Maeann shares her childhood memories and the wisdom she has gathered with her future daughter.
“Being beautiful is accepting who you are.”
Dear Future Daughter,
I would love to teach you the games, stories, and songs from my childhood. I used to meet my friend at a playground to play outdoor games like tumbang-preso (slipper and a tin can), Chinese garter (Chinese jump rope), and patintero (a game similar to tag). We played jolen, syatong, and tagu-taguan.
I didn’t have many toys, but I had a clay pot I used for luto-lutuan, or pretend cooking. I climbed trees to pick fruit. I even made a treehouse to play in the branches.
I ran with my playmates in the rice fields during the summer. We picked up shells and caught small fish and crabs at a nearby seashore. I learned to ride a bike after several falls and lots of practice.
I still remember songs from my younger years, like “Ako Ay May Lobo” (I Have a Balloon), “Tong Tong Pakitong,” and “Magtanim Ay Di Biro.” I remember the stories I heard from my older aunt and uncle, like “Si Pagong at si Matsing” (the Turtle and the Monkey).
I would like to share all this with you, my future daughter. I would like to share the simple things that bring joy and connection. More importantly, I want to share with you the values I have learned in my life and how I have shifted to focus on things that are important in life today.
Your dad and I want you to know that you have the right to be born and to be cared for as you grow up.
We will support you in your education so you can develop and discover your talents and skills.
We will let you enjoy your childhood and protect you from any harm inside and outside the home.
We hope that you will grow up to be a responsible and free individual.
Remember this, daughter...
Physically, you are beautiful. Do not let others dictate to you what beauty should be. Being beautiful is accepting who you are. If others look at you as unattractive, that is not your fault. Every person has different views about being beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
You cannot please everybody. We have different backgrounds, different cultures, different beliefs, different languages, and different upbringings. Stand by what you know what is right. Don't think about what others would say.
Influence yourself with the right people. As you grow old, you will meet different people in life. Whether bad or good, they will develop and mold your character. But whatever happens, don’t let yourself lose your respect.
Expect challenges and adversity. We are living in an imperfect world. There are no perfect lives. There is no easy life. You will need to work hard for everything. You need to learn and study. You need to improve. When you fall, stand up. Do not lose hope in life.
Be humble and be wise. Whatever success you achieve in life, be humble. Wherever you go, be wise and do not be fooled.
Most importantly, have fear in God because fear in God is the beginning of knowledge.
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