September 19, 1991
My Dad used to write letters to me, but he doesn’t any more; it’s kind of hard for him to write to anyone, now. I didn’t appreciate his letters then. In fact, I actively disliked many of his letters. But that was then. Now, when I’d really like him to write to me, he can’t; and I miss him.
So, this is a letter to three of the finest people I know: Travis, Corey and Lisa Jones. There was a time when I used to look at each of you and focus only on your faults. But as I have grown, I have come to realize that what I was seeing in you was simply my own imperfection, reflected back to me perfectly through your choicesand actions.
Now, when I look at you, I see three truly wonderful people; and I want each of you to know that. For many years, people have told Donna and me how neat you kids are; but I preferred to judge them and you, instead. How could they know you better than I do? I’m your Dad, and I live with you all of the time. I see your faults up close and personal. What do they know?
Well, I have learned that they know a lot; and they were right. You guys are neat. Sometimes, you’re even orderly!
For example, today I got a call from Bob Whatishisname, the guy Travis works for. Imagine how great it feels to be the father of the guy working for Bob when Bob tells me that Travis is a really hard worker who is totally reliable and never makes any mistakes. Never? Well, that’s what he said, and he’s the “customer”. And in the few weeks that Travis has been working for Bob, he’s managed to save over $500! Wow! Land Rover watch out. Your next owner is getting ready for you!
And Travis, I really respect and honor you for admitting that you are starting to like the Grateful Dead. Not because they are any good… just because you are reaching out and trying to build bridges with us rather than tear them down.
I really love going for drives with you and just talking about whatever comes up. I learn from you every time we do that, and it’s fun, too.
And now you’re reading The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. You are truly on the path to become a Peaceful Warrior, and I am truly blessed to have you as a teacher, friend and son.
And Corey, one of the most personally powerful people I have ever known. When you have learned to totally harness and focus your energy, you will be an awesome force. You already awesome, and you’re only 13. I don’t know of any kid your age who has your willingness to put himself on the line, to take the risk of rejection, and to simply ask for what you want. This is a marvelous gift, and I am very fortunate to be able to watch you and learn from you as you learn to master your power.
For years, your power has intimidated and frightened me. I didn’t know how to control you, and didn’t want you to control me. As just about everyone who has come to know you has learned, you are not easily controlled. But you can be empowered.
I have watched as you decide to tackle some task or challenge, and focused your immense energy, your incredible organizational skills, your artistic gifts, and, perhaps most important of all, your amazing ability to ask questions and understand complex problems. I have never known a child with your gifts, and I am ever more thankful that I have you to grow with and learn from.
And finally Lisa, who embodies love and gentleness, an open, willing and powerful mind, and immense courage and strength. I vividly remember the moment you were born, and the gentleness and peace you brought with you.
As I have watched you grow, I have been afraid of you, because I didn’t understand little girls. I didn’t know what to do with your feelings and moods, because I didn’t know what to do with my own feelings and moods.
As I watched you lying on the table in the Doctor’s office today, voluntarily undergoing surgery on your already beautiful face, I felt your fear, and watched in wonder as you mastered it and moved beyond it.
As I saw the knife slice deeply into the skin of your face, I wanted to hold you, protect you, rescue you; but I knew that you didn’t need that. You only needed to know that we were there to hold your hand, and you could handle the rest. I was then, as I am now, really proud to be your father.
Each of you is very different from the others. The differences are the source of your power and uniqueness. I honor and encourage you to cultivate and nurture the special self in each of you; and I thank you for choosing me as your father.