Monday, December 22

From Fitzgerald to Reagan, 5 Letters of Fatherly Advice from History's Greatest Public Dads |


I'm not sure whether to congratulate or sympathise with you. You have your mamma who wrote an entire book of letters to you (and to Diya) as well but then to compound it, your father keeps on sending you weirdass articles with strange commentary and advise. 

I'm reminded of a quote, 'the thing to do with good advice is to pass it on, it's never good for oneself'. 

I used to correspond  copiously with Dadu's elder brother. He was a ferociously intelligent man, with some very strong opinions about English, grammar, history, bibliography etc. I used to spend summers with him and we would talk and discuss about variety of things. And when I used to write to him, he would reply and also and my letters back corrected for grammar and spelling. Heh. 

Actually, there is a very long tradition down history of men writing to their sons or their mentees. For example, the first book I read was called as, Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son. Gandhi did it. You know why? Because fathers don't want their sons (and daughters) to make the same mistakes as they did or they want to make sure that the happiness they received is also adopted by their sons and daughters. I don't write too much to Diya at the moment about weighty things. She is a bit too young but we still have fun on a variety of topics, mostly related to what I photograph. 

Anyway, here are 5 letters that famous dad's wrote to their sons. History doesn't record what their sons thought of these letters but be that as it may, happy reading son. 



From Fitzgerald to Reagan, 5 Letters of Fatherly Advice from History's Greatest Public Dads | Brain Pickings

by Maria Popova

“The secret of success is concentrating interest in life… interest in the small things of nature… In other words to be fully awake to everything.”

With Father’s Day around the corner, let’s take a moment to pay heed to some of the wisest, most heart-warming advice from history’s famous dads. Gathered here are five timeless favorites, further perpetuating my well-documented love of the art of letter-writing.


imageIn a 1933 letter to his 11-year-old daughter Scottie, F. Scott Fitzgeraldproduced this poignant and wise list of things to worry, not worry, and think about, found in the altogether excellent F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters:

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about…

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(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?

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