Book: Letters to My Children by Russell Bittnercategories: Book, Divorce, Non-Custodial Parent, Family, Separation, Raising Children, Childhood Development
Russell Bittnerabout this book: The title of this book, this collection of letters spanning 21 years, says exactly what it is. This is a work of non-fiction, even if its author is both a published poet and a published fiction writer.
What is the particular conceit of this work of non-fiction? Stated quite simply, that it can provide a working model for young parents or parents-to-be whose legacy and heirloom to their own children might also one day find its truest treasure in words.
I never intended these letters for publication. That wasn't the reason I undertook this "project" starting the eve of November 25, 1991 and finishing a few weeks ago with an Epilogue spanning the summer of 2012. It just happened that way -- and with the consent of my two children -- out of necessity.
Do I think MY letters to MY children will be of any real value to OTHER parents of THEIR children? Only as a model.
I believe I have a certain facility with the written word. But I don't believe for an instant that any kind of facility with the written word is a requirement for a father who truly wishes to communicate his thoughts, his wishes and his dreams for his children. (The same can of course be said for the mother of those same children; simply substitute "her" for "his.")
The quest in this compendium of letters was for truth; the journey, a long and candid -- often painful -- one. But however truthful, long, candid and painful that journey may've been, the reward was in the discovery: namely, that one's children are ultimately the happiness or sorrow we bequeath to the planet and to our species after our own clocks have stopped or lost their hands. With luck, circumstance, diligence and care, we leave the world a slightly more habitable, clean and pleasant place by their and our example.
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