Happy Birthday, Dad!

From Austin

I can’t express how proud I am to have you as a father. For your birthday card, I could write about the obvious, how hard you have fought this year to return to a normal life, but I won’t. Instead, I want to remind you of a smaller incident that I’m not sure you remember, when I didn’t get the Robertson scholarship and you drove to where I was to comfort me. That night three years ago, you taught me a couple of things.

First you taught me that life is a series of many, and not just one obstacle. Yes, some obstacles may be so big that in dealing with them, we forget, momentarily, about the others. We start to think that, if I can just move past this one mountain, life will be easy from here on out. But those who do that lose sight of the bigger picture. You taught me to fight with persistence, but without forgetting that it’s just part of a process. Life is a long road, and being defeated by just one hump in the road is no way to sustainably succeed.

Second, you taught me that success isn’t the same as growth. People can win awards and climb to new highs, but that doesn’t mean that they are maturing as a person. Yes, I failed, but I shoudn’t shove that failure into the past, but learn from it. By encouraging me to stay in touch with the Robertson staff members to continually ask for their mentorship and advice on how to improve, you taught me that failure is no shame; it’s just a learning experience that will mold me and better equip me for similar challenges in the future.

Finally, you taught me what good parenting looks like. I have known friends with parents who are not half as gracious, who are not half as good at accepting when their child cannot accomplish something. But are their children better for it? No; all that they have learned is to fear their parents, and fear is never as good a motivator as respect. And that word exactly encapsulates what I felt that night: respect for how you so graciously accepted that I couldn’t grab something that would have saved you hundreds of thousands in college expenses. You taught me that a good father doesn’t make getting the prize as the ultimate objective, but rather the act of learning from the process, irrespective of victory or failure. You taught me that a good father senses when his son is weak, and figures out a way to build on that weakness instead of adding to it. You taught me that a good father understands the big picture, and knows how to integrate even failure into a longterm lesson plan on how to build a child into a man.

I learned a lot from you that night, and I came to understand and appreciate the sort of drive that must have built you into the father that I know today. I thank you for your many lessons, and have carried them with me always, through the toughest points of college. Happy Birthday, dad, and I hope this year is filled with the prosperity and good health that you deserve.

Your son,


注:配图是朋友创意,美味cheese cake!

Feedback from the dad:

A birthday note from my son -Austin. Nothing can make a dad happier than seeing my boy growing into a young man, a young man with kind heart, sound judgement, positive attitude towards challenges in life and persistence to achieve his own goals in lifetime. I love you, Austin, my big boy! (All credits are directed to his mother!)


I’m in tears!His father is a role model in teaching his son about learning from failures and building on obstacles instead of adding to weaknesses. 



Made me cry! 转发给我老公了。让他也开开眼。

wow, 我知晓背后的故事, 太感动了, 一开始,就感动, 太棒了!



I always love Austin’s writing, and this is no exception. Kudos to you and your husband for raising such a thoughtful and articulate son! You must be so proud!

儿子太懂事了。like father like son.

Nice article! Well written, touching and loving!


What a wonderful birthday gift!  Austin is so sweet!  You and Henry must be so proud!


I read thoroughly & feel real warm. Nothing is better than having spiritual communication with your child, the feeling of a beloved family. Congratulations! Blessings be with your family, now & forever! ❤️

What a precious gift!! 感动


感动!好儿子好爸爸的典範!Two great men! Proud family! “All credits are directed to his mother.” 


Austin is so sweet and mature! I have always enjoyed his writing。有这样的儿子好贴心! 你俩是智慧父母。

Austin 的信太暖心了,像三月的阳光☀️


Thank you for sharing this letter of wisdom and emotion. I can feel so obviously his deep love and respect to his father.




Credits to his mom+1

Like the last sentence : “(All credits are directed to his mother!)”


Great parenting