November 21, 2008
By Thảo Nguyên Hoàng Thanh, Huế, ZZ

Dad, what will you and mom get me if I pass the entrance exam?
Hmm…a cell phone, isn’t it, my girl?
Just a cell phone, daddy? You see, my friends’ parents promised to buy them a motorbike, a laptop, a cell phone and a lot more if they passed the next exam. Why not me?
We can’t, don’t you understand?
No, I don’t, and I don’t want to either.

I quickly dashed into my room, slammed the door and broke into tears…

No sound was heard. No light was shining in my room. Everything was in stillness. Those feelings dominated me without easing. How about my dad? I did not care or even not spare a little thought in my mind to think about it…I slowly cried myself into sleep…

Waking up after a long sleep, I looked at myself in the mirror: My eyes were reddish and swollen. My nose was, in fact, no difference from the clowns at the circus. How awful it was! Suddenly, I found something on my desk then I moved steadily toward it, a little bit of curiosity and hesitation. It was a sealed white letter. No stamp, no address of to-and-from people were put in it. Surprised, it was of my father’s...

Nov 20, 2005
Dear daughter,
Now, it seems that you are not calm enough to have any direct discussion with me. I understand what you are thinking as well as what you want. I have been your father for 18 years and your teacher for 5 years. That is not taken into account being your consultant of experience for 18 full years. I know of your learning ability and I am proud of it. I am pleased with the way you behave in our family. To tell the truth, your behavior today has made me lost my belief in you. Do you know, what actually, makes me feel happy during the time as a teacher in my life? Yes, it is to be your teacher, my dear daughter.
Teaching, to some extent, is not the same as other careers. The scramble for positions and privileges is not a goal for teaching unlike the other professions. Teacher, in essence, is a precious and sacred duty of every teacher, including us, your father and your mom, a non-regular-staff teacher. It is simply wrong to believe that money is not essential for everyone to exist. Nonetheless, in some ways, we find it unnecessary to have a life, dependent on money or a must to have material satisfaction. How much satisfaction is enough? Just my two cents, but I feel that we’d be better off living to our heart’s content rather than having a need for such “expensive and luxurious” things. Do what you want and strive for it. I have a desire to be a teacher when I was seven. Also, I have continuously spent fifteen years to put my heart and soul into pursuing and attaining it. Now I am spending the rest of my life with it. Teaching may not be able to bring more income for the family, as compared to other professions. Maybe I’m selfish but nonetheless, seeing you, grown up to be the fine girl that you are now, I have never regretted the path that I have chosen, to be a teacher.
Even a teacher learns from himself. It teaches me how to change myself first if I want to change others. However, I feel like a failure when I realized that I haven’t been able to change you. Having knowledge is one thing but being able to pass it to others is another kettle of fish. Should I attend another teaching class? I had excellent students and slightly poorer ones. I failed to educate some students at times, but, as I said, failure is part of life. It is, maybe, just the impulse gestures of youth. People will not be staying at one place for all the time; thus, they should and must change to perfect themselves. How about you?
By the way, do you know what day is today? It’s my birthday, isn’t it? Certainly not, but to me, this is my second birthday. Many people considered Teacher’s day as a very important and holy day to show their respect and gratefulness to teachers. Many students of mine have, on this day, not mind travelling more than 1000 kilometers just to visit me. That is the most sincere respect from the bottom of their heart, my dear daughter! They have inspired me to keep on improving myself and doing well on my journey. My birthday would be complete, if you could be able to show more maturity in your actions. I always thought of you as a daughter with matured thinking because now, you are a real woman. What should a real woman do, my dear?
I shared these thoughts without expecting anything from you -- an apology, an explanation, no; it’s not important or necessary. The most important is how you will conduct yourself in the future. Do what you should do, realize the dreams that you want, finish all the things that we parents haven’t yet finished. You can do that!
From: Your dad!

I am not sure that I can express my feelings in words…but to be sure, I have known what to do for now! My tears continue to flow as it drenched my letter.

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