An employee of Glenn's provided him a letter from February 25, 1918 that was written to his grandfather, Henry. The letter came from a colleague of Henry's father, Charles Rose. Glenn was so moved by the letter he felt the need to read it on-air and share it's message with the audience.
"As I read this, I think to myself, my gosh, does this even happen anymore?" Glenn said.
Charles takes the opportunity to write to Henry about marriage, friends, life, family, and respect; providing advice from an older man's perspective. Charles points out one of Henry's vice's being "selfishness," providing an example of a time Henry berated his father for a phone call his father made out of love and pride. Charles writes, "I truly felt sorry for your father, for I could see it hurt him. I felt more sorry for you, that you should have been so unmindful of his feelings as to talk to him in this manner before anyone...I know it was not through unkindness, on your part, but unthinking, selfishness, and egotism."
Towards the end of the letter Charles imparts some final wisdom on young Henry, saying, "Live a good, clean, honest, and virtuous life. Do every kind act you can in your voyage through life. Honor your father and mother. Make them your closest friends and confidantes."
After Glenn read the letter, he reflected on the power behind Charles' words, and pondered "Do we have any of these principles in common anymore at all?" While 1918 was awhile ago, what has happened to us? One of the questions Glenn asked was about the parents of Henry, "Would the parents even say, Charles, thank you for that? Or would they say, who are you to write to my son that way?"
A letter like that leaves one to think about a lot. It is important for us to remember where we came from and it is essential for younger generations to accept the advice of those older and wiser. We should stop blaming others and focus on our own personal journey and growth, even when we do not want to hear our faults.
While Brad was not able to provide much background information about his grandfather, except that he passed away in 1926, eight years after this letter was written, it is obvious the letter had some effect on him to have kept it. As Glenn said:
"I wish I could tell you, in 1918, this man received this letter, changed his life. The only evidence I have of that, is that this letter still exists. Which means to me: At least in those eight years, it meant enough for him to keep it.And whoever he did marry, it meant enough to her to pass it on to the grandchildren."
Rough Transcript Below:
GLENN: Brad, who works for our company, came in yesterday. And he gave me a letter from February 25th, 1918. And it was written to his grandfather.
And he said, Glenn, you might want to read this. As I read this, I think to myself, my gosh, does this even happen anymore?
It's a letter to his grandfather from his great grandfather's business partner.
My Dear Henry, you have seen and know so little about me, that you may be surprised to receive this letter.
If so, I hope you will not be displeased with its contents. Also, that you will appreciate the sentiment that prompts me to write.
When I first met you one evening at your home, I was greatly impressed with your personality, your easy manner in conversation. And in addition to which, I noticed you were self-reliant and aggressive. All of this I admired and felt particularly interested in your progress and success.
I'm sorry to learn that you have abandoned this education that you might have had, but that you reached a point where it was not an irreparable loss.
College presents opportunities difficult to obtain later in life. Still, the schooling of actual business is, after all, the thing that tells us in the long-run and brings out the best qualities that ones possesses.
I was quite shocked one day, however, when you came to the office and took your father to task for having called your employer, as any proud father naturally would. Your father called to inquire of your progress and the possibilities and the position that you had so cleverly obtained and filled for some time.
I truly felt sorry for your father, for I could see it hurt him. I felt more sorry for you, that you should have been so unmindful of his feelings as to talk to him in this manner before anyone. And I, a comparatible stranger.
I know it was not through unkindness, on your part, but unthinking, selfishness, and egotism.
I felt a special interest in you at all times and have asked after you and what you have been doing.
Even more account, I could see signs of disappointment in your father when he replied to you, that he had made just another change or that he seldom heard from you or about your plans.
Just how far I'm right about this in this respect, I cannot say. But I think I can read human nature sufficiently.
I do know how I should feel if I were in his place and a son of mine ignored me and my advice and my opinion after all of the years of anxiety and care of bringing him up through childhood to manhood.
A father and mother's ambition for success of their children is far greater than that of their sons or daughters. I've stated my case, as it appeals to my sentiments, and I want to make some suggestions that I think, if you will listen to, you will some day, some day say, they're not out of the way or misplaced.
I admire your self-reliance. I admire your aggressiveness. I admire your self-esteem. If you were true to yourself and others, they will ensure your success wherever you are and whatever you do.
But I can see that there is selfishness that you need to curb. Also, that you need to cultivate concentration and avoid a narrow view of life, just for the day's occupation, pleasure, or profit. Don't be the day worker with no thought of the future, but plan ahead so what you will have done one day is a steppingstone and advancement for the next.
Save your time. Save your money. Save your experience. So that you will, at all times, be ahead of the game and have reserve for any and all contingencies.
One of the most necessary things in this world for success is to have friends. Real friends. Real friends of the right kind. They do not come to you accidentally. You have to find them and gather them in. To do so, you must go among men and women of character. Your thoughtfulness, your kindness to others will bear fruit and be returned to you.
Your father and your mother are your best friends. They're the best you can or will ever have. Their love and sympathy are assured and their advice is sure to be disinterested and for you and your greatest welfare. And their ambition for you is higher than your own. Therefore, cultivate their sympathy and their thoughts, and show something more than business courtesy to your parents.
Right often, open your heart. Open your heart so they may know the joys or sorrows. That they may rejoice with you in your success and sympathize with you in your failures or sorrows.
Don't get entangled in any manner with man or woman that will result in you becoming a slave. When you have reached a point where you are in a way to afford it, look among your women friends, to the ones who have the kindest heart and most likely to be a help to you, and not only an ornament, just a play thing, but select her as a life companion.
Above all, do not rush into matrimony with the idea that two can live less than one, and when it is too late await to find you are united to one who is a drag or one that you love for whom you cannot do all that is necessary.
Live a good, clean, honest, and virtuous life. Do every kind act you can in your voyage through life. Honor your father and mother. Make them your closest friends and confidantes.
I'm writing you in the spirit I should like to have someone write to me when I was your age. I hope you will write to me sometime, knowing that I can appreciate a young man's feeling and shall always be happy to help you in any way I can. You have my very best wishes for your success. Know that your happiness is my sincerest concern and believe my sincerity and affection.
Your friend, Charles Rose.
I read that, 1918. And I thought, does anybody even say those things anymore? Can you even say those things anymore? Can you imagine writing that to someone saying, look, I'm just a business associate with your father, but I saw something, and I just want to say some things. Unsolicited. Can you imagine? Would the parents even say, Charles, thank you for that? Or would they say, who are you to write to my son that way? Do we have any of these principles in common anymore at all?
When I got this letter, my thoughts went to, so tell me about your grandfather. Tell me about Henry, who got this letter.
He said, well, I didn't know him.
This letter was written in 1918. His grandfather died I think in 1926.
They were doing an air show. These barnstormers came. And he got into one of the airplanes. And he was taken for a ride. It was a thrill. 1926. It was a thrill.
He got off the plane. Turned the wrong direction and walked into the prop.
I wish I were Paul Harvey. I wish I could tell you, in 1918, this man received this letter, changed his life. The only evidence I have of that, is that this letter still exists. Which means to me: At least in those eight years, it meant enough for him to keep it.
And whoever he did marry, it meant enough to her to pass it on to the grandchildren.