August 15, 2006 > Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor
I started a short letter to my boy before he was born and just picked it up again recently and finished it. Carl is now 2 and a half. I am going to put it aside for him to read when he is older, but I thought other readers might like it and get inspiration to write something for their kids.
Letter to my son Carl David Ri Sullivan born 1/12/2004.
As I write this letter I can feel you kicking your mother. I wonder what to say to you when you are old enough to ask the important questions, "What am I? Where do I come from? What should I do with my life?"
My first answers might not satisfy you; you are first a human second an American and you should do what makes you happy. These answers are true, but most men must find and understand their roots before that first answer is clear as the true one.
Your roots are from two peoples. Your mother is a Filipina, beautiful, quite and kind. While I, your father, am Irish, tall, loud and quick tempered. Both of your ancestral lines have long histories filled with oppression, betrayal, and tears as well as heroes, survival and inspiration which intertwined here in California. You will have many books to read and places to visit before you will have a true appreciation for these histories.
Both people are known for traits or stereotypes both good and bad. I will do my best to instill the better set of traits in you. No one is perfect and temptations are everywhere, but I hope with love and guidance you will live a long and happy life as a human American man of Iripino and not Filish decent. Iripino being the combination of the good set of traits from your Filipino and Irish ancestries while the Filish live down to the bad stereotypes of both people. The Iripino turns a light golden brown in the sun while a Filish will burn bright red and then darken even in the shade.
The set of traits needed to be Iripino and not Filish are: be a poet or a bard, not a drunk or free loader; a good host always ready with Kain'na, and not a gambler. Let your Irish side be quick to make friends and your Filipino side slow to anger. Avoid the violent temper of the Gael and the wandering affection of the Pinoy. The cleverness of the Celt and the resourcefulness of the PI will lead you to successes. Enjoy the love of song which both sides share. Avoid the blind faith in one religion and the automatic deference to your elders, which both sides have suffered for so long.
You have many good traits in your ancestry and of course you have the free will to adopt some and ignore others and make new ones of your own. After all this advice my son I wish you only to try your best to be just in your beliefs, kind and fair in your actions, and do only that which you believe to be right. All any one may do in life is choose the path that they believe to be right.
Your Mother and I will always love you and help guide you as for as long as we are able. Erin go Braugh!
Dr. Dan Sullivan