MY own dearest son David, Your mother and I were pleased to see you all at the weekend and of course, especially to meet your beautiful twins; our delightful grandchildren.
There are some things a father cannot say to a son or, perhaps, simply that I cannot say to you. So I hope you will forgive me writing to you and I hope you will read this letter in the spirit in which it is intended.
As you approach 40 (and the only thing worse than approaching 40 is being the father of someone approaching 40), you have comfortably surpassed me in educational achievement, income and now progeny. You have, in so many ways, surpassed your mother’s and my most fervent hopes for you and we are proud of you.
But we have not always seen eye to eye and I hope you will allow me to offer one small piece of wisdom (prejudice?). I know your profession is more complicated than the usury of old but in the Eleventh Canto of Inferno, Dante reports Virgil as saying “usury offends Divine goodness” and that usurers languish in the third ditch of the seventh circle of Hell, surpassing murderers and tyrants (although the eighth and ninth circles hold some pretty curious fish!).
David, that is not quite my point. I understand my time is long since past and that we (well, you, your children) live in a competitive world. But I see the world you inhabit and I implore you not to bring your children up merely to compete and triumph – at others’ expense - but rather, to share, cooperate, sacrifice even.
I hope I have not overstepped the mark. This letter is offered with respect. We shall not speak of it again.
Your ever loving, if sometimes rather bemused, Father.
City Dad continues next Tuesday.