A Note to my Son's headmaster

Last Updated : 21 August 2015, 09:26 IST

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What does a 21st century father wish for his child? A life of easy luxury, street-smart attitude and so much more. Chandrika R Krishnan offers a satirical take on Abraham Lincoln’s very famous letter to his son’s headmaster!

Dear Teacher,

My son would have learnt by now that all men are not just and all men are not true, courtesy the movies and the news. He would have learnt by now that there are fewer heroes than scoundrels; that selfish politicians far outscore dedicated leaders. So, teach him that a dollar earned is far less valuable than five found, for receiving things without much effort is smart work. Teach him never to lose, for losing is a sign of weakness, and in today’s rat race, it is better to win at all costs, even if winning means losing a few friends in the process. Teach him to be wary of enemies and friends alike, for it is better to keep the enemy happy, as there is no time to make and keep friends. If you can, do teach him the secret of quiet laughter, particularly at the thought of being better than others. Let him learn early that it is better to steer clear of bullies for they come with powerful daddies. It would, indeed, be a mistake to steer him away from jealousy, for the neighbour’s envy is what leads to the owner’s pride, and it is this envy that makes one strive to do better.

Teach him, if you must, the wonder of a book, though I am unable to see much value in the same – sitting in front of the television set or laptop is just as good. I don’t think it is wise to give him quiet time to ponder on the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and flowers on a green hillside, when it would be so much better to fill his time with tuitions, keyboard classes, guitar lessons and tennis practice. With iPods, Facebook and Twitter, it is nigh impossible to find time for such frivolous activities. Teach him to have faith in his own ideas because people seem to give in to the one who digs in his toes, even if he is wrong.

Please do not teach my son that it is far more honourable to fail than cheat. As a matter of fact, it is your duty to make sure that he clears all examinations, for that’s the reason why we send our child to school! It fairly tickled our funny bone the other day, when my son said that his achievements are due to the combined efforts of his classmates. Wonder where he gets such crazy ideas from! Please teach him to rely more on himself and not depend too much on mankind, for all of us have a personal agenda to fulfill on this earth.

Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders, and not worry too much about intricate matters like heart and soul. They don’t really serve much of a purpose, do they? Teach him to shy away from trouble and not become embroiled in any affairs that are not his. It’s best to mind one’s own business. It is wise to be gentle with tough people. It really does not matter how he handles the gentle souls, for toughness is the need of the hour.

Please don’t teach my son not to follow the crowd, for I believe that it is easier to do so rather than be termed a ‘nerd’ or be bullied for being different. Teach him not to worry about the ‘screen of truth’. It is, anyway, an out-dated concept, for twisting the truth – or lying, as some people call it – is no more considered an offence. Please instruct your staff not to make my son cry, for they will be answerable to me. And not to make much fuss over him scoffing at them… after all, he will be young only once, and it is all for fun.

Children will be children, you know. Please treat him gently, for he is my only child; we, too, treat him like porcelain at home. We do not believe that only a test of fire makes fine steel and hence, desist from correcting him too harshly, whatever be his childish misdemeanour. Studies have shown that it could affect the child psychologically, you see. I am sure this is not too big an order for you and your teachers. So, make sure that all of you follow the same, for he is such a fine fellow, my son!
Published 21 August 2015, 09:26 IST

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