A Mother's Letter to Her Daughter Before She Ventures Out Into The World

Stephanie A. Griffin, Class of 2010 Lyman Hall High School

To My Dearest Daughter Stephanie,

When I took the "plunge," so to speak, one of the biggest motivators was a single, seemingly stupid question that someone had asked of me. "Where will you be five years from now?" At that time, I was having trouble with knowing where I will be “5 years from now”. I felt overworked and underappreciated. The thought of being in that same situation five years in the future (or worse, ten years) scared the living daylights out of me! It was also then that I knew it was time to stop building someone else's dream - and start building my own. I hope this makes sense.

My first thought was, "well, I have no idea... what does that have to do with anything?" And then it nagged at me for days before I graduated Hamden High School in 1987. I started thinking about where I was five years ago at that time. The answer clearly came to my thoughts; therefore I knew I had to face what we call change, meaning I was about to step both feet into the water after I received my High School Diploma and move forward to my future goals and education.

As you get older, you will come to realize that if you haven’t failed, you haven’t lived; leaving Life equals Risks. But when one fails, although they may feel hurt by another’s comment of criticism, the results is it empowers them to do more, show more and risk more. That is called courage. Sort of like a song that Helen Ready sang in a phrase “You can bend but never break me, because it only serves to make me more determined to achieve my final hour”. The following people are examples of determination:

There was a woman dismissed from Drama School, with a note that read; “you are wasting your time as you are too shy to put your best foot forward”. Her name is Lucille Ball.

There was a music group that was turned down by the Deca Recording Company that said “we don’t like their sound, their guitar music is on the way out”. That group’s name is “The Beatles”.

There was a failed soldier, farmer and real estate agent who at 38 years old, he went to work for his father as a handyman. His name is Ulyssus S. Grant.

There was an athletic boy who was cut from his high school’s basketball team. He went home, locked himself in his room and cried. His name is Michael Jordan.

There was a boy who was told by his teacher that he was “too stupid and he should go into a field where he may succeed by a virtue of his own pleasant personality”. His name is Thomas Edison.

Then there was a man who was fired from a newspaper because he was told he “lacked imagination and had no original ideas”. His name is Walt Disney.

Here is someone we are reminded of everyday. His fiancĂ©’ died, he failed in business twice, he had a nervous breakdown and he was defeated in date elections. His name is Abraham Lincoln.

Therefore, remember, if one hasn’t failed, one hasn’t lived; life equals risks. When one is rejected by another, there is another door waiting to take a grand opportunity that will lead you in the direction that you are meant to be walking in.

The most important values to always remember are listening to your heart, determination, gratification, concentration and inspiration; most of all keep faith in yourself.

You have proven your heart, your determination, your gratification, concentration and inspiration to the one who will always have faith in you. You have raised your wings, proudly accepted your place in The National Honor Society and Varsity Scholars. But since birth, you are my daughter and you are your own person as well.

Through your eyes, you will see a miracle that was given to me as your Mother. Your talent in song, your athletic ability, your value in education made what you are today in your recognitions. But your inner heart is who you are and always will be.

Spread your wings and fly. But just in case you break a wing, remember your wings will heal and you will fly even higher than before. Being your Mother is the greatest gift you gave to me. Someday you will be the one telling your children how proud you are of them, no matter what they do or where they go, you will be proud of them more because of who they are. Remember - love comes with no conditions.

With Love,
Your Mother