Our daughter is participating in her high school graduation tomorrow and I thought it might be good to put my thoughts down in a father’s letter to his daughter. I do not believe she is aware of this website or blog, but will certainly find it at some point. Sweetie, I hope someday you enjoy my letter and my best wishes for you as you move on to college and the rest of your life. I love you!
I can’t believe how fast the school years have gone by for you from my perspective. I can still remember when you were born – you gave us such as scare. You spent three weeks in an Intensive Care Unit with many complications. I can still see the image of you hookup up to all those live support machines. You have been a special girl right from you birth, doing things your own unique way on your particular schedule. I still have not figured out that schedule! I guess you will keep me guessing!
I am so proud of you and the progress you have made in your young life. You have quite the gift and talent for playing the trumpet. I know the various bands you are in appreciate your skill and own special style. You have been such a great daughter from a parent’s perspective, avoiding many of the struggles parents face with their children as they mature.
I have learned many things in my life that might be helpful to you. I know you have heard much of this before – I can see you rolling your eyes right now. I hope that you do come to appreciate the teaching and advice I have attempted to give you. Maybe one day you will truly appreciate the advice.
Here are a few things to consider.
It will take a while to figure out what you will do for a living. Don’t fret now that you have graduated high school. Very few people really know what they want to do in life until they try a few things and get additional training and education. The first, second, or third things you might wish to do for a living might not work out. Simply look at them for the benefit of the new skills and experience you have gained from the work. Try to find the good out of each situation and visualize how you can apply that in your next job.
Find something that you are passionate about. You will hear everyone tell you to follow your dreams. That is difficult advice to follow when the rest of the world gets in the way. It is hard to ride unicorns over rainbows while playing Xbox every day. It could be difficult making a living. Today you have a support group with your family to try a vocation that really interests you, regardless of the money. If you really want to pursue music, mass communications, radio, or any other interest, try it out for a couple years. It is not the end of the world to switch your major or job. It is far easier to do it now than when you are in your forties or older. What is important is to understand the big “WHY” you have some interests in your live. Take time to reflect on that, understanding your unique aptitudes, and what would be enjoyable to you.
Live Below your Means. I see you becoming successful in your life with work. I have imparted many money lessons over the years to you since that is one of my passions. I truly believe that everyone should have basic money skills. They should have a checking and savings account, a debit and credit card, and put away a percentage (at least 10% or more) toward their retirement beginning with their first job. Along the way it is important to build credit for the purpose of buying a home, often your most expensive item. I would plan to pay cash for your second most costly expense item, which is typically a car. Buy your cars used and drive them for years before you replace them. You will find that the further you live below your means, the easier your finances will be to manage in the future.
Take care of your health. Continue to be active, ride your bike, walk, and go to the gym. This is the only body you will have so you need to take care of it. You will have more energy and have a happy live with a happy body. As you get older, you will need to maintain your strength and begin to watch your diet more closely. I was just like you for decades of my life – tall and skinny. The skinny part is harder to maintain as you age and slow down your activities. Creating good habits now will be easier for you to maintain in the future.
It is a joy to spend time with you and joke around. I want you to know that you can reach out to me any time you want to talk or have a problem you wish to discuss. Believe me, I have made plenty of mistakes in my life and have learned some lessons – usually the hard way.
We look forward to seeing you and coming back to visit us in Sedona. I am so proud of you!
Love (have a good one!) Dad
PS: Sweetie I am going on the record now, that you were not adopted after all. Your mother and I did not pick you out at the orphanage! BTW, I let your sister aware of the fact she was not adopted last year at her wedding.
PPS: You are officially my favorite “college enrolled” daughter! It has been a long battle and competitive fight with your sister on achieving this favorite daughter status. Congratulations!
How about you, are there any readers out there with children graduating high school this year? Did you have any words of wisdom for them as they continue with their young lives?