Reaching the future

Do you have kids? I do. My son is now 5 years old and my daughter 3 years old. I know I won’t always be there for them, at least not physically. Writing them letters is one way for me of reaching them when I may no longer be around to give them advise.

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December 6, 2017

Wednesday, 11:58 PM

Dear Luke and Lizzy,

The goal of every man and woman should be the development and perfection of his or her character. That should be your goal, too. That is one of the greatest truths you will ever learn in life — that character matters. That most of everything in life worth having — happiness, joy, peace, love, and so on — depend on a good, if not excellent, character.

Read Jane Austen and watch some of the adaptations of her novels. Many of them are quite good. My favorite is the 1995 adaptation of P&P. One of the central themes of all of Austen’s works is character. Her characters, heroes, and heroines find love and happiness in the measure that they stayed true to their principles and virtues and strove to guard and improve their characters.

That is one of the most important things worth having in life, Ahia and Shobe, a good character. Jane Austen is a great teacher.

Lizzy, that is the reason why we named you Darci Elizabeth, after Lizzy Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in Austen’s second novel. We want you to be a real lady, just like the fictional Lizzy. She possesses a lot of admirable qualities — strength and independence of mind, elegant and modest manners, and a steady and well-controlled temperament. We also want you to see what a real gentleman looks like. Mr. Darcy has many faults and imperfections, but as Austen’s Lizzy said, “he improves on closer acquaintance.” You should judge your friends, in particular your male ones, and especially your future husband, if you will so choose marriage as a vocation, against the standard of a Mr. Darcy. There are many scoundrels out there, baby girl, so if a girl lowers her standards and accept a Mr. Wickham, she will surely, without question, not find happiness and joy.

And Luke, I wished I named you Fitzwilliam or Darcy, but I haven’t thought of that when Mommy was pregnant with you. Good thing, though, that we found you an even better and more superior person to name after — St. Thomas Aquinas. He is one of the most intelligent and pious men to ever walk the earth. We want you to always love learning, thinking, and studying. Rather, that is my hope and prayer for your shobe as well. We want you both, regardless of the paths, vocations, and professions you may pursue, to always cultivate a “life of the mind”: a love for reading, thinking or contemplation, writing, and speaking. May an intellectual life be your lifelong pursuit in addition to the cultivation, of course, of a healthy physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and financial life.

Let me correct myself. We named you after two great personages: St. Aquinas and St. Luke, the writer of one of the Gospels. We named you after these two great saints because we want you to pursue holiness. We want you to be saintly no matter what work or venture you will embark on in life. It’s the only thing worth aiming for — sanctity. The secret to happiness and joy is holiness. You find joy and peace in the measure that you are holy. Jane Austen’s characters found happiness in the measure that they lived holy lives. Perfecting one’s character and seeking holiness are both the same, or identical, pursuits. The more you practice the virtues and develop your character, the more holy you become, and the more you find peace and joy.

Who are better models of character than Mr. Darcy? St. Luke, St. Aquinas, and the great saints.

But who is the ultimate model of character, better than the best of the saints? Jesus, whom the saints followed and whose character they measured their own lives against.

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

Post Script

Don’t waste your life. You waste it on distractions. The most horrifying thing you will realize as you grow up and advance in age is that life and time are terrible things to waste. Rid yourselves of every distraction, no matter how “small”, “minor”, or “harmless” they may seem, and focus only on the most important things: love, family, friendships, pursuing your most worthy goals and dreams, and so on.

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