To my dearest Lily,
You won’t see this letter until you are much older, but the sentiments will remain.
When I met your mom, I didn’t think I could love someone as much as I love her. Until we had you. You have made my life wonderful in ways I could never have imagined. You are kind, funny, generous, considerate and smart. You are beautiful inside and out and my heart swells with every accomplishment you make. I couldn’t be more proud of you.
But alongside this pride, I have great shame. I have brought you into a world I am greatly embarrassed for, and I have lied to you. The love and safety we have in our home is not a true reflection of how the world currently works. The world is beautiful as your mom and I have taught you, but it is also full of unspeakable evil. Evil I am terrified you may encounter. Humans are capable of great things, but we are also capable of great unjust.
Hate is now as commonplace as love. People hate because they disagree with others. They hate other people because they are of a different sexual preference. They hate because others follow religion, the wrong religion or no religion at all. They hate based on skin color or nationality. The features and traits that make us unique and interesting make us targets. Gunmen are storming schools, workplaces and public events and we’re doing nothing about it. Countries commit genocide and we do nothing about it. Women are raped and our justice system blames them for being in the wrong place. War, famine, corrupt politics, the list goes on. We’ve become a black or white society. “You’re either with me or against me”. “You are my friend or my enemy”. “I am right and you are wrong even when I am wrong”. People used to talk. People used to listen. People used to value opposing opinions. There is a whole world of grey we avoid like the plague.
Lily, the world’s biggest failure is communication. I teach you to use your words, to tell me what you need and want. That you will never be punished for being honest and open with me. But we as adults can’t follow our own directions. Gun crime in the US is at epidemic proportions. But we can’t talk about it. You’re either an NRA right wing gun nut who doesn’t want a single civil right trampled on or a left wing tree hugging hippy pacifist that wants to strip away all civil liberties. But if we searched deep inside we must know there is a middle ground that can be reached and that many of us don’t fall into either label. We can agree to disagree. We can live with different religions, races and beliefs and we can do it in peace.
Hatred isn’t genetic. We’re not born hating. You were not born hating. It’s conditioned and taught. It is taught by families, friends, communities, school, politics, news, media, history and religion. But what we learn, in time we can unlearn. Lily, you have my word that I will never condition you to hate. I will teach you to see beauty where others only see darkness and maybe you can teach others to see the same beauty. If enough people start to see the same beauty maybe the balance can shift. I don’t think we are past saving.
All any reasonable adult can hope for is to leave the world in a better way than they found it. Be it through being a teacher, a doctor, a scientist, an artist, an entertainer, a friend, a parent, philanthropist or any number of ways. But also through our children. I’ve tried to be a good person. I try not to hate. I don’t rape, kill, discriminate or oppress. I create, love, laugh and learn, but my greatest gift to the world is you. For as much as the world scares me at times, I have gifted it the most valuable thing to me. You. My generation has failed to right the ship. I hope your generation can bring about the peace mine could not. I want you to live in a world where our words are not replaced with bullets, where you can be celebrated for being who you are. I don’t know if you will grow up straight, gay, religious, atheist, liberal, conservative, but know I will love you no matter what. I just want you to be the best person you can be. If the world has more people like you in it, I think it is in good hands and maybe, just maybe everything will be okay.
Love always, Daddy
*not edited for content.. Ignore spelling and grammatical errors.