Letter To My Daughter
You are growing up before my eyes, and it fills me with wonder and joy, sadness, and fear. I marvel at what a beautiful and kind little person you are becoming! Your smile and your bubbly energy can lighten the mood of a room in an instant. But I am also afraid of what this world will do to you as you journey further into it and away from my protective arms. How does a mother let her daughter spread her wings in the world as it is today?
Letter to My Daughter
Letter to My Daughter (2009) is the third book of essays by African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou. By the time it was published, Angelou had written two other books of essays, several volumes of poetry, and six autobiographies. She was recognized and highly respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and had become "a major autobiographical voice of the time". Angelou had no daughters herself, but was inspired to write Letter as she was going through 20 years of notes and essay ideas, some of which were written for her friend Oprah Winfrey. Angelou wrote the book for the thousands of women who saw her as a mother figure, and to share the wisdom gained throughout her long life.
Letter consists of 28 short essays, which includes a few poems and a commencement address, and is dedicated to "the daughter she never had". Reviews of the book were generally positive; most reviewers recognized that the book was full of Angelou's wisdom and that it read like words of advice from a beloved grandmother or aunt. One reviewer found the book's essays both homespun and "hokey".
I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish-speaking, Native American and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you.
Angelou came up with Letter to My Daughter, which became a New York Times bestseller, while going through old boxes of notes and papers full of concepts for future books and poems, which she called "WIP" ("Works in Progress"). She found twenty years worth of notes written to her friend Oprah Winfrey, and realized that she should put the essays they inspired into a book so that others could read them. Although she had no daughters, and gave birth to a son (Guy Johnson), which she called "the best thing that ever happened to me in my life", many women in Angelou's career looked to her as a mother figure. She wrote Letters to speak to those women and to share with them the wisdom she has gained throughout her long life. According to writer Gary Younge of The Guardian, most of the essays "end with the kind of wisdom that, depending on your taste, qualifies as either homespun or hokey". For example, she uses what has been called her most famous statement, when speaking of Cuban artist Celia Cruz: "We are more alike than unalike".[note 2] Although Angelou discounts the idea when he brings it up to her, Younge thinks Letter reads like an extended farewell; in her 500-word introduction she mentions death twice.
Letter consists of 28 "short epistles", which includes a few poems and a commencement address, and is dedicated to "the daughter she never had". Angelou thanks several women on her dedication page, which is divided into three groups. The first group of five women, which includes her grandmother Annie Henderson and her mother Vivian Baxter, she calls "...some women who mothered me through dark and bright days". The second group has only one name, Dr. Dorothy Height, "...one woman who allows me to be a daughter to her, even today". The final group is the largest, made up of 12 women, whom she calls "women not born to me but who allow me to mother them". The group includes Winfrey, Gayle King, her niece Rosa Johnson Butler, her assistant Lydia Stuckey, and gospel singer Valerie Simpson.
Jim Caldwell, the former head coach of the Detroit Lions, had a daughter who played collegiate sports years back. As a way to encourage her, he would write notes with short Scripture verses on them. Sometimes he would send along money as well. He hoped she would at least take a quick look at the note before moving on to the cash. When he went to visit her, he noticed some of the Scripture verses he had sent displayed on her playing shoes. Even more, when he went to her apartment, he saw every note he had sent on the back of her bedroom door.
Writing a letter to your daughter may seem like an old thing to do, but you can never underestimate the power of a heartfelt written message. Your daughter is your best friend, supporter, and well-wisher. You have bonded with her right from the time she was born. Even after she has grown up, your love for her has not changed. She is still your little girl who requires your love, attention, and support.
Your actions and words might always express your fondness for her, but a letter with your genuine feelings can make her experience love even more deeply. She will cherish your special gesture and treasure your letter for life.
This letter is a part of Egon Zehnder's Leaders and Daughters campaign to collectively inspire, cultivate and pave a better future for the next generation of female leaders. To see more letters or contribute your own, please visit www.leadersanddaughters.com.
Hopefully you won't read anything in this letter that you haven't already heard from me many times before. I've always tried to lead by example when we are together, so I will do the same in this letter by reminding you of a few thoughts that will help you navigate your incredible life journey ahead: Always be present, read the signs, stay in your lane and never back up more than you have to.
While I was pregnant I often wondered what kind of mother I would be and the thought of having a daughter, at times, scared me. I questioned my anxiety and quickly came to the understanding and truth that having a girl scared me because I was a daughter who was relentlessly trying to find herself. I hope to provide you with all my learnings so that I may guide you towards a path of acceptance, love and freedom.
From the beginning we met regularly, usually on Wednesdays at noon. We began publishing an attractive newsletter, always printed on 100 percent bond paper. A staff member, Catherine Snow, insisted that if we were going to do it, we would do it with style.
In this letter to her daughter, the author utilizes a journey map to anticipate some of the decisions and actions she will have to make and take in order to raise her as an antiracist co-conspirator. As a white parent to a white child, the author explores necessary moves towards racial literacy, rethinking obedience, and revisiting concepts of independence. She explores the way in which her parenting must be envisioned differently given this current COVID moment amidst the movement for Black lives.
As our daughter transitioned to female pronouns and a nickname, someone made an anonymous call to the Department of Children and Families, accusing us of child abuse for supporting her. We quickly learned that the progressive bubble was an illusion, and, in this Southern state with decades of Republican-appointed judges, we could lose custody, which would have wrenched our family apart.
This is beautiful!! Losing a parent at such a young age is so terrible. I have a letter my Dad wrote to me once and I cherish that letter with every fiber of my being! It reminds me every day how much he loved me, and enjoyed every second we ever spent together. Your daughter will be forever grateful for this sweet letter!!
Jane Russell retired from TD in June 2019, following an extraordinary career in both Canada and the U.S. During Jane's time with the bank, she was highly regarded as a talented leader with a focus on driving results and building winning teams. Jane's daughter Kiera, the recipient of this letter, is now 10 years-old and was recently declared cancer-free after battling Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.
It has taken me quite a while to bring myself to write you this letter. I write this to you now in the hopes that many years from now, with a lot of hard work, patience, and no small measure of luck, this will be a faint reminder of the past.
But times have changed. Our world has changed. And the Disney princesses I once knew have now become so much more to my 5-year old daughter. They are smart, fierce, brave, strong, independent. They are the future for our little girls who want be more, dream more, and achieve more than we could ever think is possible.
Teaching children about God is my #1 goal as a mom, and so this letter to my daughter was a great way for me to identify specific ideals I wanted her to learn about becoming a joyful woman who loves God.
Whether it's for her graduation, on the day your daughter leaves for college, on her wedding day, or other big celebrations such as first communion, I encourage you to write a letter to your daughter about how to be a strong Christian woman.
This love letter to our daughters is also a love letter from God about His tender love and wonderful purpose for their lives. I pray that you are encouraged by this love letter to my daughter about being a strong, joyful woman filled with God's purpose.
The number on thing I want to teach my daughter is how to grow closer to God. Teaching our daughters this incredible truth is the foundation for a healthy self-esteem and for helping our girls discover their beauty through His eyes!
Teaching our girls how to have a vibrant, purposeful, joyful life starts with teaching them how to have a daily relationship with God. I firmly believe that helping our daughters know how to have a daily quiet time with God is really the most important thing we can teach them!
It's never too late (or too early) to share these truths about how to be a strong Christian woman with our girls! Decide today what you want to teach your daughter about being a woman (I pray this letter to my daughter will give you ideas), and then be intentional! 041b061a72