A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.12 “Sing” and “The Living World”

Dear daughter,

Sing. Turn on some music and sing. Even if you suck, don’t give fuck about what anybody thinks.

I want to sing, but I won’t. Someone told me I was a bad singer growing up, and I became very self-conscious. Maybe it was true but it was very hurtful, especially since I was so young yet already setting my sights on a career in music.

This made music school especially tough. I was required to sing in ear training classes. I did well in my classes, but barely. I felt awful. 

When our family celebrates birthdays, I will not sing “happy birthday” with everyone. I just smile and won’t make eye contact. This has gone on for years. I feel extremely awkward and I wish it wasn’t like that.

When you are in a situation where you know someone is self-conscious or struggling, lift them up — don’t tear them down. If someone is tearing you down, fuck ‘em. 

So daughter — fuck everyone else and sing. 





Dear daughter,

Today, you trampled my newly planted hostas and I nearly cried. I tried to hide how upset I really was but you picked up on it anyway.

Every morning in the summer I go outside and water all of our plants and flowers. This year we even have Norway Spruce seedlings which have been really fun to watch grow. Sometimes you join me in this daily ritual that I really enjoy.

I don’t think you meant to hurt the hostas and I know you felt really bad afterward. Hopefully, you will be more careful from now on. Plants are living things and watching their growth and life cycle is absolutely fascinating.

The living world around us is truly amazing and we must respect the environment we’re in. 

Maybe one day you will have my interest in plants. Maybe you won’t. Either way, I hope you will have picked up general respect for living things and this ever-changing planet that we are a part of. 



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