Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Letter to My Daughter: What I Want to Teach Her

Ever since I brought my daughter into this world, I've been thinking about lessons, truths, and beliefs that I would like to teach her someday-- either directly or through osmosis.  Things I would have liked to know earlier in life.  They may not be what you would teach your kids, and that's okay.

Yes, there are certain lessons and experiences we can only learn by going through them.  Heartbreak, making and losing friends, getting into various types of mischief ...  I can't protect her from everything.  And I guess I don't want to.  But I do hope to help my daughter meet the challenges and decisions she will inevitably face with self-confidence and self-respect.  

(Image from HubPages; not my daughter)

So here are a few of these bits of wisdom, in no particular order, addressed in a future letter to my currently 8 month old girl:

May 2013

Dear Sweetheart, 

1.  Don't worry so much.  Most things you worry about probably won't happen, and if they do, they'll likely end up as mere blips in the big picture of your life.  That mean girl who "unfriended" you on Facebook?  Oh well.  That kid who made fun of your shirt?  Screw him.  It really, truly, doesn't matter.

2.  You know that saying that love will find you when you least expect it?  I think it's true.  Don't focus too much on "finding him."  Go about your business, enjoy yourself, your friends, and your hobbies, and you'll meet someone right for you.

3.  Don't use tanning beds.

4.  No, you don't look fat in that.  As long as you are eating healthfully and staying active, embrace whatever figure you have.  I don't think I even knew what a calorie was until I was in college.  Weight is not something to obsess about.

5.  Be nice to people, especially those who handle your food.  (That includes me.  Ha!).

6.  Getting good grades really is important.  Some might disagree with me here.  That's fine.  But I want you to know that getting an A on a science test is more important than getting invited to a sleepover or talking on the phone all night.  Learning and achieving as much as you can in school will open the most doors in your life.

7.  Just because you'v been "automatically approved" for a credit card doesn't mean you should get it.

8.  Don't live together before you get married or engaged.  (I'm not old-fashioned.  I'm just right).

9.  Don't talk about other people behind their backs.  Even in middle school (where innocence goes to die).  It is never worth it.  If in doubt, talk to me, your mother.  I can keep a secret and I'm pretty non-judgmental.

10.  That third drink is usually a bad idea.

11.  Stay loyal.  Your father and I value loyalty above almost all else in a relationship.  Stay dedicated to those who are loyal to you.  True friends are rare.  Hang on to them.

12.  If you feel sluggish, try going for a short walk.  Energy begets energy.

13.  If he doesn't call, forget him.  There are no exceptions.  (Truly, his loss).

14.  On a related note, if he calls out of the blue past 9 p.m. (perhaps slurring a little), don't answer the phone.  You'll understand this one when you need to. 

15.  You are pretty.  Looks don't really matter, but in case you sometimes find yourself feeling less than your ideal, please know that you are the most beautiful girl in the world to your dad and me.  

16.  Try to be as joyful as you can.  What I have always wanted for you is to be happy.

17.  One final thought:  No matter what, please know I will always be proud of you.

Love forever and ever,

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