First WYA Letter to Daniel

by Chris on July 19, 2009

Dear Daniel,

I would be writing this out rather than typing it, but I still find it too difficult to write much with my healing hand. I type much faster anyway, allowing my thoughts to flow more freely as I write.

Its 3:35am the morning that we’re getting ready to take you to Bremerton for day one of your two week challenge. I imagine you’re scared and excited, just like I was the day before I started basic training in the Air Force.

Like I said earlier, I’m so very, very proud of you for making this decision to join the WYA. When you’re done you’ll be more self-disciplined, nearly caught up in high school, in better shape mentally and physically. While you may actually grow while you’re there, you’ll definitely stand taller regardless, out of pride and excitement for what you will have accomplished.

I remember my first night and day in basic training. I was so scared, I literally wanted to jump the fence and run for it. All that kept me in my bed that second night was determination that you and Gayle were at home counting on me to succeed, not to mention that she was pregnant with Kaye and I needed the job and insurance to take care of my family. You have a lot to lose to if you don’t make it, such as the feeling of failure and truth that you will have to come home and take the 10th grade over again. Here’s the thing though. You CAN MAKE IT. I promise you with everything I am that, no matter how hard it feels today, two weeks from now it will feel easier. You’ll get used to the lifestyle and will eventually even sort of like it. When I left basic training and went on to USAF tech school, there were certain elements of my basic training experience I missed for years to come. Ask mom about how I used to try and get her to fold my t-shirts the way I learned in basic sometime lol. The dirty little secret about basic training is, that it’s more or less a game. Sure, you are there to get into a new schedule and routine, learn the rules, and become a soldier of sorts. But overall, you are there to prove you can take the harsh treatment, continue to stand tall, follow directions, and one day look back and laugh at what you once thought was impossible to do.

As it’s technically July 20th already, I read Proverbs 19 this morning, and the following verse jumped out at me, and I wanted to share it with you. Verse 20 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.” This seems very appropriate for you as you embark on the bravest and most challenging thing you have ever done. I love you and am proud of you. Listen, speak when spoken to, and do your very best at every challenge they throw at you. Keep reading our letters and writing us. I’ll send you a book now and then to read of my own choosing, and let me know if there is anything in particular you want to read as well. I don’t know how much time they give you for reading, so I’ll cut this one short for now. Like I said earlier, I love you and am very proud of you. I know you can do this or I never would have suggested that you try. Those who learn self-discipline enjoy a happy successful life, and those that do not, live on welfare and never finish anything they start.

Love,

Dad

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