homework for daughters

Donegal, May12

Dear Girl1 and Girl2

Most mornings you head off to school with a variation of “Love you, work hard, have fun, be kind, see you later pet” ringing in your ears. Some days it’s full on, other days it’s a grunt and a hug from under the quilt. Every day, that’s what I mean to say.

There’s more too. I could go on. I often do.

You’re at school now, learning lines for the musical, all about negative numbers, what Vitamin C is good for and something about factors, whatever they are. All of those are important, the sort of things that schools are good at. You’re learning all day, every day. I never learned to play a tune, to hit a ball where I wanted it to go, or to pass a physics exam, but I’m still learning important things about life.

Tina Fey wrote a wonderful prayer for her daughter. I agree with every word of it. That won’t stop me adding more. I’ve made you a list- LOLsome, I’m sure- of things I don’t want you to forget. We all need to be reminded of them from time to time…

  • love, laugh and live life to the full
  • hugs are the business
  • you can’t get rid of your parents; no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try to run away, we’ll always be there. Even when we’re gone.
  • respect yourselves and others
  • be polite and mannerly
  • to know that no one is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than you are. We’re all just people, muddling through.
  • find the humour- it makes things easier
  • enjoy what you work hard at
  • make people feel comfortable in your company
  • make an effort- good things generally don’t just land at your feet by chance
  • value your own opinions
  • be guided, but not led
  • don’t add to the unfairness of the world
  • never be afraid to ask for help
  • generally, negotiation works better than nagging
  • campaign for social justice
  • sometimes you need to protest, to stand and be counted, to shout a bit louder
  • keep singing and dancing
  • wear a coat when it’s cold
  • remember that wellies are not the devil’s work
  • always, always, be there for your sister, no matter how irritating she is
  • be curious
  • make a list
  • bring a hot water bottle
  • vegetables are edible

I’ll probably keep adding to this, just to annoy you. Daddy may add things like “No, you can’t go out wearing that” and “You must support no other team but Spurs”.

You know us well. We continue to be amazed by you. Our people.

Now, go and do your homework- this is the stuff you get tested on every day in life. Get it right early on and you’ll be grand.



6 thoughts on “homework for daughters

  1. Some brilliant principles there. I especially like “….to know that no one is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than you are. We’re all just people, muddling through.” And yes, negotiation is better than nagging.

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