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A Letter to my Daughter

August 24, 2010

Firstborn goes to college

Greetings, dear reader.  I am tearing the curtain back, and affording you a peek into my family life. An open letter to my eldest daughter.

My daughter, the doctor

She has moved on, and out, my eldest daughter that wants to be a doctor. Her first day of college was yesterday, and her first night of living outside of my home was last night. What follows is my public letter of encouragement to her.

Dear daughter,

The house here is empty, dog and myself notwithstanding. There is an emptyness that was once filled by you. As you pursue your dreams, and your higher education, there are a few ideas I would like to share with you.

It is difficult as a parent to maintain the correct balance between protectiveness and experience. Both of the parents have a responsibility to protect their children, as well as the responsibility to educate through experience.  You living away inhibits your parents’ ability to protect, and maximizes your opportunity to experience life. Experience is neither good nor bad, it just is; what is important is what you DO with that experience that matters.

You might recall me admitting to making many mistakes, and trying to help you to recognize the lesson to be learned from my mistakes without suffering the same pain. That opportunity is now gone. My ability to protect, gone.  The mistakes that you make now will be a part of your experience, and my hope is that you learn from each one, the first time. Remember this: your father loves you, and your Father in heaven loves you- and there is no mistake that you can make that will ever alter that relationship.

In your new world of freedom, remember that the flip side of that coin is responsibility. You, alone are now responsible for the choices that you make.  The goal of becoming a doctor is a decision established. The responsibilities of the curriculum of a medical student is perhaps the most rigorous on earth. Noble. The flip side of noble is the sacrifice of your freedom in order to achieve your goal.  I want to see you succeed.

As you have grown and matured we have had disagreements. Rising in frequency and intensity, we have disagreed. That is, I believe, a natural phenomenon.  Unpleasant, yes;  but a natural occurrence intended to move you on to the rest of your life.  I hope that you will recognize that the nature of those disagreements was my part in being too protective of you.  Trying hard to prepare you for the big, old world that you are now loose in.  I always want to see you succeed.

Remember, my dear daughter, as you travel the trails of the rest of your life, that you will always be my little girl.  I am always available, as you approach the forks in the trail ahead, to offer my opinion, based on 26 years more experience than you.     “TXT ME”      And remember, like some famous dude once said, “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

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