This is a bit of a departure from my standard newsletter. I share a letter writing tradition with my daughters. Each year on my birthday, Christmas and Mother’s day, they write me a letter. I have a journal where I write to each of them. I promised to share it on their 25th birthday but occasionally I drop them a letter as well. Below is the letter I wrote this morning to my fifteen-old-daughter, Sophie.

All of the work we do as education advocates comes down to honoring children. Sometimes it is done at the global level through media, policy and leadership development. Other times, in quiet and subtle ways, it is done by simply taking care of ourselves and honoring our children and family.

Happy summer to you and your loved ones!


Dear Sophie,

I just wanted you to know that I am so proud of you. You are an extraordinary young woman: confident, creative, caring, bright, beautiful and BOLD.

I remember the day a couple of weeks ago when in frustration you shouted, “I’m different than everyone in this family, I don’t need to be perfect and I’m not going to work all of the time.” So young and yet 2015-05-23 18.21.45you know more than we do.

The purpose of your life is that you enjoy it. I hope you play and explore and even screw up sometimes.

You may be beyond taking your mother’s advice but if I could impart a few simple instructions, it would be these:

Breathe deeply
Smile, unless you feel like crying then do that instead
Remember to laugh and be silly; childhood should last forever
Live through your imagination
Do not accept Fear; it has a paralyzing effect
And Take care of others, especially those who are hurting and alone

It doesn’t matter to me what you do or don’t do. My love for you is unconditional. You are completely accepted and fully celebrated. Sophie, you are growing up so fast and I cherish every moment of your life.