Dear Patrick: Life Is Tough--Here's Some Good Advice [NOOK Book]

Overview

Dear Patrick,

For five years I have been witness to your struggles to grow up without a father. As a family friend, I can't make that up to you. What I can do is stand by you, and teach you how to be the kind of man you wish your father had been ...

So begins the correspondence of two unlikely friends, Patrick Buckley, a sixteen-year-old New York City high schooler, and Jeffrey M. Schwartz, internationally renowned neuroscientist and the ...

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Dear Patrick: Life Is Tough--Here's Some Good Advice

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Overview

Dear Patrick,

For five years I have been witness to your struggles to grow up without a father. As a family friend, I can't make that up to you. What I can do is stand by you, and teach you how to be the kind of man you wish your father had been ...

So begins the correspondence of two unlikely friends, Patrick Buckley, a sixteen-year-old New York City high schooler, and Jeffrey M. Schwartz, internationally renowned neuroscientist and the critically acclaimed author of Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain. Inspired by Patrick's straight forward questions, Schwartz examines the moral teachings of our greatest spiritual leaders -- Jesus, Buddha, and Moses -- and filters them through the lens of his cutting-edge psychiatric research, as well as his own experiences of childhood loneliness and loss. With fierce certainty and love, Schwartz provides Patrick with a blueprint for breaking free from the culture of corrosive cynicism that threatens to destroy him, and for constructing a decent, meaningful, and fulfilling life. The result is a fascinating and revolutionary new code for living born of a man and a boy who sought honor and self-command in a culture of self-indulgence.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061961953
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 491,606
  • File size: 7 MB

Meet the Author

Jeffrey M. Schwartz M.D. is an internationally-recognized authority on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and is the author of the bestseller Brain Lock. He is a Research Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Annie Gottlieb is a freelance writer specializing in psychology. She has contributed to many publications, including Mirabella, McCall's, and the New York Times Book Review and Op-Ed page. She is the author of Do You Believe In Magic?:Bringing the Sixties Back Home and coauthor of Wishcraft:How to Get What You Really Want.

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First Chapter

Dear Patrick
Life Is Tough--Here's Some Good Advice

Chapter One

Wrestling For My Soul

Thanks For The Discipline

Dear Patrick,

It was good to talk to you on the phone last night. I'm sorry to hear that "broken promises" is such an ongoing theme in your relationship with your dad -- that time and again, as you put it, "he says he's going to do something, and then he doesn't do it." But I'm very glad he called you on your birthday -- that much ceremony, at least, he can still get it together to observe. Most of all, I'm glad you're taking me up on my birthday offer.

By beginning this conversation, we're actually resuming, in a whole new way, a transmission of ideas from generation to generation that was held sacred until just one or two generations ago. (It's no coincidence that that's also when our families and communities really started falling apart.) The ideas we'll be talking about -- which are nothing less than the operating instructions for human nature -- are timeless, but for their eternal relevance to shine forth, they need to be freshly applied to the new circumstances of each generation. (Showing that these great ideas are still the main source of spiritual power, even in an age of science and technology, is the only way to restore them to their rightful place as life's true foundation.) That's why your part in this dialogue is so important. I can reconnect you to the power source of three thousand years of wisdom, but you're the one who's going to have to ground it in the urgent concerns of a young person living right now, at the beginning of a new millennium.

If that sounds like a setup -- like I'm going to expect long letters from you -- don't worry. I know how busy you are, with swimming, football, and now crew, too, on top of all your classes. I also know you and letter-writing -- I've gotten a few of your one-liners over the years! It's not a problem. There's a gem of a line in Shakespeare's play Hamlet. "Brevity is the soul of wit." So it's fine with me if you weigh in now and then by phone, post card, or E-mail, in twenty-five words or less!

Meanwhile, I'll start by telling you how I found my way, as much out of sheer desperation as anything else, to the sources of wise guidance that I'll be sharing with you. The story begins when I was almost exactly your age, and -- this might surprise you -- athletics play an important part in it.

You expressed some concern last night over whether all your sports will leave you enough time for studying. So far, you seem to be handling it, according to your mom. Your rowing coach, who's also your biology teacher, says you're doing great at both. To my mind, that's probably no coincidence. Academics provide the content of education, but good athletic training builds a strong and capable container! Your passion for athletics will actually make my job easier, because your experience of training your body will give you a head start in understanding what I have to say about training your mind and character.

I was a wrestler in high school, and what I learned from it has served me all my life. When my coach, Bill Linkner, retired two years ago, over thirty years' worth of former wrestlers and football players gave him a big testimonial dinner. One of the gifts was a poster-size picture of him, which we all signed. What I wrote on that picture was, 'Thanks for the discipline.' Because that discipline formed the foundation for everything I've accomplished since. To this day, everything I do contains some element of what I learned as a wrestler.

Near the end of that evening, when we were presenting our coach the gifts we'd gotten for him, one of my old teammates said to me, "You know, if Coach Linkner had asked you to die for the team back then, you wouldn't be here to see this." And I said, "You know, you're right." It's well understood now that that's how soldiers fight, how they can face death in combat without batting an eye. They do it for each other, and their common goal. It's about identity and connectedness with your buddies, your platoon, doing well for them, earning their respect and esteem. Clearly, Patrick, you're experiencing that right now -- from what you tell me, especially on the rowing team. And I'm proud to say that's what my teammates most remembered about me. They used to joke that if Coach Linkner told me, "Go run through that brick wall," I'd try. There were definitely better wrestlers than me on the team, but no one was more dedicated. I'm not exaggerating when I say that when I was your age wrestling was more important to me than life itself. I may not have been too wise, but no one who was there would deny that I was brave.

Most adolescents devote themselves to something with that kind of life-or-death intensity, and for a good reason. You are, in reality, dying as a child and being reborn as a young adult. If society doesn't assist that passage with a rigorous, transforming challenge -- and outside of the military, athletics is almost the last one we've got left -- kids will often act it out in tragically self-destructive ways, like drinking and driving, gangs, or drugs. I vividly remember saying something back then that sums up in one line how much wrestling meant to me. A friend from another school had told me that his football coach liked to say that soccer (which I also played) was only a game, but football was a sport. (Americans have acquired more respect for soccer since then!) I replied, "Well, you tell your coach that maybe soccer is only a game, and football is a sport, but wrestling is a religion!'

Dear Patrick
Life Is Tough--Here's Some Good Advice
. Copyright © by Jeffrey M. Schwartz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2014

    Tarah and Tasha

    Tasha~ She sits on a bale of hay. Humming. "I sure do miss Wes." Tarah- She nods. "I miss Drew"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    To jon

    Aj needs joseph at res1

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    Jon

    Jon glances at Sage and her dogtags. "I have those to." He pulls 2 dogtags from out of his shirt. One says 'Cheif' and the other says 'Flare Snipe'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    Jason

    He realized how akward the situation was. "Yea...i gotta text Sage was flippin' off the grid again" he stands and mounts DarkMagic

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    Hayley

    Ye..." she grabbed supernaturels reigns but doesnt mount and leads him out

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2011

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