felled by an assassin’s bullet in April, 1865.
Abraham Lincoln was brought up in a poor family on the western frontier, Lincoln was self-educated, and became a country lawyer, a Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator in the 1830s, and a one-term member of the House of Representatives in the 1840s. Old Abe as he was commonly known was many things to many people, yet not much of his parental side may be known to most.
As we a welcome to the New Year 2014 to Parents and Guardians of Million school boys and girls who will sit for their final School level Examinations worldwide. It is my prayer that every teacher will inculcate some “Lincolnic wisdom” to these Global Citizens. I would like to share this letter here with you. Which every teacher should know by heart and recite like some creed before disseminating any learning contents to the students. Perhaps this letter Abe should have addressed it: “To My Son thro’ His Teacher”. Because the information was invaluable to both the Teacher and Abe’s son.
My son 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 that for every enemy there is a friend.
It will take time, I know; but teach him, if you can, that a dollar earned is far more valuable than five found. Teach him to learn to lose and also to enjoy winning. 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 more 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!”