Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 100,000 views.
My grand nephew will be one year old later this month. The parents decided to invite all their family and friends to a party and to bring along a letter addressed to him when he turns 18 In 2036. What an intriguing idea? What can I share with him that will be relevant and helpful to him and his generation so many years from now? I may not even be around. I gave it some thought and came up with the following letter.
- Jan. 2019
Letter to Lucas on Your 18th Birthday
This is your grand uncle Jack writing to you on your first birthday in the year 2019. We were told by your parents to write a letter to you that will be opened at your 18th birthday. It is like a time capsule and what a great idea.
Here is my advice to you...speaking from a person who have lived 67 years of experience, 10 years on Taiwan where I was born and 57 years in the US where I am a citizen and a proud American.
1. Stay close to your family. In Chinese culture, under Confucius philosophy, we are to honor our parents and ancestors. This will bring good fortune to you and your decedents.
Your family, your dad, and mom and your grand parents from both side and all your aunts and uncles and cousins... are on your side. They will love you and support you unconditionally. That is what family do.
Friends will come and go but family is forever.
2. Develop a relationship with God, whoever you deemed him to be. Whether YHWH, orJehovah, or Buddha or Jesus, it does not matter which religion you practice. The importance is the knowledge that a higher power is in control. We are all ships passing through the night. We are here in this world a short period of time. God is eternal and timeless.
You want to live your life with a long perspective. You want to leave this world a better place than you found it. You want to be a positive influence to the people around you. When you leave this world, you want to be missed. That is the only goal.
In my own case, I am a Catholic and I believe in Heaven. I hope to meet you and all our relatives and friends in Heaven someday. That is my faith. A strong faith will carry you in your darkest hour. It will also give you hope in a better tomorrow.
3. Live a balance life. Have passion for something, anything and pursue that with everything you’ve got. It is OK to fail but it is better to try and fail than not having tried at all.
Finally, I want to apologize for my generation. We have not done a good job in my opinion of being good steward of the earth. We have not taken care of our environment and our animals and our resources...
We also have not been good in paying our bills as a nation and ran up a huge debt of $22 trillion USD. This debt, unfortunately will have to be paid back by your generation. I did my best to vote for people in office that were more fiscal conservatives but to no avail. Our country in 2019 is more divided than ever. I fear for our nation’s future.
At this very moment in January 9, 2019, our government is in the middle of a shut down. Our President, Donald Trump, wanted money to build a wall on our southern borders to stop the undocumented immigrants crossing our borders. The Congress, under Democratic control refuse to negotiate. The impasse has kept the government shut down and non-essential services are in furlough.
History will judge whether this was a good or bad move. You will be living with this while growing up and may suffer the consequences.
My final advice to you is to study the Constitution and also to study our countries history. It is the only thing that is constant and that will preserve our heritage and our way of life as a free nation.
Good luck and have a happy 18th birthday on this day, Jan. 16, 2036.
Our hope is to be there with you in person to celebrate together - God willing.
- Jack and Christina Lee
Yorktown Hts. NY
© 2019 Jack Lee
Liz Westwood from UK on January 31, 2019:
What a lovely idea. This is a gift that money can not buy.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on January 31, 2019:
That is such a lovely and heart-warming letter to your Grand Nephew. When he turned 18 and reads this, I'm sure he will truly appreciate and heed every word you have written. Blessings to you and your family.