Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we’ll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it’s a long way to go,
But in the meantime,
Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans
John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy”
Last month I posted a piece called Childrearing in Beirut, which concerned my friend Hrair, a reader of this blog. It occasioned a lively debate about fathers and sons.
Two weeks ago, I got the following e-mail from Hrair, who is the father of a grown son and daughter:
I was going through my files the other day and I ran across a letter I had written. This was sent to the leader of the Boy Scouts troop. Every Boy Scout who applies for Eagle Scout needs a letter from a parent.
I had been a Boy Scout, but left the troop before I was eligible to become an Eagle. I never knew such a letter was part of the process.
Hrair included a copy of what he wrote, addressed to the scoutmaster. I thought it one of the most eloquent expressions of a father’s love that I’d ever seen. I asked Hrair permission to publish his letter here, and he agreed.
Hrair’s son Armen became an Eagle Scout and is proud of it. He’s now in graduate school in chemical engineering. Hrair writes of Armen, “I think he implements all the things he learned in scouting in his every day life.”
Below is the letter in entirety. One can say several things about the Boy Scouts, particularly in this day and age, but they aren’t germane here. I had thought at first to call this post “Recommendation for a son,” but really, it’s a recommendation for fatherhood.
Dear Mr. M.
I would like to give this letter the following title: To Armen, my mentor.
You see when I was a young man I had the desire and the dream to have a son with whom I wanted to play and share everything I ever knew and learned in my life. I wanted to show him the neat little tricks while playing ball. I wanted to run with him in open fields, drive my bike with him and see the wind thrust his hair in the air and hear his laughter and giggles. Then as he grew, I wanted to help him do his homework, take him to museums and build model cars. Later on in his life, I wanted to teach him how to drive. I planned my travels with him. I wanted to share with him what I thought would be the path he has to choose for his career.
I was blessed that I did all of the above. However, something even better came out of all this. I received a lot more than I gave.
Armen taught me there are numerous shades to the black and white colors I always saw. He taught me to accept the unexpected and be comfortable with it. He taught me to see different points of view and embrace them as realities and possibilities. I learned how to be tolerant and patient. I learned that a little person could be right. In my down moments, I looked for his presence and his warmth for comfort. Although I was to show leadership, yet I took commands from someone one-fourth my size and with no life experience at all, but full of solid logic and clarity. I learned to be calmer. I noticed that what I wanted and what I could get are very different from one another.
Now that he is a grown man I wanted him to realize, it is becoming more and more of a reality that “we always need someone younger than us”. My life enrichment with his company is unfathomable and has no boundaries.
This has been a priceless experience for me.
. . .
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:
Some Famous Boy Scouts — Check out the rock stars (one Beatle!). Only one president was an Eagle, and you won’t guess who (hint: not Richard Nixon).
Letters of Note — A website of fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. One a day.
. . .
Any thoughts about scouts, letters or fatherhood? Add your comment below. I always respond here.