A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.9 “Be a Sponge”

Dear daughter,

By now I have probably taken you to see the rural area where I grew up. Life is different there — my childhood looked a lot different from yours. There weren’t a lot of opportunities out there but I was very fortunate because grandpa had the means for us to travel, take classes, and just get out of the area occasionally. I knew there was a whole world out there and many of the people I grew up with never saw that. I’m not trying to put anyone down — I had a great childhood there. I just knew when it was time for me to leave.

Whenever grandpa made opportunities available for me outside of our rural area, he always told me to be a sponge and just absorb everything I can. He specifically said this before I left for my exchange year in Denmark. After spending some time abroad, I knew exactly what he meant and I was thankful for his advice. I took in as much as I could while I was in Denmark and it affected me greatly — it affects me to this day. Seeing a different way of life made me want to improve my own. 

So now I’m saying the same to you — be a sponge. You undoubtedly will have many different experiences growing up and I’m happy that we live in a diverse area with many opportunities. Definitely take advantage of that. Who knows where life will take you.

By the way, I am also secretly hoping you will get the chance to study abroad. It is absolutely life-changing.



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