A note to my Son’s teacher _ A satire based on Abraham Lincoln’s letter

by Chandrika R Krishnan

Revisit the very famous, A Letter From Abraham Lincoln To His Son’s Teacher

My son starts school today. It is all going to be strange and new to him for a while and I wish you would treat him gently. It is an adventure that might take him across continents. All adventures that probably include wars, tragedy and sorrow. To live this life will require faith, love and courage.

So dear Teacher, will you please take him by his hand and teach him things he will have to know, teaching him – but gently, if you can. Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend. He will have to know that all men are not just, that all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero, that for every crooked politician, there is a dedicated leader.

Teach him if you can that 10 cents earned is of far more value than a dollar found. In school, teacher, it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat. Teach him to learn how to gracefully lose, and enjoy winning when he does win.

Teach him to be gentle with people, tough with tough people. Steer him away from envy if you can and teach him the secret of quiet laughter. Teach him if you can – how to laugh when he is sad, teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him there can be glory in failure and despair in success. Teach him to scoff at cynics.

Teach him if you can the wonders of books, but also give time to ponder the extreme mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on a green hill. Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if every one tell him they are wrong.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone else is doing it. Teach him to listen to every one, but teach him also to filters all that he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.

Teach him to sell his talents and brains to the highest bidder but never to put a price tag on his heart and soul. Let him have the courage to be impatient, let him have the patient to be brave. Teach him to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind, in God.

This is the order, teacher but see what best you can do. He is such a nice little boy and he is my son.

Based on the above, my satire on Abraham Lincoln’s very famous letter to his son’s headmaster.

A note to my Son’s teacher

Dear Teacher, My son would have learnt by now that all men are not just and all men are not true, courtesy the movies and the news. He would have learnt by now that there are fewer heroes than scoundrels; that selfish politicians far outscore dedicated leaders.

So, teach him that a dollar earned is far less valuable than five found, for receiving things without much effort is smart work. Teach him never to lose, for losing is a sign of weakness, and in today’s rat race, it is better to win at all costs, even if winning means losing a few friends in the process.Teach him to be wary of enemies and friends alike, for it is better to keep the enemy happy, as there is no time to make and keep friends, anyway.If you can, do teach him the secret of quiet laughter, particularly at the thought of being better than others. Let him learn early that it is better to steer clear of bullies for they come with powerful daddies.It would, indeed, be a mistake to steer him away from jealousy, for the neighbour’s envy is what leads to the owner’s pride, and it is this envy that makes one strive to do better.

Teach him, if you must, the wonder of a book, though I am unable to see much value in the same – sitting in front of the television set or laptop is just as good.I don’t think it is wise to give him quiet time to ponder on the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and flowers on a green hillside, when it would be so much better to fill his time with tuitions, keyboard classes, guitar lessons and tennis practice. With iPods, Facebook and Twitter, it is nigh impossible to find time for such frivolous activities. Teach him to have faith in his own ideas because people seem to give in to the one who digs in his toes, even if he is wrong.  Please do not teach my son that it is far more honourable to fail than cheat. As a matter of fact, it is your duty to make sure that he clears all examinations, for that’s the reason why we send our child to school! It fairly tickled our funny bone the other day, when my son said that his achievements are due to the combined efforts of his classmates. Wonder where he gets such crazy ideas from! Please teach him to rely more on himself and not depend too much on mankind, for all of us have a personal agenda to fulfill on this earth.

You can read the rest of the piece at:

Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash


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