I wrote this letter one day this past summer, alone in my room, thinking of the future. I have been the go-to guy for many girls with their relationship issues, and God has also given me a sense of awareness in terms of relationships so that I can be able to help others. I decided, that day, to write a letter.
I wondered to whom I should write it, should I write to my future wife? My future grandchild? My future son? Myself? My future daughter? Ah, that’s it. I will write a letter to my future daughter. A kind of letter that she would receive on her twelfth or thirteenth birthday, when she starts to become a woman and begins to wonder about relationships. And so I wrote it.
That day, I learned more about parenthood than anyone could have told me at that time. In writing as though I were a parent, I was overcome with the sacrificial love that comes with being a father. And I found a new love for my father, knowing that he thinks these same things, and experiences these same rushes of emotions, when he is with my little sister.
I had written one draft, then I had saved it away into the countless folders I have organized in my computer, saved away safe onto my hard drive. And today, I found it again. And, after a sprinkling of minor revisions, I thought you all might appreciate reading it.
Quite frankly, I don’t know how to start this. I don’t know you yet. I don’t have you yet. I don’t see you yet. As I become an adult and realize more and more the importance of life, I felt it important that I pass this onto you. I’m a teenager right now. So I’ve been in that place of crisis, that place of fear and the unknown, that place of drama and favorites. I don’t even know your mother yet, but I’m sure she will be perfect.
You may find it hard to deal with us sometimes, but that’s all part of growing up. We will seem unfair, and that’s normal too. Sometimes we will be unfair. But nothing we do is to hurt you. Everything we do is because we love you. Because we will protect you with everything that we are.
And for you to be able to understand how we love you, you must first understand yourself and the world around you. The first questions you will have are easy for me to foresee, and I will do my best to answer them now in this letter with the limited experience that I have.
First: boys. Boys are weird. Boys are also lame. Boys can be little and weak or big and strong, but one thing is common between all boys. Boys are extremely dumb when it comes to girls. They just have no idea. I’ll help you understand guys for a minute – how their minds work. Guys don’t think about everything all at once like girls do. I don’t even know how to think about more than one thing at once, but somehow you girls have a knack for doing it totally naturally. Guys will think about one thing at a time. If you’re talking with a guy, use your turn signal – give a cue that the topic is changing or he might be left in the dark. Many guys will learn to adapt and will be able to keep up with the topic changes that girls do, but every guy still gets lost sometimes.
Also, guys don’t understand how to talk to girls. They are usually clueless if a girl likes them. They always ask their friends (or your friends) if something is going on.We guys have no clue as to how to read girls. You are so confusing, you females. If a guy likes you, he will typically make it painfully obvious. Like you will have no doubts in your mind that he does.
If you like a guy, but he doesn’t like you, be prepared to get hurt. Guys have no idea what tact is when it comes to smoothly saying, “I’m just not into you.” I’ve seen it countless times. Fortunately, you have me as a dad – I learned from a young age how to nicely say it (In sixth grade, I had to learn quick how to say it nicely – I was the polite one, and maybe that’s why she liked me. But I just was not interested.). I’ll teach you which guys to look for – not the boys, but the men. There is most definitely a difference.
Men stand out from the boys. A man will treat a woman respectfully, never putting her down. He will never make a spectacle of a girl in front of anyone. A man will open doors. A man will push your chair in for you. A man will do things for you not because he thinks you can’t do them yourself, but because he thinks you are worth doing things for.
A man will never go farther than what you are comfortable with. A man will never take from you what is rightfully your husband’s – even if, in the moment, you might feel like you want him to.
A man will love the things about you that you don’t like. A man will think that those things you think are ‘faults’ make you all the more beautiful. A man will think that you are beautiful no matter what you do with your makeup or hair, but he will know that you are most beautiful when your hair is natural and you are wearing no makeup – when you are just the way God made you, he will know that is the most beautiful.
