Below is an excerpt from a letter to my son. His school is constructing a time capsule for the Kindergarten class that they will open before their high school graduation. Below is an excerpt of my letter to him:
I am writing this letter on June 5th, 2012; you are reading this letter in June 2024. I am sure that the topics and interests of today are a distant memory for many in your generation. The popular culture, music, style, and attitude, will undoubtedly look and feel different than it does right now. Additionally, I am certain that you are different from the person I currently know.
I am overwhelmed with emotions as I craft this letter; there are so many different things that I want to share with you about who you are and what is happening in 2012. I am writing this letter from my desk in New York City and you currently reside in Novi, MI. The literal distance between us takes roughly ten hours by car to cover; I know this route all too well because I have driven it multiple times, and will continue to drive it as long as you are in Novi. I drive a 2011 burgundy Honda Accord. I wonder what car you will ask to borrow when you become older. Hopefully, it won’t be the same car, but if it is, know that all the miles are from highway driving. Haha.
More importantly, I wonder about the man that you will be. Since your birth, I have professed to the universe that you will be an amazing man, writing and changing history with your talent and passion. Your name, Carter, aside from being the only name that your mother and I could agree on (I wanted to name you, Quentin, whereas she wanted to name you, Cole; we also had other choices), comes from Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Black History Month. So each time I call your name, I put into the universe my desire for you to make history.
Continually, my biggest wish for you is that you recognize the uniqueness of all that you encounter, from people to places. Be respectful and grateful for your experiences, both the ones that you bring you joy and the ones that you bring you hurt. You are not better than anyone else, regardless of your education, socio-economic status, privilege, etc. Conversely, no one is better than you. There will be people who try to belittle you and tell you otherwise, but they are wrong. I pray that you are able to find your passion at an early age and work on it until you master it; I pray that your passion provides service to others. Always remember Maya Angelou’s words, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Carter, you make me feel alive, filled with energy whenever I think of you, which is always. You make me feel special every time you call me, “Daddy.” More importantly, you make feel thankful that you were a special gift given to your mother and me; I still do not know what I did to deserve you.