My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
A number of your cousins on your mom’s side have kids before they are married, do not have college degrees, and have dead-end jobs that will lead to nowhere. On the other hand, your cousins on my side include a president and CEO of a wholly-owned overseas subsidiary of a top American marketing firm in New York, have college degrees, and hold professional jobs with opportunities for advancement. In other words, the cousins on my side have a bright future, whereas those on the other side do not.
Whose footsteps do you want to follow? Would you be willing to work hard today to guarantee a bright future for you and your family, or would you rather goof off today and sell your future short? (Mind you, those cousins may be “nice” and their girlfriends may be “nice”, but success in life is about a lot more than being nice.)
You can do better. I raised you to be better.
The key is to have a good attitude and be self-disciplined. These attributes are more important than ever because I cannot be there to guide you every day, and your mom thinks letting do you whatever you want is good parenting. (No, that’s lazy parenting. It takes a lot of hard work to be a good parent.)
Remember I how I told you that in life, there are doers and there are talkers? Be a doer. Be prone to action. Talk is cheap, right? Anyone can opine about anything. But, it is the good man who gets off his duff and lends his neighbor a hand.
But, being action oriented has its price. You will know the frustration and sorrow failure brings. But, it’s okay. Consider the alternative. If you do nothing meaningful with your life, that would constitute the greatest failure of all. People often refuse to act because they are fearful. Unfortunately, those fears often never subside. Instead, they grow with time, taking on greater significance than they are due.
In her commencement speech to Harvard graduates, J.K. Rowling discussed how fear animates the unimaginative and do-nothings.
They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.What is more, those who choose not to empathise enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy.
The truth is you fail only when you don’t learn from your mistakes. It is said Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before successfully creating the first light bulb. He was late in joining the efforts to create an electric light bulb (other inventors were already trying), but he focused on smaller and domestic bulbs, and ultimately changed the world because he persevered. J.K. Rowling was rejected by 40 publishers before finally finding a home for her Harry Potter series. Today, she is a billionaire.
The winner in this world is the man who not only gets back up after falling down (after failing), but who also gets back up the quickest. That takes mental fortitude and self-discipline.
(I must admit, this last round has me very slow getting to my feet. I spent five years fighting the $40 billion Enron of Healthcare, not because they denied me health benefits, but because they cheated the sick and dying of the health benefits they needed and to which they were legally entitled. I brought the health insurer to justice, but the fight destroyed my career and my marriage. Then, I fought a “Christian” church that thought nothing of bringing 120 convicted sex offenders and convicted criminals literally next door to one elementary school and within 500 yards from a second, and keeping the community in the dark about their activities while enhancing protections for their own church members. For our efforts, the award-winning reporter who brought this story to light was fired the week before Christmas. Three other groups of parents had previously tried to get the church to move its ministry but failed to even get press coverage. That battle was on-going when the fight with your mom for your custody started. She would rather watch TV and have you play video games than take you to your favorite park right next door, or take you to child therapy for which I had already paid. That is laziness, not parenting. This last battle was the hardest because I had to hold back and pull my punches for your sake. She is, and will always be, your mother. To hurt her is to hurt you. But, on the other hand, she had no problem hurting me, and you guys as a result. She and her piece of shit lawyer lied, played dirty, and completely destroyed our family and your lives as a result. We lost your childhood home and our lives together in the new home because their convenient lies. Now, I have to fight fascist and racist government officials who boost their departmental budgets by taking kids from their families. See, e.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5fqaaBpTLY; http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1216573; and, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkIBX0J70b0. But, rest assured, as long as there is breath in my lungs, I will fight my way back to you. I may be tired, bruised, and bloodied, but I will never give up on you.)
For now, my sons, be self-disciplined and have a good mental attitude to forge forward towards a brighter tomorrow. Study hard. Try to get into the best college you can … so that more doors would be open to you. As you can see from the links below, college graduates earn a lot more money over the course of their lives than those without college degrees. But, it’s not all about earning money: it’s also about living a good life and leaving behind a good legacy for your own children when you choose to have them. The last link shows how children of parents who are professionals are exposed to significantly more vocabulary words throughout their live than children of parents of lower education and social-economic levels. For example, studies show that in a typical hour, children of professionals are exposed to 2,153 words versus 1,251 and 616 of children of working class and welfare parents, respectively. In a year, that comes out to be 11 million words versus 6 million or 3 million. Greater vocabulary means greater reading comprehension, better education, better jobs, and brighter futures
Emergence of the Problem
In a typical hour, the average child hears:
|Family Status||Actual Differences in Quantity of Words Heard||Actual Differences in Quality of Words Heard|
|Welfare||616 words||5 affirmations, 11 prohibitions|
|Working Class||1,251 words||12 affirmations, 7 prohibitions|
|Professional||2,153 words||32 affirmations, 5 prohibitions|
Cumulative Vocabulary Experiences
|Family Status||Words heard per hour||Words heard in a 100-hour week||Words heard in a 5,200 hour year||Words heard in 4 years|
|Welfare||616||62,000||3 million||13 million|
|Working Class||1,251||125,000||6 million||26 million|
|Professional||2,153||215,000||11 million||45 million|
I love you always,