Tuesday, January 10, 2006

To my son in twenty years ...

January 10, 2006

Dear Son:

I am writing this letter to you in the future – to the you that will be twenty years from now, the same person who is sitting in front of me this morning with his bottle of warm milk and his frayed white blanket, but no longer a little boy.

As you look at me now your eyes seem wise and certain, as if you might open your mouth at any moment to discuss the issues of the day, the news of war and disease that circulates through the world so rapidly, through an entertainment/news media starved for content, in the cabins of jet planes and on the pages of blogs like your Papa’s, attempts to connect with other humans atomized by the very tools designed to unite them.

I cannot imagine what life might be like twenty years from today. I can dream that it will be a world free from hunger and war and diseases that torment the weak and poor, but I am concerned that it might be a world much like the one you were born into only poorer in resources, clean air, water and fuel.

What can I do to prepare you? How is my role different than that of my father who fought in the great war of his generation, the war that defined the last century and shapes the world we live in today? How must he have felt when I was your age, faced with an uncertain future in a world filled with danger from enemies known and emerging? I’m certain he would be surprised to find us here in Germany, a country he was trained destroy with the heavy bombers he flew so expertly.

Your Papa will do his best to prepare you for the world as he knows it, a world that is often unfriendly and harsh, but also a world filled with wonder and beauty and possibility. I look forward to the next twenty years. I look forward to your questions. I look forward to seeing the world from your point of view, getting down on the ground and looking up, wondering at the sounds and lights, fresh and bright and uncolored by prejudices that come unwanted with experience.