Advice from Fathers to Daughters

100_4653I often find great websites and content by clicking on a random link on Twitter. I then tend to leave the tab open, letting what I read soak into my mind while pursuing other work.

Some could call this multi-tasking – but it’s much less conscious, much less directed. Perhaps it could be considered “creative”.

The other day as I scanned TweetDeck, the tool that I use to manage the vast chattering hoard that is Twitter, I noticed a link to a letter from F Scott Fitzgerald to his daughter. The eleven year old was away at camp, and her eloquent father had written to her to help her navigate where best she placed her energies. This list of things to worry about, things to not worry about, and things to think about I plan to share with my own girls.

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship…

Things not to worry about:
Don't worry about popular opinion
Don't worry about dolls
Don't worry about the past
Don't worry about the future
Don't worry about growing up
Don't worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don't worry about triumph
Don't worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don't worry about mosquitoes
Don't worry about flies
Don't worry about insects in general
Don't worry about parents
Don't worry about boys
Don't worry about disappointments
Don't worry about pleasures
Don't worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:
What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

I really love the last bit. It’s about purpose. It’s about our place in the world. And that’s something to seriously think about.

Comments

  1. Kirsty says:

    Fabulous. I love the “lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds” line.

  2. Gavin Heaton says:

    It’s quite wonderful is it not? Also love “worry about horsemanship”.

  3. Gavin,
    Love this… wouldn’t it be an amazing gift if we could somehow instill this in our daughters?
    I believe I am a little too late on the “don’t worry about boys” topic! ;-}
    Drew

  4. SR says:

    Thanks Gavin, for posting it, and Drew for tweeting it so I could find it in the “vast chattering hoard”. Every girl needs to hear it, even if they don’t listen at first.

  5. Matthew Gain says:

    Lovely post Gavin. Good stuff in here for us all – not just daughters.
    The one that stands out for me – don’t worry about people getting ahead of you.
    Must try to practice that one more regularly myself.

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