A Instruction Manual for Life

Earlier this week a friend sent me a link to a New York Times article about First Sgt. Charles Monroe King, who wrote a 200-page journal for his infant son, in case he didn't make it back from Iraq. He began the journal before he left, which was before the baby was born. He continued to write while he was over there, and finished it while he was home on leave last summer, getting acquainted with five-month-old Jordan.

That finished story must serve as a father-in-absentia for Jordan. Sgt. Monroe died in the service of his country Oct. 14 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his armored vehicle in Baghdad.

Reading the journal excerpts in the article brought tears to my eyes. This father wrote an “Instruction Manual for Life” to guide his son. It amounted to a form of insurance — insurance that his beliefs and values would be transmitted to the son he loved so much and died to protect. His son will draw the dividends from that investment for the rest of his life.

I've been searching for words to pay proper homage to the legacy Sgt. Monroe left for his son, which could serve as a model for all of us, but the best I can do is to urge you to read the article for yourself. Hopefully you'll be inspired to honor the idea by writing something for your own children or grandchildren expounding your beliefs and values. It doesn't have to be 200 pages long. Even a couple will do.

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal

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