In Preparation for a Son

Remain ready at all times and in all places to use violence to defend yourself or one who is being abused. This is a sacred duty. I am aware of no other acceptable reason for using violence. Do not provoke others and let yourself be humiliated often so as to become impossible to provoke.

Approach every opportunity to receive help from and in turn materially compensate a laborer with deep thanks. Tip generously. Do not quibble about how much you owe. Do not believe the lie that the money you possess belongs to you.

Adopt the adventures of Robin Hood as your prevailing allegory. You are a mongrel nobleman in the crumbling dominion of an impotent tyrant. Live abundantly in the good creation. Take from the rich and give to the poor. Dance in among the shadows of the forest. Do not make a name for yourself. Become a symbol of resistance. Build a brotherhood. Shame the proud and wicked every chance you get. Look after the widows and orphans. And while you are busy with this work, always — always! — keep one eye on the horizon watching for distant banners. Never stop expecting the returning King.

Avoid the culture of sports. Though they may teach some good, their virtues are overshadowed by their peril. Rejoice in using your body for good work and making love, but do not spend much time at pretend war or acquiring fruitless skills. Sports culture reinforces zero-sum and dualism. It promotes the worst impulses of tribalism and competition. It creates, worships, and eventually discards its own idols. Our world is full of much real wonder and you have no need of mere amusements.

Honor all women at all times. Trouble narratives in which they are yours to use or possess. Disassociate from those who advance these narratives.

Treat all men as equals at all times. Greet everyone you encounter with respect and hospitality. None are your better. None are your lesser. All good work is equally good. Reject the priestly class. See number III. Learn the law and hold a quiet preference for natural law over that of man. Disregard the majority of policies and regulations as they are the thumb-twiddling of those anxiously awaiting their own death. Do not speak to the unimportant as though they are children. Do not speak to children as though they are unimportant.

Think about your own death only enough to prepare your death song then don’t think about it at all. The fear of death is a curse. When death does come, sing your song and go into paradise with eagerness to begin the fullness of life. Act as if you will live forever because you will.

Be careful never to become too comfortable. Remain awake to the suffering of others and of yourself. Try not to be the best dressed person in any room. Try not to be the best fed or most highly praised. Keep an easy dwelling. Pursue fidelity to the weak.

Borrow as little as possible and repay your debts quickly, but turn away none who ask of you. Consider any loan you make to be a gift expecting no return. Be creative in your provision.

Learn to sharpen blades, tie knots, make fire, and prepare meat for food. Start with fish, then fowl, then beasts. Eat what you kill and live in the understanding that to live is to participate in death. Whatever you consume, consume with dignity and gratitude. Confront your own culpability.

Delight in good food and drink, but do not make your love for them your renown. Nothing is withheld from you. This does not mean all things in all quantities are prudent. See numbers I., V., VIII. and X.

If possible, find a trade and a bride and a place and make them your mandate. Be fruitful and multiply. Live a given life. But also do not make the mistake of thinking this is your true home. For this is merely the greenwood. Yes, it is verdant and there is much noble work here to do, but the best is yet to come.

Agrarian designer from Virginia.

Agrarian designer from Virginia.