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Michael Nevin Jr. - Contributor

Michael Nevin Jr. is a 3rd generation California law enforcement officer and freelance writer. Mike's writing explores many topics ranging from the War on Terror to issues facing America's police officers. Mike is a contributing writer for several Internet websites including ChronWatch, American Daily, Renew, and Men's News Daily. He can be contacted at [go to Nevin index]

Letter to a Newborn
A Father's Advice
[Michael Nevin Jr.] 7/16/04

Dear Jake,

Your mom and I welcomed you into this world with open arms. By your very birth, have fulfilled our dreams. Although, as a newborn, you are several years away from reading this letter, life moves quickly, and I wanted to share with you some famous words of wisdom mixed in with your old man’s advice.

Let’s start off with probably the most important lesson in life—wisdom begins with awe of God. Look out into the ocean or listen to the birds singing in your backyard, and there you will find Him. It is a common mistake for people of faith to shun public acknowledgment of their core beliefs. You don’t ever have to be ashamed of your Christian faith. This great country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. “In God We Trust” is still engrained on the coins in your piggy bank, and “God Bless America” is still the national favorite.

In fact, your great grandpa Ed summed it up quite nicely when he once told me, “There are two things that people never want to talk about—religion and politics. The two most important things in a man’s life: his relationship to his God, and his relationship to his fellow man. And we’re not going to talk about it? Now just how ridiculous is that?”

You come from good blood lines, and family will undoubtedly be a meaningful part of your life. I never spent a wasted moment with my grandparents and neither will you. You’re lucky to have caring and decent people ready to share every event that will come to pass. Your aunts, uncles, and cousins will share in your finest moments, as well. Along with your mom, these are the people to turn to when your dad is long on mouth and short on ears.

We’ll take you to many parades, but none will be more important than Veteran’s Day. All gave some, and some gave all for us to live free. From Bunker Hill to the beaches of Normandy, America’s bravest fought for and defended our freedoms. I expect you to honor and respect them.

Unless you can paint the corners of the strike zone with a 95 mph fastball or run the 40 yard dash in 4.5 seconds, education is the only ticket to success. Your best teachers will inspire and challenge you. Every subject in school is important, but I recommend a heavy dose of history. Confucius said, “Being fond of the truth, I am an admirer of antiquity.” Will Rogers best explained the learning curve in this way: “There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading, the few who learn by observation, the rest of them have to pee on an electric fence and find out for themselves.” Don't be one of the latter.

During recess in the play yard, stand up for the kid who bullies pick on. He’ll remember you when he becomes a big CEO, yes, but -- most of all -- it's the right thing to do. If anyone picks on you, remember the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Here’s a little secret—bullies really aren’t that tough, and they cry themselves to sleep.

Sports are not only fun but provide important lessons in teamwork, sportsmanship, and commitment. Passion for the game is passion for life, and you’ll feel that passion long after your last touchdown. Although losing may dampen your spirit, it will test your mettle. Since we’re talking about sports, I would be remiss not to mention a thought from the great John Wooden: “Reputation is what you are perceived to be. Character is what you are.”

I look forward to spending time with you at the ballpark. I can’t promise that I’ll catch a fly ball, but you can bet we’ll be at the game in time for the National Anthem. I hope that moment is on par with Barry Bonds at bat with the bases loaded.

When you see less fortunate people in need offer a hand up, not a hand out. Compassion cannot be measured by dollars and cents. America affords everyone equal opportunity to succeed or to fail. Nobody owes us anything; we owe it to ourselves to be the best that we can be. You may lack silver spoons, but you’ll always have enough love.

Sometimes we get too big for our own britches. We need to be reminded of yet another line from Will Rogers: “If you get to thinking you’re a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.”

Life is known to throw some curveballs and the ride will feel bumpy at times. Your mom and I will be there to lend a helping hand. Martin Luther King, Jr. explained, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Don’t be afraid to stand up for your beliefs in spite of the criticism that might come your way. Mark Twain said, “Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.”

One of Lee Ann Womack’s beautiful songs provides a final bit of advice: “Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance—I hope you dance.”

Love Always,


copyright 2004 Michael Nevin Jr.




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