Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to His Son’s Teacher

Update: So it isn’t really by old Honest Abe. Still pretty cool.

Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to His Son’s Teacher 

A Letter to My Son’s Teacher 

He will have to learn, I know,
that all men are not just,
all men are not true.
But teach him also that
for every scoundrel there is a hero;
that for every selfish Politician,
there is a dedicated leader…
Teach him for every enemy there is a

Steer him away from envy,
if you can,
teach him the secret of
quiet laughter.

Let him learn early that
the bullies are the easiest to lick… Teach him, if you can,
the wonder of books…
But also give him quiet time
to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky,
bees in the sun,
and the flowers on a green hillside.

In the school teach him
it is far more honourable to fail
than to cheat…
Teach him to have faith
in his own ideas,
even if everyone tells him
they are wrong…
Teach him to be gentle
with gentle people,
and tough with the tough.

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

Teach him if you can,
how to laugh when he is sad…
Teach him there is no shame in tears,
Teach him to scoff at cynics
and to beware of too much sweetness…
Teach him to sell his brawn
and brain to the highest bidders
but never to put a price-tag
on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears
to a howling mob
and to stand and fight
if he thinks he’s right.
Treat him gently,
but do not cuddle him,
because only the test
of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage
to be impatient…
let him have the patience to be brave.
Teach him always
to have sublime faith in himself,
because then he will have
sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order,
but see what you can do…
He is such a fine fellow,
my son!


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About Sean Hampton-Cole

Fascinated by thinking & why it goes wrong➫ (Un)teacher ➫iPadologist ➫Humanist ➫Stirrer ➫Edupunk ➫Synthesist ➫Introvert ➫Blogger ➫Null Hypothesist.
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12 Responses to Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to His Son’s Teacher

  1. Imran Khan says:

    I desperately want an answer. Does this letter really belong to Lincoln? Did HE write it? Is it literal or just literary? Is it symbolic or didactic? Please take me out from this confusion….

  2. kurtronn says:

    Nice letter, but not written by President Lincoln.

  3. schubert kimbi says:

    great mind, greater words,deeper meaning

  4. Matthew M. Yunana says:

    “…More honorable to fail, than to cheat”!… What an indictment to our shameless generation of all sorts of exam mal-practices

  5. Alagbe Eyinade says:

    It takes Deep to go deep

  6. dhanoop says:

    must read…..

  7. thank you sir abraham. parents ought to have your thoughts.this wil wipe out uncivic behaviour of our children and educate some teacher to better their honourable profession.

  8. Simeon Abraham Attah Okirie says:

    This piece brings teacher and parent, teaching and parenting face 2 face, at a moment of truth… You know what children are.

  9. Jarron says:

    May all parents wish this for their children…and all teachers the fortitude to follow through as much as possible.

  10. Eke Victor Chiemerie says:

    just good.

  11. Adeleye ola olu says:

    Food for thought

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