My dear little nephews,
I write to you today not because I expect you to read or appreciate this letter right away. Consider this as my message in a bottle for the four of you. You will find this message when you already learned how to read, of course, and when you can already truly understand the meaning of each line. In fact, you will read this again and again at different points in your life, and you will find new meaning each time. And I will be hopeful again and again that each time you take this message out of the bottle, you will find something refreshing like a sweet new discovery.
I am writing this letter today while I am still enamored with you, sweet boys. I doubt if I can write something like this when you are already in your awkward teens and I appear to be grumpy and preachy to you four. Also, I doubly doubt if this bugging thought these days will ever hover again: When shall an aunt gift her nephews with some words of wisdom?
Now that one of you turned seven, this question has been hovering over me. But do not worry little dear boys because I am bothered in a most pleasant manner. I am bothered but with loving thoughts and eternal hope that this letter should come in handy when unexpected by you like a money found in a pocket of an unused jeans, and at the same time, with bugging worry that these will just mean nothing because these were sent out too early like a dessert served first before the main dish.
But then my loving thoughts and eternal hope won so that I decided to pen the "gifts" down for you as early as this time while my tender love for you is still as fresh as the scent of your sweaty armpits and as crisp as your newly bought diapers.
First of all, I must tell you to always remember that what you put in your body is what you feed your soul. Treat your body with dignity. And let me add to this reminder, as if you will be reading this only for the first time, and only here: "Health is a sure wealth."
Pray but let no religion divide you. Remember that if you were born in a different continent or era, you may most likely have a different religion. But then if that is so, I can surely tell, that you do pray. Our spirituality is already connected with the mystery of our birth and death and dates back before we even name it religion.
Take care of yourself by taking care of your environment. The earth is growing old and weary and greening it will always be a good cause. Travel when needed but let it not be for the sake of spending time, let it always be a learning experience. Contribute something to the world to justify your carbon footprint.
How you treat women is a sign of a good man. Do not play with the feelings of other people, especially the girls. Blush everyday but love when you are ready. You will not often hear this but I warn you that women will come to you but that does not mean you will come to them in return. Treat relationship with responsibility. Treat everyone with responsibility. Do not mess with the messy lives of other people, especially, women. We live in an action-and-interaction world, and I am sure you know what is karma by now.
Treat everyone as human beings regardless of their gender, race or religion. Believe in man's generosity, kindness and capacity to love. Without such belief, the world is dead a long time ago.
Thank God by doing no harm to others. Judge others not according to what they say but as to how they treat strangers. Remember, what you would do without any one looking at you is your character. Guard your mouth and make sure that whatever comes out of it is worth freeing.
Sing, read, play, create and enjoy life in a productive way. Have a passion aside from work. Do something to learn, not just to pass the time away.
Serve others. Help others but never burden your own shoulders. You will know that it is no longer helping when it becomes a burden and you stopped being happy about it.
Accept help, ask for help. The world is ready to embrace you, if you are ready to let them.
Spend some and keep some. This is true both in love and money. You should love but remember to accept and love your self first. Remember, my dear ones, your relationship with your self is the only relationship you will never ever lose. As for money, leave some in your piggy bank.
Get education. Education will lead you to do something useful in your community. But do not forget that your hands are useful. An industrious hand will always fill the stomach.
Do not hurry to grow up. Get most of the great moments with your family. As these will surely pass and become great memories.
Smile to strangers. Say thank you. Make friends and influence them.
Fortune is good but we need purpose. Love your work and find purpose in it. Work ethics is important and no mundane excuses for it. Know what you want and do something about it. Work hard for it.
For sure fix: Sleep now and worry tomorrow. (Strictly perform them in that order.)
Your parents are heroes-at-your-service when you were still small, and don't forget this when you are 21. Be away but don't stay away from them.
Learn to survive. Learn to cook, clean your house, wash the dishes and especially your underwear. No civilization ever existed without these skills. Even if you are the best painter or the best debater, if you have not learned how to go around these handiworks, you have not truly lived. And gender is not an excuse to this one, my dear little boys.
Marry for the right reason and with blessings from your parents. Fidelity and respect are marks of a good husband. Be a good father by embracing fatherhood, not patriarchy.
Remember that the dynamics of being a husband and being a father are two different things. Treat your wife as a partner with equal rights while work for your children until they can manage on their own. You cannot clip their wings without losing their soul.
Be involved with your family, friends and the world but keep a room for inner meditation. Balance is the key in life, not perfection.
If things do not work out the way as you planned them, do not worry. You may ask why right away but will find no answer, but then along the way (after you even forgot you ever asked), you will understand why. The profound answer will reveal itself to you when you need it most.
One more thing, parents are not perfect. They are trying to be good in their roles so that means, you have to try to do good in your own.
And remember, I am not perfect too. Nobody is. But I am just gifted with discernment. That is why I am throwing away this message inside a bottle towards the oceans of uncertainty with some sense of certainty that you will find it and open it. Someday.
P.S. For the nephews and nieces to come, I reserve my right to write more!