A Letter to Jack

by Ben Carter

On Wednesday, a friend of mine asked me how I felt having a kid now that we were going to be living in President Trump's America.

"I'll tell you how I feel. I feel grateful that he's not old enough that I have to explain what happened and what's going on."

For me, taking Will to the park and the playground this week have been filled with what felt like especially beautiful moments. Part of it is the season, for sure. But, part of it is a heightened sense of familial affection in the face of the fragility of our moment and uncertainty of what is to come.

A friend told me that his son who is old enough to understand the basic dynamics of the election was "devastated" when he delivered the news to him. Like I said, I'm grateful my job as a parent this week was to change diapers and take pictures and enjoy my son.

Not for the first time, I'm sending Jack—my friend's son—some Field Notes notebooks. One of the benefits of having a quarterly subscription to Field Notes is that I have WAY more notebooks around here than I could possibly use.

I wrote Jack a letter and gave him a pep talk and some quasi-uncle advice for how he might use the notebooks I'm sending him.

I'd like to share it with you:


Your dad told me that you were disappointed when you learned that Donald Trump had been elected President. 


I am mad that so many people voted for a person who said unkind things about so many different groups of people. I am sure you are like me and have friends who look different than you, come from places all over the world, and some who worship God in ways different than you do. 

I am sending you some notebooks because you seem like the kind of guy who probably has some good ideas about ways that we can help one another, be kind to one another, and show each other that we love them, trust them, and enjoy being their friends and neighbors. 

When you have these good ideas, write them down in a notebook so you don’t forget them. 

Then, you can do some of the nice things that you’ve written down. Because, here’s the thing: now it is more important than ever for us to be kind to each other, to help one another, and to share our love with other people. 

One person, not even a powerful person like Donald Trump, does not define who we are as a country. Instead, the small acts each one of us take every day are what matter in the long run. Sitting with the new kid at lunch so she doesn’t feel alone, for example, is a small but important way to be kind. 

I feel confident that you will come up with some very creative ways to help others. I’m sending you enough notebooks that you can share some with a few of your friends (maybe your brother and sister, too). 

You don’t have to use the notebooks just for your ideas of nice things to do for other people, of course. It would please me to hear that you were also drawing, making lists of birds you see in your neighborhood, making maps, playing games, or doing math problems in your notebooks. Whatever you want, amigo.

Go get ‘em, Jack! Your friend,