This is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to my son when his second princess was born on September 8th 2013. She subsequently transitioned to be with our maker May 8th 2014 (R I P my darling). I am working on writing about that traumatic yet beautiful experience but it is very difficult, so for right now I am sharing this. I hope it will resonate with all the dads out there especially the young ones.
I am writing to you with my heart overflowing with love today. I felt like I was there with you in spirit throughout T’s labor. It was just a joy to me when our little princess arrived. I had a bad migraine throughout the labor and felt a strange shift in my womb a few minutes before you called to tell me she was born. The migraine disappeared after you called. It is now 6:05pm my time and I have so much that I want to tell you. I came up with a few things that I hope you will adopt to help make your children the best that they can be and give them a head start in this rough game called life. Here goes:
1. Treat their mother with love, care and respect and they will not accept less from any man or anyone. Never speak badly about her in their presence it will damage their self-esteem and self-worth. They are a part of her.
2. Form a strong and loving family unit where they can rely on your presence. They need two loving parents in their home who shows them it is possible to have a loving family and home. I know fathers that are excellent providers and good men but messed up in some aspects of being a father, like teaching their sons to be men and their daughters how to recognize and choose good men. These things are taught by example not words. Don’t make those mistakes. Those men love their children but left holes in them that cannot be filled as we cannot change the past.
3. Tell your girls they are beautiful, smart and important every day, several times a day if you can. They will believe you even if others tell them they are not.
4. Read to your children every day, yes I am including the new baby. It develops their listening skills, imagination and thirst for knowledge and we know that knowledge is power. Make your girls powerful.
5. Always use positive words and a loving tone of voice when you speak to them. You can discipline without shouting or hitting. You just have to start early. This will make them respect you. Respect is far more effective than fear.
6. Hold their hands and teach them to form letters and even when they do a horrible job encourage them with positive reinforcement. Say “that is really good princess but if you practice it will get even better.” I am so proud of you.
7. Use your daily experiences in your home and on the road to teach them colors, shapes, animals, things etc. It will be fun and easier for them to learn. You will be surprised at how quickly they will grasp what is in books from this form of teaching.
8. Treat everyone the way you want them to treat you and your children and if you can’t treat some people like that, there is a reason, so stay away from them.
9. Teach them that whatever their minds conceive they can achieve and always encourage them to dream big. Instill in them that word without work is just words.
I leave you with one of the first quotes we were taught at school in Jamaica. I know you know it but I am not sure if you ever absorbed the meaning of those words.
“The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Blessings & Nuff Love.