A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.2 “Help Others” and “Follow Your Own Path”

Happy Halloween! My husband, the magician, and daughter, the kitty witch:

Here are the next two letters in my series, A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter.


Dear daughter,

It’s important to help others and your community. You can try to save the world, but please realize there are people in need right here in your hometown. Big causes are important, but neighbors need to help neighbors. Wherever you are, people are meant to help other people. We are all connected through our basic needs and wants. Always remember we are more alike than different. 

We don’t help others in god’s name — we don’t do it in anyone’s name. Some religions use charity to prey on the vulnerable, but it’s important to treat others with respect. Practice empathy. Life is fragile and we could easily be in someone else’s shoes. 

We help others because we’re good humans, and that’s what good humans do.




To my daughter with so much potential,

I am so excited to one day see the person you’ll become with interests and passions that make you uniquely you.

Explore and try new things, but if you don’t know what you want to do when you graduate high school, that’s okay. You have time. I wanted to be a mother and writer and I didn’t figure that out until I was in my 30’s. The 18-year-old me could have never predicted what the 30-year-old me would want even though I thought it all figured out by my high school graduation. I was kind of crushed when things didn’t go as planned. There were definitely unexpected twists and turns but I’m happy where I’m at. 

As far as finding a partner, dad and I followed a pretty traditional path. We dated for a couple of years, got married, and a few years later had you. We also went to college and bought a house before you came along.

Please don’t feel like you have to follow in our footsteps. You don’t have to be interested in the same things as others in our family. Do what makes you happy. You can have a fulfilling life without a spouse or children. You don’t have to buy a house. Education is important but there are other options than just a traditional college.

Life is short so make the most of it. You don’t have to live up to someone else’s expectations. Set your own goals and milestones and make your life your own. Don’t let anything hold you back.



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