Letters to Michael

(a father's advice)

Every so often, I stop to wonder what your life will be like. With luck, I'll be around to see a lot of it, but there's always the chance that illness, accident, or violence will deprive you of my company. Any of those things could happen at any time.

One of my responsibilities is to guide you; to help you learn to choose the best alternative when you have to make a decision. Some of those aren't really choices at all; when it comes to doing what's right, you should know that choosing to do wrong isn't an option.

Then there's the matter of law; there are some choices you might make that are morally allowed, but are illegal. You know me; if I tried to tell you to just obey the law, because it's the law, you'd laugh. But you also know that I generally follow the government's laws, even when there's no moral reason to do so. That's not because I think they're well-made, but because the risk of getting caught breaking them is higher than the gain. (By the way, I suggest you read Robert Heinlein's book, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.)

So now we get to the hard part. You have a choice before you. You consult your conscience, and decide you're free to choose. The law is silent on the matter. What do you do? Sometimes, it's just not important what you decide; you can have rice with your dinner, or potatoes, and no one will either notice or care. But sometimes it does matter. Do you buy the newest book in that series you like, or wait a few weeks so you'll have a bit more in your checking account, in case there's an unexpected expense? (I think you already know my answer to that one!)

If it turns out that I can't be around to help you with your problems, maybe I can anticipate some of them, and make a few suggestions.

That's what this is for; it's a way for me to help out, even if I'm not there in person.