Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.
John F. Kennedy
Teaching you to fear strangers would be cynical. The generosity of unknown people will ease your burden on many occasions. Instead, I want you to learn to gauge people’s intentions by listening to your gut instincts and recognizing subtle cues. Confidence in this skill will allow you to avoid the aberrant persons you encounter and embrace something much more common – the kindness of strangers.
These characteristics are universally appealing because they manifest an underlying order to our world. It’s comforting.
Wild Nights—Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
To a Heart in Port—
Done with the Compass—
Done with the Chart!
Rowing in Eden—
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor—Tonight
— In Thee!
Live a rich life textured with little extravagances. Eat the hot fudge brownie, buy the handmade dhurrie rug, lie in your flannel sheets all Sunday afternoon. Just remember that indulgence by definition is temporary gratification of a whim. Do it more than once in a while and you’re just a hedonist.
And tell them often. It’s a wonderful feeling to be reminded that you are loved.
This is a big idea, little girl, but I know you can handle it. I want you to realize that as you grow you take on responsibility. In the beginning, you are explicitly accountable for items like your toys and your schoolwork. As you age, your responsibility becomes more implicit, expanding to include intangibles like friendships and family bonds. Whether or not you want this responsibility, it exists; you have influence over everything that you touch. Because I believe so strongly that you are worthy of this responsibility, I want you to embrace it. You have the capacity to make moral decisions and are therefore accountable to your choices. Those choices and the example they set mean something to this world, without ambiguity. You are of great significance not only to me, but also to yourself and to the world at large, so act accordingly.
Just let go on occasion.