My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
I wonder what you’re like now at 16, Shosh. Has your voice deepened? Have you put on weight? Are you still biting your nails? (That’s a very unhealthy habit, and I hope you’ve long outgrown it.) Do you own the room upon entry? Do you think for yourself, or allow others to influence you? How are you doing in school? Who are your friends? Have you made plans and preparations for college? (You should be, if you are not already doing so.) I have million and one questions. But, I can’t engage in this exercise often for it reduces me to a useless lump of flesh that must will itself to breathe. I hope that you are well, and that you are well along the path I laid out for you during our time together.
Boys, remember how I used to always say that your greatest weapon and tool is your brain? It is. With a sharp wit, a keen eye, and sound knowledge, you can extract yourself from most unpleasant situations. Success may not be immediate, but it will come with time and perseverance. I hope you’ve continued to use and sharpen those great tools of yours.
Think for yourselves. Don’t EVER allow others to do your thinking for you. That never bodes well.
Note above how specific and detailed the 10 Commandments are. God gave them to the people at a time when the latter were enslaved and uneducated. However, when Jesus came much later, the people had been freed and educated. Thus, he reduced the 10 commandments to only two: love God, and love your neighbors as yourself.
Jesus’s two commandments are the thinking man’s version. A smart man can think for himself and figure out how best to live and to express himself. He knows being a good person is about more than simply not killing, stealing, cheating, or bad-mouthing others. A good man is also kind to those in pain, generous to those in need, firm with those who are unruly or unethical, etc. Thus, the list for the uneducated and the unthinking is not sufficient.
Think for yourselves. Never let anybody — not some hired marketer, not your teachers, and certainly never any government official — tell you what or how to think. Beware when they try. Bad things follow.
Think for yourselves and arm yourselves with knowledge. Don’t allow others to disarm you with empty promises, falsehoods, and lies. Take care of yourselves and each other.
Until we reunite, I send you all my love, always,