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Judge’s Words of Wisdom from 1959 to Teens Goes Viral

by Mary

Yahoo posted this article today about Judge Phillip B. Gilliam of Denver and his letter to teens that was posted to the South Bend Tribune (now called Pierce County Tribune) on Sunday, Dec. 6, 1959, page 2.

The letter is below but you should read the this article. There is a really cool video talking about the letter as well as a link to the Pierce County Tribune article discussing the original letter that has set off the beginning of a viral trend on this letter.

Open letter to Teen-ager

Always we hear the plaintive cry of the teen-ager. What can we do?…Were can we go?
The answer is GO HOME!

Hang the storm windows, paint the woodwork. Rake the leaves, mow the lawn, shovel the walk. Wash the car, learn to cook, scrub some floors. Repair the sink, build a boat, get a job.

Help the minister, priest, or rabbi, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army. Visit the sick, assist the poor, study your lessons. And then when you are through – and not too tired – read a book.

Your parents do not owe you entertainment. Your city or village does not owe you recreational facilities.

The world does not owe you a living…You owe the world something.

You owe it your time and your energy and your talents so that no one will be at war or in poverty or sick or lonely again.

Grow up; quit being a crybaby. Get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone, and start acting like a man or a lady.

You’re supposed to be mature enough to accept some of the responsibility your parents have carried for years.

They have nursed, protected, helped, appealed, begged, excused, tolerated and denied themselves needed comforts so that you could have every benefit. This they have done gladly, for you are their dearest treasure.

But now, you have no right to expect them to bow to every whim and fancy just because selfish ego instead of common sense dominates your personality, thinking and request.

In Heaven’s name, grow up and go home!”

It’s a rather interesting advice that some people might consider good advice for today’s teens….. what do you think? Is the judge too harsh? Is his advice not relevant for today’s teens? Are there any parts of the judge’s advice that would be good to follow today?

5 Responses to “Judge’s Words of Wisdom from 1959 to Teens Goes Viral”

  1. KY says:

    OK, I agree with the majority of it except This – “they have done gladly, for you are their dearest treasure”. I, for one, know for sure not every parent has done it gladly, not every parent put the kid on top of all priorities.

  2. Andrew Cunningham says:

    I hold out hope that these words help someone. But I fear that they will fall on deaf ears…too bad they are words of a fine human being!!!

  3. Joyce says:

    LOVED IT!!! AS A TEEN IN 1959 DID ALL OF THE ABOVE..PARENTS WERE A BIT STRICTER AND..LOTS MORE WORK TO BE DONE AROUND HOME!!! WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A PRINTABLE COPY FOR THE TEENS OF 2012 IN MY LIFE…THX FOR SHARING THIS GREAT SPEECH…

  4. Mike says:

    True then, true now, true always.
    When children reach adolescence, they think they have reached intelligence and wisdom.
    When in fact they have only just become aware that these things exist. The teen years are like a long dark tunnel that ends when you become an adult. For some that takes longer or shorter.

  5. Anna says:

    I love this letter too. I wish more teens had read this when I was a teen!