I love this letter by Abraham Lincoln to his son's headmaster. And I will put in bold the part I want you to take special notice of.
My son will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero. That for every selfish politician, there is a dedicated leader. Teach him that for every enemy there is a friend. It will take time, I know; but teach him, if you can, that a dollar earned is far more valuable than five found.
Teach him to learn to lose and also to enjoy winning.
Steer him away from envy, if you can.
Teach him the secret of quiet laughter.
Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest to lick.
Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books. But also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and the flowers on a green hillside.
In the school teach him it is far honorable to fail than to cheat.
Teach him to have faith in his own ideas even if everyone tells him they are wrong.
Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with the tough.
Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the band wagon.
Teach him to listen to all men. But teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.
Teach him if you can, how to laugh when he is sad. Teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness.
Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders but never to put a price-tag on his heart and soul.
Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob and to stand and fight if he thinks he's right.
Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him because only the test of fire makes fine steel.
Let him have the courage to be impatient, let him have the patience to be brave. Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself because then he will have sublime faith in mankind.
This is a big order, but see what you can do. He is such a fine fellow, my son !
Only the test of fire makes fine steel.
Here is another popular letter, by Richard Paul Evans the author of The Christmas Box.
My Dear Son,
I am so very proud of you. Now, as you embark on a new journey, I'd like to share this one piece of advice. Always, always remember that - adversity is not a detour. It is part of the path.
You will encounter obstacles. You will make mistakes. Be grateful for both. Your obstacles and mistakes will be your greatest teachers. And the only way to not make mistakes in this life is to do nothing, which is the biggest mistake of all.
Your challenges, if you let them, will become your greatest allies. Mountains can crush or raise you, depending on which side of the mountain you choose to stand on. All history bears out that the great, those who have changed the world, have all suffered great challenges. And, more times than not it's precisely those challenges that, in God's time, lead to triumph.
Abhor victimhood. Denounce entitlement. Neither are gifts, rather cages to damn the soul. Everyone who has walked this earth is a victim of injustice. Everyone.
Most of all, do not be too quick to denounce your sufferings. The difficult road you are called to walk may, in fact, be your only path to success.
If I wanted to bold anything in that letter, it would be the entire letter.
And I'll end with a memorable quote from Sir Isaac Newton.
Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes because we need them; and he proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires. Let us trust his skill and thank him for his prescription.