To My Daughter,
I sat long staring at a blank screen, wondering what words of wisdom I might have for such an important occasion, that of my first child going away to college.
I happened to be wearing my own college ring at the time. The words engraved in the side became more obvious than I remembered them. In a circle, around a star-like cross were the words, “Love of Christ, Truth & Freedom.”
And so I decided to tell you what these words mean to me.
Christ. (Of course, that one had to be first.) You know I’m no preacher, but there is a message of Jesus Christ that has a similar thread in almost all of our world’s religions, it concerns personal accountability. It is not hard for you to imagine a world in which there was no penalty for evil and no reward for self-sacrifice, no reason for being right, no consequence for doing wrong. It is the message of choice, the God-given, free-willed responsibility of making your own choices in life and a historical perspective to help you to make the right ones. Growing up is about making choices, too. Try to make good ones, because at the end of the day, only you will be there to answer for them.
Truth. I remember hearing about the “search for truth” in college. It always sounded like there was only one. I’m still not sure I know what they really meant. But over the years I’ve learned that the world is so full of uneducated opinions being tossed around as if they were actually facts, that it often becomes a challenge to learn what is real, what is true. In other words, you may have to search through pounds of nonsense to find an ounce of truth, (especially in election years) but it is a worthy quest. Be careful, be smart. Truth is also about honesty, and honesty is always the right answer. You don’t have to look too far to find people caught up in their own lies. Always be honest, at least with yourself.
And Freedom. Freedom is not even possible without the first two. Freedom is not for the lazy, non-industrious souls, who would live off the toil of others. Or for those who would lie and cheat to prey on our good natures. Freedom is not for those with no sense of morality, no inherent law with which to guide their actions.
Freedom is but an individual’s opportunity, it is your opportunity, governed by a moral code and fueled by an honest mind, to be and do anything you really want to in life. Cherish that.
I hope you will always keep some journal or place to record your thoughts and experiences. I am so proud of you.
Love and be loved,
Don R. Kindred