09/16/2014 11:45 am ET Updated Nov 16, 2014

I'm Not Here to Make Life Easy for You: A Love Letter to My Future Children

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Dear Children,

I used to think that if I work hard right now, I could make life easy for you. But now I know I shouldn't do that.

I finally understand that I'm not here to make life easy for you. Hopefully, you're reading this at a time where you're thanking me for coming to this conclusion.

I'm writing to you from before your time, right when your mother and I got married, in fact. We're currently living in a simple third floor apartment in the heart of our graduate school campus. The North Shore area of Massachusetts is wonderfully amazing this time of year. Maybe we'll take you there some day.

But as we're enjoying this new season, life is also hard.

Every morning, I wake up before the sun to write words on a page. I hope these words will one day save us from a life of financial worry and the burden of living in someone else's vision. I hope that these words will make us successful and that they can someday send you to college.

So I wake up and write, face discouragement, and keep trudging through failure to arrive at the wonderful hope of an easier life for you.

But one morning, I had a dream that your mother was pregnant with you. I was scared when I woke up. I thought, I'm not ready yet. I'm not successful yet. If they're born now, life will be hard for them.

I don't want that. Many parents don't want that for their children.

But after thinking about it for a while, I realized that I shouldn't want your life to be easy.

In fact, I don't want my writing to make your life easy. I want my writing to make your life beautiful.

Parents say they want the best for their children, but sometimes, I think the way they go about that is silly. They don't let their children fight their own battles. They don't let them come to realizations or form their own understanding of the world. Instead of giving them a healthy foundation, they construct a world for them that's doomed to crumble.

I don't want to be like that. I don't think any parent should be like that.

I do want what's best for you, don't mistake that. But hiding you from the reality of hard work isn't what's best for you.

Here's a truth you'll learn about life early on: it's not easy.

One day you'll discover that life is not like math. It won't provide you a solution if you line the equation up right. There are too many variables you can never solve for, too many unknowns that can't be explained in a formula.

But I'm imagining this truth might be harder to come across in your day.

I imagine that by your time, Apple will run everything. Right now, we're awaiting the release of the iPhone 6, but by your time, you'll probably have an iPhone 17 hovering by your side and reading your mind 24/7. Maybe you have iCars, iDesks and even iUnderwear to make everything easy for you.

Yet, I'm not here to do that.

The truth is, life is hard, and I would be a horrible parent if I shielded you from that.

Though life may be hard, the point is to never run from the difficult things. The point is to work your best at them, so that one day, they might turn into something beautiful.

You see, work is often a prerequisite for great beauty. Every laugh involves a heave of the chest. Every deep, fulfilling breath moves the diaphragm. Every smile requires the movement of muscles and every glance above requires your neck to fold behind you. Every beautiful thing requires work.

Many parents or soon-to-be parents forget this truth. They strive for success because they want the best for their children.

But maybe the best thing I could do for you is enable you (with my example) to work hard in life so that beauty may follow.

Much of the allure that comes with success is not looking around at your riches, but looking back to see how you got there. It is my hope that with whatever success you achieve in life, you may look back and relish in the example of your father, someone who taught you to work hard with the mess rather than run from it.

So, I will continue giving my work my best because the sort of life I want for you is one that experiences beauty, not one where luxuries are handed to you on a silver plate.

I now see that the best life is the one that you've worked hard to achieve.

This is the complicated, shadowy side to beauty. Sometimes, we believe we deserve better, that life should be something different. Yet, the relationship between hard work and beauty has remained unwavering throughout the centuries; I would be a fool to try to test it now. And I would be a fool to deprive you of coming to this revelation yourself.

So again I say: I don't want your life to be easy. I want it to be beautiful.

When you look at me, I hope you see this man's hard work as an example to inspire your life.


Your father who loves you

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