I have a great deal of friends who have had babies recently or are about to have them (Good luck Amber), and that has led me to thinking about how I would raise a child. I have no intention of having a kid anytime soon (certainly not before this project is finished), but that doesn’t mean I don’t have thoughts on parenthood. After all, what is the point of making mistakes if not to pass on the lessons learned to the next generation?
If someday I do reproduce, I imagine it will be a girl. I obviously have no say in that, but that’s just the way I picture things (and I’m pretty good at predicting my future). So these are the nuggets of wisdom I would pass on to her, from father to daughter.
And, hey, maybe a son could use some of this, too.
Advice for a Hypothetical Daughter
I don’t care if you’re straight or gay. You shouldn’t either.
If you are straight, you will compare every man you meet to me. I apologize for setting the bar so low.
Don’t fall for the first guy or girl who holds a guitar, or a pen, or your attention. Make sure they know what to do with it first.
Be a skeptic, not a cynic. The latter doubts because she has lost all hope, the former questions because she still has it.
Not all guys or girls like a smart woman. So get used to some people not liking you.
Being pretty matters in this world. Maybe it shouldn’t, maybe it’s unfair, but it does. However, ‘pretty’ is something you are, not something you become, so don’t stress so much about your make-up.
You can be skinny and you can be big. You can be too skinny and you can be too big. The difference is how much you think about food.
The world will have different expectations and standards for you because you are a woman. Good. Because if you exceed them, you’ll already be head and shoulders above every man you meet.
It’s okay to strive to be better than the rest, but it is never okay to hold someone else down. There’s no point being at the top by yourself.
Figure out what you enjoy doing most in life. Would you still do it if you couldn’t make a dime at it? If yes, do it. If no, keep looking.
Being married and having kids doesn’t mean you have to give up on your personal dreams. If you choose to stay home because raising kids is your dream, don’t let anyone tell you that you’ve given up.
I can be angry, disappointed and upset with you, and still love you.
Please don’t test that last one.
No amount of advice can ever fully prepare you for life. Only living can. And literature.
Don’t fault your genetics for your shortcomings. But if you feel unprepared for life, you can blame me.