Guest View: World, Take My Son By The Hand

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My dad first ran this column when I started kindergarten. So, since dad passed away in 2005, I picked up his tradition of running this article at the beginning of each school year.

For our family, the school years are going quickly. This year, Carter began college at SIUE, and Ava is a Junior. For my step-children, Kristin and Macy each have two children and Matthew is expecting his first in February. They and many families are beginning the journey.

Every year, I receive calls from readers who enjoy the annual article. Even though I’m no longer a publisher, this year is no different. I’m still receiving calls to publish the column. So, I’m sharing it with a few places.

With the article in its 46th year, I hope those of you with little ones who just started school will appreciate the column.

—Chris Russell

Author Unknown

“My son started school this week. It’s going to be strange and new to him for a while.

“And I wish you would sort of treat him gently.

“You see, up to now, he’s been King of the Roost.

“He’s been boss of the backyard. I have always been around to repair his wounds, and to soothe his feelings.

“But now — things are going to be different.

“This morning, he’s going to walk down the front steps, wave his hand and start on his great adventure that will probably include wars, tragedy and sorrow.

“So, World, I wish you would sort of take him by his young hand and teach him the things he will have to know.

“Teach him — but gently, if you can.

“He will have to learn, I know, that not all men are just, that not all men are true.

“Teach him that for every scoundrel, there is a hero — that for every crooked Politician, there is a dedicated leader — that for every enemy, there is a friend.

“Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest people to lick.

“Teach him the wonders of books. Give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, flowers on the green hill.

“Teach him that it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat. Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone else tells him they are wrong.

“Try to give my son strength not to follow the crowd when everyone else is getting on the bandwagon. Teach him to listen to all men, but to filter all he hears on a screen of truth and to take only the good that comes through.

“Teach him to close his ears on a howling mob–and to stand and fight if he’s right. Teach him that the word American ends with …’I Can’!

“Teach him gently, World, but don’t coddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel.

“This is a big order, World, but see what you can do … Please!

“He’s such a nice little fellow.”

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