As we’ve been discussing, F. Scott Fitzgerald was a master of the fatherly letter. He would finish the short letter to his daughter Frances with a short list of things to think about.
“Things to think about:
What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?”
And then he concludes, “With dearest love” and signed his name. Neither he nor she would know that he only had a few years left to live, that he would barely see his daughter make it to adulthood. And considering she was only 11 years old at the time he wrote the letter, it makes you wonder if he wasn’t really writing to her at all, but to himself, a man who in 1933 was a world-famous author yet racked by self-created financial issues, alcoholism and chronic procrastination and escapism.
Our kids need to understand that they have gifts—that life itself is a gift. Are they treating that gift well? (Fitzgerald wasn’t.) They need to understand that as wonderful life is, it’s also filled with complicated, flawed, even broken people. Can we forgive them, put up with them, appreciate them? And finally, that wisdom is the journey we all have to be on… because it helps us with those things.
We could all use a reminder of this today.