Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Slice of Life: A Letter To My Daughters

On Tuesdays, the community of 
Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Join the incredible community by writing a snippet of life, or even join with just a comment or two. Everyone is welcome!

This morning I am writing a letter to my four daughters. I did not attend a march over the weekend. I could have, and I did make four pink hats for women who traveled to Washington--I am so grateful they went. There were people I knew who I could have met in my own community, could have even driven with. I talked to my girls about going. My older two are away at school-- one's in Italy, and one had a full day of sorority rush--so they got a pass. The younger two had full slates of activities.

Instead of attending, I stayed home and made soups. Four big pots of them. And I brought them to people I knew would appreciate them. While I like the decision I made, I am still compelled to write this letter.

We didn't attend on Saturday, but that doesn't mean there aren't more roles for us to take on as this new America gets rolling. You've grown up in a community with clean water, good schools, and respect for diverse cultures. You've grown up in a family with excellent health care and enough money for not only basic necessities, but also a lot of extra amenities, too. We have never had to think of those commodities as rights, but they are absolutely rights. And I've always taught you that with rights and privileges come responsibilities. 

Rights feel threatened now, so pay attention to some of the actions you can take:

  • Make phone calls. 
  • Participate in organized protests. 
  • Embrace your beliefs and be proud of them. Take time to wonder about the people who think you should keep your beliefs quiet and private. You shouldn't.
  • Pay attention to social media and the suggestions/invitations to get involved. Take on some of those tasks, and accept some of those invitations.
  • Give money when you can to groups that work for rights. 
Throughout your lives, I have taught you about practicing kindness whenever and wherever you can. While we can work hard to impact the governing institutions of our country, we always have the power to touch the lives at our fingertips. Know that ripples of kindness spread. Be the pebble that drops into the puddle or into the lake or even into the ocean and creates spreading circles all around it. Know the power of that pebble. 

While I want you to feel beautiful, I have worked hard at having the importance of beauty come behind kindness, smartness, and working hard. You are all kind, smart, and yes--beautiful-- hard workers. Use your knowledge and your gifts now more than ever.

It's easy to feel powerless right now. Do not. We are not. But we lose our power if we remain unaware, uninvolved, compliant, or quiet. 

I love you,

This letter will head out to my girls later this morning, as well as a link to Diana Leygerman's powerful post in which she writes about the ways women are NOT equal to men. If you haven't read it already, take a moment to read this: 

If you are an educator, you probably cannot encourage political activism, but you can promote kindness and you can teach about living with eyes wide open to the avenues and obstacles people face in our world, in our country, and in our communities. 

All good things,


  1. We are often thinking and reflecting on similar themes -- I did go but had many of the same feelings you did. I am struggling with the question if I have a right not to be political because I am an educator. Can I be both? I have always thought I could not -- know I am shifting my thinking or at least considering how to be both. Thank you for giving me more to think about --as always!!

  2. Wonderful letter penned to your daughters, Melanie-Spreading kindness in a world of dissonance is an absolute must!

  3. Thank you for this post! I feel quite sad that I did not march. But I think as educators we can encourage political activism, we just shouldn't tell them what to speak up for. Just to be active citizens!

  4. Beautifully written, Melanie, some important actions in our lives that everyone can do! I wrote about my granddaughters today, and staying with them while their mother marched. All of us are in this together!

  5. Beautiful letter, Melanie. Perhaps as educators we cannot encourage political activism, but we can and should teach others how to care for their fellow human beings, and to read and think and take a stand on what we think is important-things you do every day. A march is one day. These things make a difference each and every day.

  6. Well done, Melanie. Every day is a day for some sort of political activism. Our country depends upon it.

  7. Great post - well said - I did not march either, but I prayed for those who did and made chicken in a pot for a family in need of it!

  8. This is beautiful, Melanie. Your daughters are so lucky to have you as a mentor!

  9. This is a great idea, to write a letter to your daughters. We didn't march either, and now I regret that decision. The reasons feel lame now. Maybe I'd feel better if I wrote my girls a letter like this. The world I thought they were living, working, and thriving in is changing. They are fighters. I have confidence in them.

  10. "Be the pebble that drops into the puddle or into the lake or even into the ocean and creates spreading circles all around it. Know the power of that pebble."
    That message is one we can repeat over and over to kids when we can't talk about politics. Know the power of that pebble.