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Letter to My Daughter: ‘Always Know Your Worth’

By Jay Hayden • June 14, 2013

Hayden with his daughter, Syanne

Dear Syanne,

People often say “Happy Father’s Day” as tradition with maybe a gift, card, and a simple I love you.  As you know, that never fails to put a smile on my face.  But the truth is you put a smile on my face every day, not just on father’s day.  You may not fully understand this letter today, but as you grow, you will understand every word.

To people looking in from the outside, it may appear that I spoil you by giving you too much.  I confess. I am guilty of this in some instances, but you, as well as I, know I do have my limits.  At 9 years old, I take you to the finest restaurants, open your doors, cook for you, play your favorite games, celebrate every holiday and occasion, talk to you, listen to you, encourage you, and hug, kiss and tell you I love you every morning before dropping you off to school.  I do this so that when you grow into the beautiful and strong woman you are destined to become, you will always know your worth and how you are supposed to be treated. Don’t accept anything less.

As your father, a music producer, recording artist, entrepreneur and EEO practitioner, not only do I witness and know that woman are subjected to more discrimination than any other protected group in the world, a part of my job is to manage the law and process that prohibits this type of behavior.  Sy, I always tell you that no one should be treated lesser than and unequal to, that means you too. Always know your worth.

I love you,


Jay Hayden, CEO of J World Records, is a Washington DC native and self-contained Recording Artist, music producer and professional EEO Practitioner. As a music producer, he works in national television broadcasting with recent production placements on networks such as Fox and NBC.

Letters From Dad: Father’s Day Advice from Famous Dads to Daughters

By Lean In • June 14, 2013

To celebrate Father’s Day, LEAN IN teamed up with TIME to ask pops to write open letters to their daughters. The responses were equal parts heartwarming (Aaron Sorkin: “Once I saw you sit down next to a kid who was eating lunch all alone—always be that person”) and hilarious (Tom Brokaw: “Sarah, we’ll always have that New Year’s eve where I encountered your boyfriend walking through our house, drinking my precious magnum of Dom Perignon straight from the bottle”).

On this Father’s Day, we encourage you to remember this: children do better with active dads. They have higher cognitive abilities, do better professionally and are healthier and better adjusted. We need to encourage more men to lean in at home. To sit at the table — the kitchen table.

Below, personal messages from Marco Rubio, Mario Lopez, Rahm Emanuel and many more.

Aaron Sorkin to Roxy: ‘Be Brave’

Bassem Youssef to Nadia: ‘Smash Your Fears to the Ground’

Bruce Jenner to Kendall and Kylie: ‘Fear Is Part of the Game’

Chuck Schumer to Jessica and Allison: ‘You Can Do Anything You Want’

Ethan Hawke to Maya, Clementine and Indiana: ‘My Mother Raised Me a Feminist’

Jerry Jones to Charlotte: ‘Your Confidence Sold the Deal’

Joe Klein to Sophie: ‘Trust Yourself’

Marco Rubio to Amanda and Daniella: ‘Reach for the Stars’

Mario Lopez to Gia: ‘Be Tough’

Michael Bloomberg to Emma and Georgina: ‘Competitiveness Runs in the Genes’

Michael Buckley to Kendall and Morgan: ‘I Want You to be Feminists’

Rahm Emanuel to Ilana and Leah: ‘Follow Your Hearts’

Richie Sambora to Ava: ‘I Wish You Love and Empowerment’

Rodrigo Garcia to Isabel and Ines: ‘There’s a Cocoon for Young Women’

Tom Brokaw to Jennifer, Andrea and Sarah: ‘I Learned More From You Than You From Me’


Joe Echevarria: ‘Make Your Own Choices, Live Your Own Life’

Ric Elias: ‘Remember to Question the Status Quo’

Jay Hayden: ‘Always Know Your Worth’

Frank Tataseo: ‘You’rethe Artist and Author of Your Future’

Jim Breyer: ‘You Will Make Enormous Impact’

Jason Sperber: ‘You Are Powerful. Know This In Your Heart.’


Letter to My Daughter: ‘You Are Powerful. Know This In Your Heart.’

By Jason Sperber • June 14, 2013

Sperber with his daughters, Lucy and Emi

To my amazing daughters on Father’s Day,

Although you are only eight, Lucy, and you are only four, Emi, every day I see you becoming more and more yourselves. I look at you, Lucy, practicing your cartwheels until they are perfect or devouring book after book and writing in your journal, and I watch you, Emi, singing made-up songs at the top of your lungs and dancing across the living room with joy and abandon, and I see the confident, strong individuals I want to help you become. More than anything, that is my job as your father, to give you the guidance, support, freedom, and love to be who you are and who you want to be.

It isn’t always easy, and I’m not always good at it. I get frustrated more than I wish I did. I yell more than I wish I did. When we butt heads, it is because I see my own insecurities reflected in yours, and I get scared that I will accidentally nurture those rather than the beautiful strengths I see within you cautiously learning to breathe and stretch and grow.

Your mother and I want you to see the world stretched out before you, want you to see all the possibilities and potentialities and not be afraid of them, want to you be excited by your own abilities to shape your worlds, to change your futures, to make things right and better and beautiful. It’s why your mother is a family doctor, working for the health of both her own patients but also larger communities as well. It’s why I was a teacher, and it’s why I write. And it’s why we wanted to bring you both into this world.

You are young, and you are small, but you are growing, and you are powerful. Know this, in your hearts, if nothing else. Even when you doubt it, or are scared or unsure, you are amazing, and you are never alone. Your mother and I love you, and you are our love projected out into the world. Just as you are exploring and learning and making mistakes, so am I, as your father. But as your father, I am also doing all I can to make sure that you know that all of that is okay.

When you both were born, you made me who I was always becoming. A father. Your father. And you, my girls, my amazing girls, are becoming who you are meant to be. I will help when I can, and get out of the way when I need to. But I will always, always be here, watching, amazed at who you are becoming.

Jason Sperber is the stay-at-home-dad of Lucy, 8, and Emi, 4, and the husband of family doctor Michelle. In previous lives, he has been a high school teacher and a newspaper social media manager. He blogs about fatherhood at daddy in a strange land and is also co-founder of Rice Daddies, a group blog by Asian American dads. He lives and writes in Bakersfield, California, and tweets as @dad_strangeland.

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