A Letter to my Son on Wisdom

Dear Sweet Child,

From the moments before you were born I have longed to give you this, it is the culmination of all my mothering, the very inheritance of all that I could ever offer you. All the sleepless nights, self-sacrifice, kissed boo-boos and nursed needs, come down to this: wisdom. Let this be my greatest gift, my deepest offering, my only possession to embark from my heart unto yours, wisdom to be your kindred spirit, your bosom friend, your white-knuckled companion and your guide for every day of your life. 

They will say knowledge is power, but don’t be fooled sweet child, with contradiction those three simple words robbed us of our wisdom as we ate our fill on the world’s greatest lie; buying the information, acknowledging titles, numbers and status, living by the letters of the alphabet rearranged behind our names as if they could validate who we long to be and the place we try to find in the world. Be wise enough to not fall into this trap.

Wisdom is what we are after. And though I spend my days mothering and teaching you, truth be told, I don’t care about what you know; I care about who you are. I care about the depth of your character and the strength of your integrity. I care about where you’ve come from because it proves the journey you have come through, the fighter you are within, the tenancy of your conviction, even when all the odds were stacked against you. 

For even in the trials wisdom heeds the convictions of a character long refined through the flame of test and endurance. Wisdom invests in the ways of the ones gone before—knowing that introspection and understanding does not bloom overnight and is often passed down from ancient to ancient, generations going before.

And as you read these words, I pray that my life would reflect this wisdom in action. That even when I fall, may you witness in me each day a testimony to the words on this page. 

 For wisdom envelopes itself in integrity, knowing that the process is worth the journey and that there are no shortcuts on the road to success. What you do in secret will always be revealed in light. You can impress people from a distance but you can only truly impact them up close. 

Wisdom sees the big picture: who we are, where we are going and that in the journey of your life, it is always about “we”. Do not attempt to scale the mountains alone for you will never get to the destination you were born to achieve if there is no we; we are in this together. 

Wisdom is thoughtful in its words, deeds, actions. Wisdom knows the truth that the tiny tongue can do the greatest damage and lays down its sharp words and cutting looks to extend grace to embrace even the most forlorn of souls. There is virtue in keeping your mind before your words: slow to anger, slow to speak. Let your breath go out before you, for words can never be pulled back. 

And if you are to speak, speak life and love over yourself and others. As wisdom knows that true love must be poured out lavishly and selflessly with generosity beyond measure, because the only thing in this life worth investing is in the souls of people. Wisdom lives with hearts, arms and doors wide open for the art of hospitality is the art of showing others their value. 

And while we’re on the topic of value, do not settle for less than all that you were born to be. Do not be consumed with the theatrics or “fake it ‘til you make it” so much so that you are so busy pretending to be something else and you forget who you are. You are wonderful, worthy and more than enough exactly in your perfect imperfection. Your heart and your mind hold imprints of the divine and you are called to this exact moment of time for a reason. Do not allow fears or insecurities to cheapen that. 

You are so worth loving and wisdom knows in the deepest part of every soul, we must be not afraid to love. 

Be not afraid to open your heart to the things that are good, honest and true. Give yourself wholly over to the honorable service of worthy pursuits, the kind of steadfast dedication that makes you into a better human. Be not afraid to love until your soul bursts open; aching because it is giving everything that it has within it to give. Pouring, pouring, pouring ourselves out in love and servitude for through the act of loving and giving the very moments of our lives away, we find the richness of all that life is meant to offer. 

Build a life and make a living but know that behind each product is a person, behind each purchase is your time; we are not trading wealth for possession, we are trading our lives for things to fill our time. Do not be consumed with consumerism or trade your freedom to be a slave to such things, because if you do, you will enslave not only yourself but those who make the things that trap you. It is a vicious cycle, my child. There is wisdom in the minimalism of living with less to get to experience more. 

Find peace in your heart to know that all will not be well in this world, but work for the good of all, regardless. Bring the medicine of compassion to a hurting world and find the rays of sunshine even when the storm still rages abound; this is the hard yet necessary work that we must lean in to and never give up. 

For when you refuse to give in to the treachery of injustice, you will witness the victories in the every day and add to the beauty of a better story and a better world. Remember that the strength you have is meant to empower others and not to overpower, that every one is meant to have a seat at the table and your leadership is the servitude behind a noble stewardship of influence. 

I will not always be with you, dear child so heed my words and soak in this wisdom. There is only one life, your one wild precious life. Invest it in the things that matter most and never take a second of it for granted. 

With Conviction, Your Mama

Written By, Tara Teng