This morning I got an e-mail from my dad. This wasn’t really the surprise. It was more about the content that got me thinking. Normally our e-mails are quick updates or confirmations on plans that we have coming up. What was different about today was that I got great fatherly advice. He was to the point and honest with what was on his mind. At the end of it, he reminded me about a prayer General Douglas A. MacArthur wrote to his son. My dad has held this close to him ever since I can remember. As I read it again and again, my thoughts drifted to my own kids. This prayer has taken on an all new meaning to me. It’s something that I need to share with them to let them know just how proud I am of them.
To my own father, I say “Thank you. Love you pop.”
A Father’s Prayer by General Douglas MacArthur (May 1952)
Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
Then, I, his father, will dare to whisper, have not lived in vain.