To Our Dearest Daughter
Our dearest daughter, this is what your mother and I want for you:
You have the good fortune of having been born into a loving circle of family and friends. You have also been born into a wonderful time of history. Everything in the world is yours to discover and along the way, you will have all the love and support you will ever need, but never forget that your good fortune is a debt. The world is only as wonderful as it is because so many of its citizens have endeavored to make it so. Each generation builds on the triumphs of the last. Your debt is to make the world better for your children. Along the way, you will discover that not all your triumphs have to be large. These are things that you can do every day to make your world a better place:
- Learn everything you can. There are opportunities everywhere. Learn from your teachers (teachers are everywhere — not just in the classroom). Learn from books. Learn from your experiences, both bad and good. And please, please always remember to take what you learn and check it against what you know. You will find that you know very little, and that is okay. If you die knowing even a handful of things, you have done well.
- Always give charitably (and anonymously).
- Find pleasure in being alone. You won’t understand this until you are much older.
- When you start something, finish it. This is very important.
- Remember that nice people can finish first. In the short term, it may not seem that way, but I promise, it’s true.
- If you let someone take your photo, remember that I will probably see it one day.
- See the world. There is almost no better use of your time and money.
- Sometimes it’s better to be quiet than to say anything and if you are in doubt, a smile almost always works. There is strength in silence and lies are for the lazy.
- Never look back. Life is about making mistakes and you will make many. Don’t dwell on them. Learn your lesson and move on.
- There are so many ways to define things like wealth and poverty, success and failure, fulfillment and want, and in your life, your ideas about them will change as you grow. In the end, I hope you will realize that none of them matter. All that matters is that you are contented as you go through your day.
There are many different types of love, but one thing seems certain: the faster you feel it, the more fleeting it will be. True love takes time. One day, when you do love someone, tell them, and if they love you back, tell them every day for the rest of your life. Telling someone that you love them is a gift for both of you. This applies to everyone you’ll ever love.
When you do pick someone to love as a partner, make sure that person is nice to waiters, puppies, babies, and you. Also, make sure that person loves food. Food, love, sex and happiness are all one and the same. Most importantly, make sure the person you pick to love is your friend first. A relationship isn’t always easy and if you are friends, you can make it through anything. Friendship rarely follows love, so be intentional in the path you choose.
Your mother and I love you. We will love you when you are happy and when you are sad we will love you more. When you need us, we will always be there and even when you think you don’t need us, we will still be there for you, waiting quietly just in case. Everything that is ours to give is for you. You are our beautiful daughter and we will love you forever.
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