3 years, 7 month, and 29 days. Let your conscience and personal standards guide you.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I hope you laugh lots and often.  Laughter is such a precious commodity.

That’s what I miss most about our former life — the laughter, the happiness, the joy.  I don’t think a day passed where we didn’t laugh about one thing or another … be it one of Jaialai’s crazy games or your crazy jokes or stories, Shosh.

I hope you guys still laugh lots and often.

Carefree and unbidden laughter is something that has been decidedly absent from my life these past several years.  That is not to say there is no laughter.  But, what little of it comes in the form of if-I-don’t-laugh-I’d-cry type.  It is forced.  It is contrived.

Anyway, let’s switch gear for a moment to something I confronted today.  People often judge the value of something by its popularity on social media, in the news, etc.  Don’t.  Never allow others to dictate for you what is good or right.

For example, there is a story circulating on the internet about a Vietnamese refugee in China, who came from nothing and climbed the social ladder to become a billionaire.  http://www.scmp.com/article/965286/sleeping-enemy.  She engaged in fraud and corruption to gain her wealth, then testified against the corrupt and high-ranking government officials she used to gain access to wealth.  Today, a number of those corrupt government officials are imprisoned and while others put to death.

Some call her a heroine.  I don’t.  What she did was wrong.  Period.

She has a billion in blood money.  But what is it worth?  Who would trust her now, knowing she had used and abused those who had collaborated with her earlier?  What good is her billions if she lives in fear for her life because of the powerful enemies she has made?  Heroine?  I think not.

Always let your conscience guide you.  Allow neither netizens nor peers pressure you into doing something you know is wrong.

An example closer to your age would be the following story about sexting.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/style/wp/2016/09/06/2016/09/06/the-sext-was-meant-to-impress-him-instead-it-nearly-destroyed-her/.  Given the junk circulating through the Ethernet these days, I have no doubt you’re aware of what sexting is.  If you are ever tempted to engage in such activity, don’t.  Ever.  You know it’s not right.  If you come across it, delete it.

Integrity is what you do when neither I nor others are around to bear witness.  Always act with integrity.  If so, you will know few regrets.

All my love, always,

Dad

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