To my two beautiful daughters, Erica and Ashleigh:
I am writing this letter to you after learning of a “leaders and daughters” letter writing campaign focused on inspiring, cultivating and paving a better future for the next generation of female leaders. I hope the thoughts I’ve shared below are simply reminders of the conversations we’ve had over the years as you’ve grown from babies to toddlers to tweens to young ladies on the verge of leaving the nest…and I hope you carry these lessons with you always.
Remember your roots. Who you are. Where you’re from. Your family. Your best friends that are like family. The rituals you’ve created together. Trips to the lake. Sundaes on Sunday. All of this grounds you, is familiar and comforting, nourishes your soul, gives you confidence, and sets you up to explore and tackle the world. I hope you are always ready to learn, grow and take on the next adventure, but never forget where you come from.
You always have a choice. Choice is empowering. Always remember this. What you do. How you spend your time. Who you spend it with. How you treat others. Always be present, and be aware of your feelings. Know that while you are not in control of other people, you are in control of you. How you respond to any situation, any person and how they make you feel. We’ve talked about this forever with all sorts of different scenarios that have simply been part of growing up. As you go through life, know what makes you happy and fulfilled and don’t ever lose sight of that. Be mindful of others, but always be true to you.
Give a hand up. You have been blessed with so many wonderful people and things in your life. Parents who love and adore you. Tight knit Family. Wonderful friends. Comfortable homes, and the means to go on adventures near and far. Be thankful. Appreciate what you have, and recognize there are so many less fortunate than you. Strive to always have a kind, generous spirit, and find ways to provide a hand up to those who need it. Not because someone told you you should, but because you want to. Any support helps, so do what you can afford, be it time or money or a combination of the two. Make giving back something that is second nature to you.
Reach your potential. Life is not about measuring yourself against others, it is about doing the best you can with the gifts you have been given. Know your gifts and your passions. Nourish them. Chase your dreams. You have the whole world in front of you. If you give your best effort, that is all anyone can ask of you…and I have every confidence you will be more than happy with the results.
I am here for you, always. To encourage you. Challenge you. Listen to you. Support you. Celebrate with you. To cheer you on every step of the way. I want the very best for you, always. Love you so very much.