Dear Fiona: Do . . . just do

Dear Fiona,

When I wrote my series of letters to Tristan a few years ago, I titled one of them “Be . . . just be.”

My point to him then was the same as the point I’ve repeatedly tried to make clear to you throughout these letters: You are – both of you – loved, and valued, not for what you do, but for who you are.

Nevertheless, this is one of those areas in which our culture, sadly, treats boys and girls very, very differently. So despite wanting exactly the same things for you both, my message to you is a bit different.

Boys are, and always have been, expected to go and do exciting things . . . or at the very least, to want to go and do exciting things. So to Tristan, I wanted to communicate the importance of just . . . being.

Girls, on the other hand, are culturally and historically expected to be certain things . . . to fit into certain roles, to enjoy – or at least grudgingly to participate in and oversee – certain domestic activities, to passively sit by and wait for others to act.

So while I wanted to communicate to Tristan the value in being, I want to communicate to you that, as much as I love you for who you are . . . as much as I love your being . . . I will also be there to support you in whatever you choose to do.

Maybe you’ll do something glamorous, or maybe you’ll work behind the scenes. Maybe you’ll build and create things, or maybe you’ll discover and capture things that are. Maybe you’ll choose a completely unconventional path that nobody has attempted before, or maybe you’ll fit comfortably into a well-established, time-honored pattern.

That part is completely, entirely up to you.

Just know, always, that I am here for you. You will desire many things throughout your life. I will support you in that. Some of them, you’ll desire enough to pursue. I will support you in that. Some of your pursuits will be successful. I will support you in that. Some of them will be unsuccessful, and I will support you in that as well. Sometimes you will obtain what you’re reaching for, and sometimes you won’t. I want to do whatever I can to empower you toward the former, and to help you work through and learn from the latter.

Most of all, I want you always to keep doing, keep trying, keep pursuing whatever it is that you have your heart set on. I want to give you the space to live your dreams, and – to the best of my ability – the resources you need to reach them.

And like I alluded to in my last couple letters, I want you to do it not because it’s what I want . . . but because it’s what you want. If at any time you’re doing something grudgingly and reluctantly, solely because you know it’s what I want of you, don’t.

Don’t go and do for me. Go and do for you.

Love,
~Dad

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