It happened a few days ago. The arrival of the fifth child to my daughter-in-law, Wendi, and my son, Randy. His name is Jack Randall, and he came into the world kicking and screaming at a healthy 7 pounds and 1 ounce. I've written publisher's letters before each time a new grandchild was born. First was Charles Scott, then Theodore Joseph, followed by Matthew Thomas and then Emma Katherine. Time goes by like the wind. The clock keeps ticking and ticking and suddenly you wonder where you were when this all happened. What a blessing, and what excitement.
Jack Randall, you couldn't have been born at a better time. It's less than two years until the turn of the century, and there's so much going on that it's hard to keep up. Of course there are the doom-and-gloomers warning of the perils that await us in the new millennium, but I've learned that the best thing to do is tune these people out. The important point is that you have been born a citizen of the greatest country in the world, a nation that still serves as a beacon for liberty and justice for all. Being a citizen of the United States makes you lucky beyond imagination. It means you are free to be just about anything you want to be if you are willing to give it your best shot. If you want something badly enough you can get it, but it will take sacrifice and hard work. Opportunity is everywhere, but you'll have to pursue it.
Attitude is so important. Don't be a gloomy person always seeing the negative in every situation. There are too many of those people. They don't see the sunny side of anything. Furthermore, they don't seem to have any respect for anybody, including themselves. Respect everything and everybody and be a winner. Yes, there will be a lot of injustices in life, but rolling with the punches and overcoming setbacks are what make life so much fun. But that takes character and fortitude. Character is especially important, because you will be judged time and again by things like whether you keep your word and how you treat others. People will watch to see how you behave under pressure and how you interact with your peers. Some will try to take the easy way out by cheating their way through life, but they'll end up only cheating themselves.
Then there's love and tenderness. My mother taught me the meaning of affection and the power of hugs and kisses. Don't be a miser when it comes to these things. I am absolutely convinced affection is critically important to all of us, and without it we become empty shells. Be loving and caring with your parents, siblings and friends. Stay away from being selfish and self-centered. There's too much of that already. Learn to get along with others. Respect their needs and heritage. Don't ever put others down. If someone hasn't been as lucky as you, always be willing to offer a helping hand. It will give you a feeling like nothing you've experienced before.
Finally, Jack, I'll love you forever, and I'll always be available to help. You can count on it. Respect your parents and your brothers and sister. Never let them down. Family, honor, character and integrity are only words, but they're what life is all about. That's what I wish for you in abundance, my beloved grandson.
Love and kisses,