In his song “Letter to Me,” country singer and songwriter Brad Paisley writes his childhood self a letter, lending his advice based on his lived experiences.
Remember the Ethical Memoir you completed during the second week of this course? You were asked to explore the first time you remember resolving a dilemma in terms of right versus wrong. This week, as we wrap up the session, please revisit that assignment (week 2 instructions down below) You are now an adult speaking with the child you were, with the benefit of all of your hard-won wisdom between then and now.
In a short (one-to-two page), informal letter using your Week 1 Assignment’s childhood dilemma as a starting point, please tell the child you were what would’ve helped you then that you know now. Maybe it’s a lot. Maybe it’s not much at all. This is not a research-based essay, as you’ve already spent the past 7 weeks using philosophers and course concepts as support. This one is all you. Be the adult you wish you’d had on your side (or if all went well, maybe be like the one you did have on your side), and take your offering of advice about right and wrong as seriously as you would if you were offering it to an actual living child. It would be a good idea to consult the personal system of ethics you worked on for the discussion last week as you go, to make sure you haven’t missed anything from your own heart and mind that would help.
Week 2 assignment instructions
What is your first memory of resolving a dilemma specifically from the perspective of right versus wrong? This memory might be from your early childhood or even your teens. It might be something simple, such as whether to squash a bug, or something complex, such as whether to lie to cover up a colleague’s misdeed. What was your dilemma, and what was your solution? What influences in your life led you to that decision? Looking back on it now with perfect hindsight, would you change anything?
First, describe your dilemma. Provide the necessary contextual details so that people who don’t know you can understand. Use the reporter’s questions of when, where, who, what, and how to set the scene.
Explain the solutionhow did you resolve the conflict?
Reflect on one or more influences evident in your solution. In other words, why did you make this choice?
This is an exploratory paper and it should have a beginning, middle, and end created by your storytelling. Make this uniquely your storygive your reader a clear, detailed picture of your dilemma; a simple explanation of your solution; and a description of the influences that informed you.
The lyrics of the song are full of wisdom and insight, touching on everything from love and loss to career asp
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Don’t be afraid to take risks and follow your dreams, even if they seem daunting at first.
Cherish the people you love and don’t take them for granted.
Learn from your mistakes and use them as opportunities to grow and improve.
Be patient and persistent in pursuing your goals, and don’t give up in the face of setbacks.
Trust your instincts and stay true to yourself, even if it means going against the crowd.
Overall, “Letter to Me” is a powerful reminder that life is a journey full of ups and downs, and that each experience we have can teach us something valuable. By sharing his own hard-earned insights, Paisley encourages us all to reflect on our own lives and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.