-Written by Lee Pitts in his 1995 book "People Who Live at the End of Dirt Roads", this piece was read by Paul Harvey on his nationally syndicated radio show, Paul Harvey News and Comment, and today is often inaccurately credited to Paul Harvey as the author.
We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I’d like better. I’d really like for them to know about hand-me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meatloaf sandwiches. I really would. My cherished grandson, I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. I hope you have a job by then.
It will be good if at least one time you can see a baby calf born and your old dog put to sleep. I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in. I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you let him. When you want to see a Disney movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him.
I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. On rainy days when you have to catch a ride I hope your driver doesn’t have to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncool as your mom. If you want a slingshot, I hope your dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.
I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use those newfangled computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head. I hope you get razzed by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what Ivory soap tastes like.
May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on the stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I hope you get sick when someone blows cigar smoke in your face. I don’t care if you try beer once, but I hope you don’t like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.
I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your grandpa and go fishing with your uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and the joy of holidays. I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through a neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster of Paris mold of your hand.
These things I wish for you – tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness.
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