Prudent Advice

Life Lessons for My Daughter

Category Archives: Pain

#212 Remember that most fairytales were written by men.

Some of the greatest writers of children’s fables were male: The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, even Walt Disney. You are not a tiny princess awaiting rescue by a valiant man, a symbol of frailty and naïveté, or the punch line in a morality tale. The women in those stories were crafted by a different sex at a different time for a different audience; these days you slay the dragon yourself.

#210 Acknowledge inequity.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in The Declaration of Independence “All men are created equal.” Today, we interpret “men” to mean “people,” but at that time “men” was not intended to be inclusive of women, or even of men who were not white. Inequity existed 200 years ago, and it still exists today. Don’t let anyone tell you that everyone gets a fair shot. Be sympathetic to the disadvantaged and work hard to include them.

#159 You reap what you sow.

I have always found this aphorism to be deeply touching. I don’t believe it means you are responsible for all the good and evil you experience. Things will happen to you in this life that you do not deserve. I know there is random unkindness and pain that I won’t be able to protect you from. But if you plant little seeds of goodness wherever you can, and you work to reflect light onto them, you will find that with the warmth of your effort and attention, they will reap abundant rewards. These rewards won’t come wrapped in patterned paper, but they also won’t disappear. If you neglect these opportunities, or if you use them to plant seeds of anger or disillusionment, you will regret it. Life can be unfair, but your deeds repay you in kind.