Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Letter to My Niece

African Assortment
Recently, I was asked by one of my nieces to write a letter for her "Me Book" - something she had been assigned to create in class.  This is what I wrote.

October 2012 

Elephant Cheeks
I am writing this during a chaotic time for our country.  And I keep thinking about the young women in my life and what I’d like for each of you.  I want you to grow up in a Society where your work is equally valued as that of a man and you are in charge of your own body.   There needs to be a safety net that can catch you if you stumble and fall.  Most of all, I want you to live in a Society that embraces diversity and revels in the strength that brings us as a nation.

You may have noticed that this is typed and not handwritten.  I am a person who treasures the freedom a keyboard gives me to write, to edit, and to write again.  It is true that I grew up in an era where we put pen to paper.  I progressed in school from print to cursive and learned to type on both manual and electric typewriters.  I didn’t get my own computer until I was in my 30s and now I can’t remember what my life was like before I had one.  It amazes me that things I used to spend hours researching in card catalogues and on microfiche can now be found with a few well-crafted search terms and Google.  It was a foreordained conclusion that this letter would be typed.  And that was before I fell off a chair, broke my wrist, and acquired a pretty blue cast.

Cheetah Brothers
But enough about me – this letter is supposed to be about you!  It is after all going into your “Me Book.” 

So, I have this Board on Pinterest that is called Words to Live By and I’m gathering quotes that I really like.  There are any number that would fit this letter but I really, really like Christopher Robin’s advice to Pooh.

Always remember…

You’re Braver than You Believe
How does this translate to you?  No, it’s not about the spiders!  It’s about taking a deep breath and moving ahead even when you are afraid or just a tiny bit nervous.  It’s about being you even IF that makes you different from everyone else around you.  It’s about standing up for what you believe to be right.  Embrace your life – for that is what it is, your life. 

Live It.  Love It!

You’re Stronger than You Seem
Step into the Fire
The great thing about Winnie the Pooh is that he always managed to get out of whatever kerfuffle he found himself in.  That’s because he had inner strength.  Draw on your inner strength in times of adversity – it will see you through.  Do you remember that first time you trusted yourself on a bike with out training wheels?  Dove head first into the water?  Gave an oral report in class?   You may not believe this but those all required strength.  They required a will to succeed.  They required you to believe, “I can do this.”

Yes you can.  You can do whatever you need to do.  You are strong.

You Are Smarter than You Think
OK, this is not meant to say that you are smarter than everyone else around you!  A part of being smart is knowing that we each bring different strengths to the table.  Being smart is as much about knowing what your own strengths are.  In a nutshell, being smart enough to know who you are.  Right now, you are knee deep in learning.  Make sure to press your teachers so that you learn how to think critically.  Teach yourself to break information down and put it back together again.   Knowing facts is great – knowing how to put them together is another thing altogether.  Making the leap to a new idea or a new way of seeing an issue or to creating a piece of art?  Priceless!

I have another Board on Pinterest, iLive that is a random collection of things – bits of flotsam and jetsam from my life.  Sayings I like.  There is a Zen saying there – “Leap and the net will appear.”  Remember that when you are contemplating an adventure, picking a college, deciding whether (and WHO!) to marry, deciding whether to have kids – most importantly when deciding how to live your life.

There are a few things that Christopher Robin did not tell Pooh that are REALLY important for you to know.

Always remember to find the fun in every moment.  Remember to laugh at yourself.  Remember that the most important words for you to live by are:

“I am me and I love who I am.”

Lions of the Serengeti

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