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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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