Letter to My Daughter
I know what you are thinking as you roll your eyes and shake your head, “Here she goes again…telling me something I already know or something that she thinks is so important for me to hear.” You are right. We probably have talked about it before and we will talk about it again, because I know that you and your friends are always talking about it. And it is important for you to hear how I feel, so just hear me out one more time. I only have this conversation with you because I love you so much.
I know that the pressures from your friends – to smoke, to drink, to try drugs, to have sex – are intense. I know that you have been listening to me all these years, with all the talks we’ve had. But they have you more hours of the day than I do. You hear their opinions more than you hear mine. So, I worry. It is only because you are important to me.
I want you to respect yourself. You have value beyond your imagination. There isn’t a man alive that is worthy of your value, but some day you will settle for one that comes close and I can accept that. In the mean time, beware of all those who flash their smiles and use pretty words to turn your head. They believe that flattery will get them everywhere; prove them wrong. I realize that they will make you think that they won’t ever ask you out again if you don’t do what they ask, but if that is the truth, then you are better off without them. When they pressure you to have sex, they are only thinking of themselves and the urges of their bodies. They are not thinking of you, your future, their future. They are only thinking of the moment. Respect yourself and say, “No.” They may not ask you out again, but I can promise you this – they will look at you as you walk by and know that you are not easy and that you value yourself. A part of them will know that there is no point in asking you out, because you have proven that you are too good for them.
Do not “settle” for any man. Make yourself a list of all the qualities that are important to you in a boyfriend. No quality is too big or too small. Let these be the things that you dream about, the qualities that would make you feel special, loved. Place that list somewhere special – in your jewelry box, tucked in the back of your diary – and whenever you meet someone and you think that he is “the one”, compare him to that list. If you find that there are qualities that he does not possess, do not settle. [Of course, there are always exceptions. If we are talking about the one that says, “Doesn’t mind watching chic flicks at the movies.” then you can settle. If we are talking about the one that says, “Never pressures me to drink”, there is no room to settle!] He may seem oh-so-perfect, but that one quality may be the one that you just cannot live without. Let him down easy and move on. You deserve to find the one that will complement you perfectly and who will value you completely.
Do not accept insulting, humiliating, or demeaning behavior from anyone that claims to “love” you. We do enough things in our life to embarrass ourselves. Those who love us should be trying to protect us from such pain, not trying to bring it upon us. If they use you at any time to get a laugh from others, they are not worthy of your company. Ditch them! Likewise, do not endure verbal, emotional, or physical abuse. In the event that anyone should try to subject you to such behavior, find someone you trust and ask for help immediately! It is difficult to remove yourself from someone who has gained any amount of control over you by abuse. However, once you have stood up and asked for help – from a parent, a guidance counselor, a teacher, a friend, an authority figure – then the path of escape becomes clear and is much easier to travel since you are not going it alone. Do not tie yourself to an abuser. Allow those who you know love you to help you escape.
Finally, sex is not love. You are not going to “prove your love” with sex. The line, “If you love me you’ll have sex with me” is a lie! Sex is not going to make you worthy, or loved, or valuable. You already are worthy, lovable, and valuable. When you find the one that sees that without putting strings upon it, you will find out that sex is not the main course, but rather the icing on the cake. Save it for a special time with a special person who has already proved their love for you in other ways. Commitment proves love. Fidelity proves love. Honesty and respect prove love. Sex is in no way a qualifier for love.
I know, your friends are meeting you at the mall in fifteen minutes and you have to go. I am just happy that we had this little bit of time together. Be safe; you girls stick together and don’t talk to strangers. Tell Jenny to let her mother know I will call her tomorrow. Be home for dinner. And rest assured, we will have this talk again some day soon.
I love you, sweetheart.
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