Be Here Then

why and how to write & create an ethical will, hospice card, or other legacy

An example of an ethical will

FROM A FATHER TO A YOUNG SON:

Dear Son

I hope to be around to see you grow up but should that prove to be impossible, this letter should serve to let you know the things I think you should know as you grow up and become a man. 

I have always valued family above all else.  Your dear mother’s family all live in this area, and since I had little family left, we made the decision to stay here.  Your mother and I have turned down job opportunities that would have moved us to other parts of the country.  When you are older, you may make different choices, but I hope you will always value your family.  In my view, that includes extended networks like cousins and older relatives but also your friends.

I have always valued honesty, integrity, and hard work.  In the end, I believe it is your good name that matters, and I think this is the only way to earn and keep one.  May your name always bring pride to the family.

The best day of my life, the very best one, was the day I met your mother.  The second best day of my life was the day your mother gave birth to you.  I was so scared!  I had no idea if I could handle being a father.  I still think I am learning it on the job, and worry,  am I doing a good enough job of it?  I want to, deeply, as I think being a father is the most important job I will ever have apart from being a husband to my wife.

A few other things I hope you will do:  Always respect women.  Take care of your sister.  Help those who have less than you do.  Help another guy along — be a good friend.  Vote.  Do not shirk jury duty.  Have a sense of humor especially about your own self.  Remember that no one is perfect and that no one will ever be perfect.

Just do the best you can each day.  Some days will be difficult for you, and in fact, some of them might be truly horrendous.  At those times I hope you will pull out this letter and remember how terribly much I love you and would do anything I could to help you.  My beloved son!  May you find comfort in your family and friends as I have.  May you find comfort in these words, and do the same for your sons and daughters if you are lucky enough to have them.  God bless you.  And happy birthday!

All my love to you,

Dad                                                                                                                                   1-1-2003

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