Third Letter to My Son

Third Letter to My Son
by Ridgely Goldsborough

Dear Linus,

Wow! What a year it has been. If last year brought us hurricane Ivan who took our homes away, this year hailed Katrina. It will be hard for you to imagine 15 years from now when you read this letter that all of New Orleans was evacuated and shut down completely for a month. Today, 90 days after the devastation, only 30% of the city has re-opened. I imagine that the very concept will seem surreal. For many displaced residents, it most definitely is.

So many firsts for you this year—all of which make me proud. The training wheels came off your bicycle. You scored your first touchdown on a big field. You joined your first official team, the Red Barons, a six and under soccer league. I remember the first few matches as you ran the wrong way down the field, sat on the ground, complained about the heat, collided with team-mates, all a learning.

Then came the game—the last one of the season. Somehow you determined that you would only get a trophy if you won. Single-handedly you made victory your mission, flying to the ball, blocking shots, tackling opponents. You scored two goals yourself and held them to a shut out. Proudly, you held the trophy, undoubtedly the first of many. You took it everywhere, showed it to everyone, all the way to Thanksgiving in Kansas City where your soccer-playing cousins celebrated with you.

Despite your feigned aversion to school, you read and write and I observe tremendous progress. You have a gift for observation and a memory for details that astounds me. I wonder what it will lead to.

For my part, a month ago I launched Modest To Millions, my greatest work to date, a study of the principles of success that I will convey to you over the years. I pray it will have a powerful impact on the world. I know it will deeply touch you.

The biggest lesson so far has been the influence of the imprint left by parents on their children—an imprint that led to greatness—an imprint that I now offer you. Every morning and each evening we spend together we talk, as you lay your head on my shoulder and snuggle:
“Who’s the champion?” I ask you.
“Me,” you answer.
“Who’s the smartest?”
“Who’s the most talented?”
“Who’s the most creative?” and so on.
Each time your reply is the same and it makes me proud.

When I question what you can do, you assert yourself immediately:
“Anything I want Dad.”

And you are right—because you can do anything you want, if you develop the strength to pay the price, the belief in yourself to take a risk on you and the discipline to cross the finish line regardless of obstacles along the way.

I will help you build belief.
I will show you discipline.
Together we strengthen each other.

Again and again I will ask you to declare your belief, out loud and with conviction, to hear it from your own mouth, etch it into your core and bury it inside your heart.

I will state it just as loudly:
“You are a champion. You can do anything. Do it. Go for it. Fight for what you want and believe in.”

I will also share with you my most precious inner thought and the obvious theme of this letter:
“Son, you make me so proud.”

With all my love,

That’s A View from the Ridge . . .

POSTSCRIPT: Each year I write this letter and one to my daughter. To all you Moms and Dads, I urge you to do the same—what a book of golden memories you will create. Warmly, Ridgely

Author Ridgely Goldsborough publishes The Daily Column; humorous and inspirational stories designed to touch our hearts. Please take a moment to subscribe at no charge at