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Letters from an Ancient Mind

My dear young friend,

So, your bride is to present you with child! My heartiest congratulations; welcome to manhood.

You will permit me, I am sure, to indulge you with some advice from an old man. I shall not tell you how to raise your child, as you know not if it be boy or girl. But may I place in your mind the value of your parents, and your wife’s parents?

A child’s life is not a secure one. Think what it must be, surrounded by people much larger than yourself, all with strong opinions and some with the quite evident desire to enforce them upon you. In such a time a child must crave a sense of position. The sense that one belongs to an orderly society, fitting in one’s proper place, is of great worth.

The child’s grandparents help provide that, for in them the child can see the continuing of the generations. If my father knows his place, then I can be sure of mine.

Now, I will grant you it is my privilege to go somewhat beyond the bounds of parental restriction in dealing with my grandchildren. This keeps my sons ever aware that I am still their father – and delights me no end too. But I think I have not utterly ruined the little ones.

What a joy such children are! To be free from the responsibility of their daily bread and yet privileged to enjoy their company is indeed pleasant. One grandson – he is but four – takes great pleasure in grasping my hand and dragging me down by the brook. There he carefully points out the various fishes and frogs and insects, with an air that would credit a philosopher. Having instructed his ignorant grandfather in the ways of the world, he races home. There he proudly informs his mother of his adventure. The smile alone is worth the journey.

So I encourage you; share your child with your parents. No doubt they endured you as well. Ponder your own childhood and recall such pleasures yourself, and do not deny them to your child.

Again, my congratulations,

Isaac the Alchemist

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