Before the computer age parents used to write their children intimately in their own handwriting. With or without any particular occasion, parent-children bonding is sealed in letters that express mutual love and respect, bring surprises and reminiscences. Here is a letter written by parents to their 16-year old son studying in a Manila university.
Dr Abe V Rotor
When you open and read this letter you shall be in uniform. seated comfortably with your classmates, your teacher giving instructions that you devote some precious minutes of concentration. It shall be a moment out of 365 days, two-thirds you spend in school, and out of 17 to 25 years of schooling. May this letter therefore, contribute to the significance of this occasion.
Communication is vital in keeping the family closely knit . There is no substitute to letter writing in spite of the popularity of the computer.
You live in two different worlds. One world is found in the school, the other outside its walls. The first is the ideal; the other is the real one. One is kind and patient; the other cruel and demanding. One emphasizes principles and theory; the other practice.
One teaches you never to indulge in vices, the other even advertises vices. In one you play the music by notes, in the other you play by ear. In one you keep the trash in the waste bin; in the other, on the street.
You find a homogeneous, fine company in school; outside is a heterogeneous society. In one you hear the echo of your voice mixing with other voices in vibrant, happy sound; in the other, it dies in thin air, or in a crowd. Or it mixes with cries and moans. You have the privilege of education; outside millions of children like you are deprived of this privilege.
For the coming years until you become 21 or so, you will be witnessing the daily drama of these two worlds, and you will realize their great disparity. Do not allow yourself unprepared, more so to be caught between two rocks, so to speak. We have seen failure in those who waited for the dividing wall to dissolve, failure in those who crossed it too soon, and failure in those who became prisoners behind it.
You are in your right direction and you pace is just right. Just trust us to guide you. Be as obedient as you are. Be as industrious and sincere. Be kind always to your sister and brother. Study hard. Keep faith in the Almighty and mankind. Be healthy and strong. Keep you chin up, even in defeat.
You must prepare yourself early in life to adapt yourself to the outside world. Do not be just a witness or spectator, be that actor on the stage of true life. Our responsibility to you, as well as your sister and brother, is not only one of that of a teacher. As your father and mother, we will strive to help you cross the bridge more that the care of anyone or any institution. We will strive to fill the gap in whatever way we can to make it less difficult for you to succeed.
May you find this special moment a time of reflection. Remember to read this letter again when you are not in school, where the world is real. Reflect on it once again. Keep the message in you heart and mind as you walk through life's rosy and thorny path.
You Papa and Mama
Letter to Matthew Marlo, 16
July 15, 1997