A man will compliment you – even if he doesn’t like you! A man understands how valuable a woman’s self-image is and will genuinely compliment a girl. Don’t think he’s a weirdo. He’s not. He’s just being genuine.
A man will go out of his way to make you smile, even if he is having a bad day.
A man is humble, never bragging (unless it is in jest), and never elevating himself above others. A man won’t talk behind your back or spread untrue things about you.
A man will stick up for you, even at his own expense. I tell you the truth when I say that throughout your life, men will stick up for you and will be hurt for it (physically, emotionally, etc.) so that you don’t have to be – and you will never know. A man values others above himself.
If you see some guy exhibiting the opposite of some of these traits, he is still a boy. Some guys are boys their whole lives. And some guys become men long before their time, long before other boys around them become men. I was one of those boys. Sometimes it’s a difficult thing, sometimes it’s a great thing. Either way, look for men, not boys. Men will provide for you. Boys will only take advantage of you.
Next: you will never know what someone else is going through. You will be surrounded by girls every day at school. It is possible to never truly know any of them. These girls will go through things you couldn’t possibly imagine. I won’t list the things that I have learned from talking with the broken people around me.
Girls around you will be hurt – badly. It is your duty to be there for them, whether they are mean to you or not. Why? Because one simple act of kindness can change everything.
Don’t get walked on, don’t get used, just make sure you’re there in case someone needs you. You will learn the signs of getting walked on or used – but there’s no set criteria that say ‘hey girl, you’re bein’ used now’. No, it mainly comes with experience.
Every day still, I learn things that I never knew about people that I thought I knew – pain and struggles that they went through.
No matter what you go through, my daughter, I will always be there for you. Boy picking on you? I’ll take care of it. Girls calling you names? You can bet that’ll be solved. Nobody hurts my daughter.
And don’t hurt other people. Bullying, or whatever name it’s called by the time that you’re in school, is a lifelong pain. The words said to you, even if that person didn’t totally mean it, will stick with you for the rest of your life. Here I am, four years after middle school, and I still cringe at the thought of the things that were said to me. It hurts forever. Don’t be the one to say the hurtful things that someone will remember for the rest of their lives. Be the one that will say the things that someone will look back on and think, ‘There, right there in my life, is where I felt like I was truly loved for the first time.’ Be the one that will hear the words, “You changed my life,” from the people that you help. Be Jesus to the people around you.
Also: do what you love. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Truly, you can do anything that you want to do if you really want it. You wanna walk on the moon? You wanna be a professional bicyclist? A Ph.D. in Molecular Physics? Whatever it is, work for it. You’ll get there, I promise.
Since I’ve been a kid, I always wanted to do two things: the first is to work with computers and the second is to step foot on that cheeseball in the sky we call the Moon. I still get all excited watching lunar expedition footage, and hearing the amazing, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” uttered over by Neil Armstrong over the static-filled radio.
I’m only 18 now, we’ll see what I’m doing by the time you read this. Whatever I’m doing, I want you to make sure that I love what it is – if I don’t, my life will be so disappointing to me (and I may not show it).
Love what you do. Do what you love. There is no greater lie than to work at something you don’t love in the hope that someday you’ll be able to do what you do love. Do what you love now, no matter the pay or the job market. You love it? Do it. I’ll be behind you every step of the way.
Lastly: love. I know I could hit every topic under the sun on this letter, but I’m picking the most important ones that stick out to me right now. Love.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
-1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Quite simply, this is what love is. If what you see as ‘love’ doesn’t look just like this, then it is not love.
My daughter, I cannot bear to see you get hurt. But I know that you will be hurt, and it will take everything in my being not to go annihilate the thing or person or group of people that hurt you. I cannot bear to see you hurt. As your father, I will do everything in my power to keep you safe, but you will make mistakes that will cost you. I will always love you. No matter what you do, no matter where you go. I will always love you. And I will always be there for you to come back to.
I love you, my precious daughter.
Love, Chris Darius
Your Dad June 27, 2013