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Restored Soldier

(Originally written Nov. 6, 2010)

I just came across a letter I wrote back in November 2010 after hearing the stories of and meeting former child soldiers from northern Uganda. It’s ironic now, because I had forgotten so I posted it again. Dear Restored Soldier, After hearing your heart breaking story about life as a child soldier, I can’t help but think of what will happen in a week. Will I forget the impact your story had on me? Will the cash I tossed your way somehow make me feel better about myself, as if I actually helped you? Will I slip back into my cynical, self-centered, North American life like I always do? I wish you hadn’t come because you forced me out of the comfort of apathy. – Dave
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So full of promise and endless possibility

Dear Baby Dancer, Tonight you made your TV debut…and you killed it. You danced as though you were by yourself in your living room with your favourite song playing on your moms iPod. But you weren’t in your living room. And it wasn’t your mom’s iPod. You were dancing on a stage with millions of people watching and were totally in your element. You are only a toddler. There will be many tough years ahead of you filled with voices that will discourage you. They will tell you to be normal. To fit in and do what everyone else does. I beg of you, don’t listen. Keep dancing your little heart out and follow it wherever it takes you. Don’t listen to the crowd that tells you to be like everyone else. Because you’re not. You probably don’t know what happened tonight, other than you were just dancing, not paying attention to who was watching. But I hope that tonight the stage captured you and won’t let go. It ultimately may not be the dance stage. But whatever stage is yours, grab it. Don’t ever let the lights go out. – Dave
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Sometimes when good things happen to people I know, I’m jealous that it didn’t happen to me.

I just won the lottery. Jealous.

Today’s letter was written by Anonymous Twitter: Blog: Written From: The red eye of Jupiter
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Swagger Steve

Dear Swagger Steve,

I love seeing how confident you are when you cross the street. It seems as though you have somewhere to go but you don’t care if whoever your meeting has to wait ’cause walking there is style is far more important.

You’re swaggerin’.

Left shoulder dipping while your right foot shuffles, periodically glancing at the cars around you to make sure at least one person is recognising your cross walk steez.

Don’t worry. I noticed.


Today’s letter was written by Anonymous Twitter: Blog: Written From: The front seat of my car
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Anonymous Giver

Dear Anonymous Donor,

Thank you.

There really isn’t much else to say. I just wanted to give back what little I can and inspire others to do the same. I set a modest goal to help raise money and provide water to those who need it.

You didn’t have to do what you did. But thank you so very much. Not only did you contribute in a huge way towards my goal, but you inspired me to hold material things with a loose grip.

I suppose the reality is that it’s not about supporting someone you know helping their cause but simply giving back because we live in abundance.

Thank you for reminding me of that.

– Dave

Today’s letter was written by Name: Dave Twitter: @davesohnchen Blog: http://mycharitywater.org/davesohnchen Written From: Canada
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Moms the Word

Dear Moms,

You are the greatest.

There is not much else that needs to be said. Without you, none of us would exist.

You brought each of us into the world. You fed us. You snuggled us. You tickled us and made us giggle. You laughed with us. You cried with us. You wiped our tears and helped heal our wounds. You showed us how to love.

You gave up your life to give us everything.

And we all love you for that.

One day of breakfast in bed and arbitrary gifts is not enough to express how grateful we are for everything you have done.

Today is your day. Make sure that you get spoiled.

You deserve it.

Thank you.

With all the love that it is my being,

– The one who takes you for granted 364 days of the year.

Today’s letter was written by Anonymous Twitter: Blog: Written From: Wherever Moms Are
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O How the Park Has Changed

Dear Social Media Mom, Yesterday was as beautiful day and we obviously had the same idea: take the kids to the park. I was intrigued watching you sit on the curb with iPhone in hand, periodically glancing up to watch your son or daughter go down the slide or swing on the swings. Normally, I wouldn’t have even noticed because I too would have my head down, buried in some device. I watched as you tapped away, glanced up, tapped away and glanced up again. O how the park has changed. Gone are the days when parents go to the park to play with their kids. It seems as though we go to give our kids something different to do so it entertains them just long enough for us to play with our own toys. We are more engrossed in what is going on with others than what is going on right in front of us; with our own kids. As I ponder the thought and pulled my own phone out of my pocket to see if anything interesting was happening, my 2 year old had managed to almost climb all the way to the top of the rope pyramid. I looked into her face, one of sheer determination and simply encouraged her to keep going. She reached the top. I almost missed it. What else has passed me by? – Dave
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One Day at a Time

Dear Neighbour,

When I saw you yesterday, my heart sank. The battle you have been fighting for so long finally look itself to a terribly deep place and it involved those around you. Your choice made me want to scream at you!

When we talked today you had deep regret for the choice you made. I pray that it will show you that what you have in your life is worth while. That as hard as it is to fight the temptation of reaching for a bottle, it’s not the answer. I hope that it opened your eyes to how much worse you could have made things.

I hope this makes you fight. Fight for your family, fight for your child, but most of all, fight for yourself. Because you are worth it! You have a light inside that, although flickering, can be re-ignighted as long as you start to see the beauty in you.

I pray you start to see it and that you start believing that it is possible to be strong again. It may take time but the healing will come.

One day at a time.

Today’s letter was written by Anonymous Twitter: Blog: Written From: Kelowna, BC
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Your craft is so much more than just what you do

Dear Beatbox Busker, It’s gotta take a considerable amount of effort and dedication to do what you do. Not only do you have to cart your amp around, strapped to a dolly but I can’t imagine how tiring it must be for your vocal chords to perform your craft hours on end without so much as a break for water. It was interesting watching people pass you by. Some walked passed without so much as a sideways glance. Others turned to friends to make some sort of comment before snickering. Yet other stopped to listen, marvelling at the dynamic beats that flowed from your throat and mouth with such precision and depth. Young and old, those who stopped were overcome, even if just for a brief moment, with awe and intrigue as you manipulated sound effortlessly with your voice. Yet not one dropped a single coin in overturned hat. Regardless, each person that stopped close enough to chat, you did shook their hand acknowledged each with a smile on your face. It would be super easy to get frustrated, feeling as though your hard work was going unrecognized and unrewarded. But you didn’t. You continued to perform with a smile on your face, periodically closing your eyes as you got lost in the passion of what you do. Some may see you as just a punk kid with a useless talent. But you are so much more than that. You are teacher to those who take a moment to actually stop and pay attention. You are a man who has encouraged and inspired me to focus on my own craft (or maybe even to find out what my craft is) and stop at nothing to share it with others; regardless of how much effort and emotion it takes. Keep honing your craft. Oh, and keep beatboxing you’re pretty good at that too.

– Dave What’s your craft?
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Summer in May

Dear Paddle Boarders,

I’ll admit, today was gorgeous. There were tons of people down by the water which was so nice to see after a long winter; one that finally snapped only a few weeks ago.

But today, seeing the two of you gliding effortlessly across the top of the glasslike water gave me hope that summer is just around the corner. You reminded me how great it is to be alive and living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. A place where life can afford to take a holiday, friends are plenty and the sun never seems to sleep.

I know that this summer will be filled with memories that will not fade and friends that will always be by our sides.

You may have just been out for a joyride, but you gave me hope for the days to come.


– Dave

Today’s letter was written by Name: Dave Twitter: @thedailyletter Blog: http://thedailyletter.com Written From: Kelowna, BC (Canada)