Hey Nathanael Guinn (my grandson)

You are not Jewish or you would have been bar-mitzva-ed. Other cultures and religions have similar practices for declaring that now a boy has become a man. Nathanael, you have a man within you waiting to get out. Jumping out suddenly only applies to monsters and aliens 🙂

This step, the step of learning a marketable skill to earn your own livelihood is a great and fearful one. It is different.

I was a bit scared when I went into high school because I went from a 6 room school in the little village of Sharbot Lake, Ontario to the much larger town of Niagara (known as Niagara-on-the-Lake to help distinguish it from Niagara Falls; people were confusing the two and sending letters to the wrong places).

The school had about 500 teens, whereas our school had half a room full of grade 8’s, the other half were grade 7’s. Maybe up to 15 or 16 grade 8’s!

Now I entered a 2 floor school with massive hallways so wide a small car could drive from one end to the other. (not recommended!). And I did not know anyone! I knew one guy a bit because he was slightly talkative but that was not really a friend or companion. I survived. In fact I went from there to Teacher’s College and not only survived but flourished, after a while. I loved teaching, except for marking tests all night and doing report cards 3 or more times a year, necessary but evil, at least it felt that way.

So you are embarking  upon a new journey. You are not a child; but you are not fully an adult. Here is where you will become an adult. How? By being perfect? No way José! By making mistakes and figuring how to correct them, by doing your best whenever you have time to do your best, as close to always as possible without setting down an 11th commandment.

By realizing that others are just like you but not really. They are like you in the fact that whatever they seem to be, they are not really yet. It’s just a time of finding your place and letting the man in you come out gradually.

The Poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling expresses it best.

#17 on top 500 poets

Poems by Rudyard Kipling

If – Poem by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

And none of we men can do all that all at once. But gradually all of us including your grandfather Pedley, me, is learning to become a man!

You will be a great one!

Charles G. Pedley