Alright girls? It’s me, Dad.
You’re in your teens now so there’s a 50% chance you’ll love me and a 50% chance you’ll hate me. I don’t know which one it is right now, but I fancy my odds.
I’m writing to you because right now, the world is a bit of a shit-storm.
Yes, I can swear at you now because let’s face it, you’ve heard far worse from your mates at school.
I’m writing this to you because there’s so much going on right now, most of which you’re not even aware of. This is stuff you’ll learn about in a history class years from now, stuff you’ll look back on and think “wow, that happened in my lifetime”.
I can only hope that, years from now, the world is all butterflies and rainbows. I’m just not sure it will be. So with that in mind, I’d like to help by giving you a few bits of advice courtesy of your old man.
Right now, in our world, there’s a lot of people struggling. I know, doesn’t sound like the best subject to start with does it? However I feel it’s important that you know that everybody has things they are dealing with. Sometimes, the happiest-looking people in the world have demons they hide from the rest of the world. You will grow up idolising musicians, actresses, maybe even social media influencers…but I would also like to help you look at the best versions of yourselves to ensure you don’t use all your positive energy and leave nothing at all for yourselves.
There’s 6 years between you both, so one of you is going to reach your teenage years long before the other. I want you, my first teenager, to be a positive role model for your younger sister…she already looks up to you so much already. But please, I would love you to be able to talk to me if the pressure gets too much. There is so much pressure on young people these days, more than there ever was when I was that age. Please don’t struggle alone. I know we’re your parents and we’re not meant to be cool, but we’ll always be there for you.
Please, don’t be afraid to express yourselves. I won’t lie, there are some nasty people in the world who might decide to make it their sole intention to bring you down. Let me help you rise above those people and help you see that you matter so much to so many more important people than those who set out to hurt you. I promise you, as embarrassing as I might be sometimes, your Dad will always have your back.
You’re living through a few things right now. A global virus, protests, oppression, racism, sexism, gender issues…..I’m sort of so glad you have very little idea what’s going on.
Right now, the world is kind of ruled by the media. Social media websites, news around the clock, gossip magazines etc. I won’t lie, it’s practically impossible to ignore these. I hope you understand why we won’t be subjecting you to these sort of things until you’re ready. We might seem like squares and I don’t care if your mate Georgia has an Instagram account at 14 and Mia has been “Youtubing” since she was 11….you’re not having either of those until we can be sure you’re safe with it and you know what you’re doing.
I know this sounds ironic coming from a man, but please be wary of us. Unfortunately, we make a lot of mistakes sometimes…I made a fair few when I was a little bit older than you two and I do regret that and look back on them unfavourably. I want you to make mistakes, to learn and to grow; so long as we can help you fix them together. However there are a lot of those out there who will not see them as mistakes. A lot of boys your age or older will look at a teenage girl and come up with either horrible ideas or make numerous assumptions, often hiding behind a false alias or anonymous profile. It’s too easy sometimes. Please don’t fall into the trap. Trust your instincts and listen to the voices in your head which advise you to be careful.
Take calculated risks and live your life a little but at the same time, know you’ve always got a safe and secure home to go to. We will do our best to accommodate your friends, so long as you are honest with us and as long as they don’t get embarrassed by my god-awful dad dancing and attempt at making jokes; I’m not trying to drive your friends away, but I wouldn’t blame you if you thought I was acting like a bit of a knob. This is part of who I am, I guess!
Just know that I absolutely love the bones of both of you. I wouldn’t be writing to you if I didn’t care; I make more mistakes as a person and parent than I am proud of but I will always, always care about you. My heart is in the right place.
I can’t wait until you both get older and I can teach you the ways of the world and share useless knowledge with you, help you with your homework and stay up late with you and watch the same crap together on TV (if you ever want to come out of your bedroom to hang out with me).
I know the world is a scary place sometimes and luckily you haven’t had to experience much of it at the moment; but as you grow older and become more aware of the way the world works I want to keep you safe, protect you as best I can and make you happy in my own little way.
Always here for you both.
(as much as you’d like me to be anyway)