A Letter to My Daughter (and Yours) on International Women's Day
Dear daughter; dear miraculous, perfect, brave, happy daughter.
The confidence you have at 5 years old in your abilities, your identity, and your body is inspiring. I hope you carry it with you as long as possible before other influences creep in, whispering criticism and presenting you myriad opportunities to develop insecurities. I hope you recognize those influences for what they are, determine their worth accordingly, and hear your strong inner 5-year-old self reminding you that you can do anything.
Your kindness and compassion are so desperately needed in the world today. Don’t let the world toughen you up. Be kind in spite of anything or anyone that tells you to be otherwise. And when you get knocked down, get back up and be kind some more. It’s not always the easy path, but it’s the one that’s true to who you are.
When you achieve something amazing, celebrate (at least mentally) exactly the way you do now: jump up in the air, shout about what you’ve done, and make the most amazed face anyone has ever seen. Immediately tell everyone you know, with no concern about whether other people have done it before, or whether it amazes anyone but you. Be proud of yourself and your hard work. And be enthusiastically supportive of others when they are celebrating too.
Hang on to your love for nature. Maybe leave the snails out of your pockets. But get outside every day. It fuels and recharges your soul, I can tell. Don’t lose touch with the way you feel when you listen to birds in the trees, or jump in a puddle, or swing so high you can almost touch a cloud. Being outside keeps you connected to the earth, and that connection keeps everything in perspective.
Remember to persist when things get difficult. You’re learning to read, and do cartwheels, and dive into the pool, and a million other things without giving any thought to quitting because they’re difficult. You learned to walk without any fear of failure; in fact, you learned by failing over and over. Draw out the value of your failures and let it inform your next attempt, so that when you finally achieve your goal, you are a stronger, more resilient person because of the process.
Here are some other things I want to imprint on your heart:
Your dreams are worth pursuing.
You are so much stronger than you think you are.
Being kind is important; being perfect is overrated.
Your creativity, your joy, and your kindness are infectious. Share them with everyone you meet.
You are smart. You are brave. You are capable. You are beautiful. The world needs you.
I love you with all my heart.