Leaders & Daughters - To My Daughter

For Phoebe, From Nani

Dear Phoebe,

As your grandmother, I have known you now for 12 ½ years, since you were just one day old. Even as a baby I knew you were a very special person.

One day when you were just about eight months old, I was carrying you in a pouch in the front of my chest, walking down the street in lower Manhattan, when you saw an old man trundling by who seemed very sad. You reached out your arms to him to give him hug and a smile. With that happy gesture, his whole face lit up with joy that this little baby noticed him and wanted to send him such affection. He shouted, “Thank you, little baby.”

You are still so perceptive to what is going on around you and willing to reach out to people. As you have grown older, I have seen you jump right into the middle of the action and start organizing everyone. You seem to have the vision of what should happen and people welcome your ideas and leadership. I see it happen so often, I have to laugh, “There’s Phoebe again taking charge.” But you always do it so naturally and gracefully, and so in tune with others’ feelings.

You told me once that you wanted to be the first woman president of the United States. I actually hope we don’t have to wait that long, but I don’t doubt that you can do it. If I can give you any advice on your journey: be sure to listen, form a team, and lead with ideas and truth. You have a loving family to support you. You are born with courage and no one is going to hold you back.

Love always, Nani

Jean Krasno is a tenured lecturer in the Political Science department, City College of New York.