Saturday, July 26, 2008

A letter to my daughters (and all the daughters of the world.)

I have reached an age where I find myself concerned by the foolish optimism of youth in pursuit of true love. I have begun to dismantle the minefields of my youth and crawl through the wreckage in hopes of finding some gems to share with my children. Here are seven great gifts of building lasting and meaningful relationships with men. I hope they help you in pursuit of your dreams. I have learned them the hard way so you don't have too.

1) Truth has its just rewards. Don't be afraid to express love – because guys are dense and we just don’t notice that you care. Women are socially more aware then your average guy. Perhaps the biggest lesson of my short life is this. I have seen too many people settle for what they think they deserve and never express their true heart's desire. Life is too short to remain unspoken and what is the sense in being in the production anyway if you not going to have a main part?

2) The first five minutes of your relationship define the rest of your relationship. If he treats you like shit – he is never going to stop. He might pause, but the pattern will return. If the guy treats you disrespectfully on the first date – it’s not going to change. Move on... you are more important then any of that crap so just say no to assholes. To see how much a guy cares about you, watch what he does not what he says. Honestly a man will say anything and do anything when sex is involved. So why trust what he is saying. Watch how he acts. Does he express interest in you? Does he listen to you? Does he show you respect when around other people?

3) Nice guys are usually quiet. If you want to be with one - you are going to have to be more forward then you are comfortable with. An emotionally stable person is less aggressive, less pushy and in general nice to be around. When you fall for a nice guy and you have followed point one above, then you will need to do the parent test. What are their parents like? When you get married (or just settled living together comfortably) you will be surprised how quickly your boyfriend's personality reverts to the pattern of his early childhood parental example. Yes - they can escape the pattern - but are they really trying? You know - are they doing the work to unlock family emotional baggage or do they arrive in your long term relationship baggage intact?

4) If you’re serious about being in a good meaningful relationship, buildup your intention of what you want. Most people don’t do this, they don’t spend any time thinking about they want in a relationship and they end up with suffering the logical consequences. Buildup this intention when you are not dating so that you can have clarity for what you’re looking for in the next relationship.

5) Try to find guys who are a part of your social network or belong to a community. The average man is more aggressive and stronger then the average woman. (Obvious) However few people realize that it helps men to keep their aggression in check when they know that there is a social network or community keeping a silent eye on their relationship. Whether it is your high school graduating class, the village gossips, or your church choir. It really helps to build long-term relationships when the guy has to explain his actions to people outside the relationship. This means that you may want to look for guys inside certain social networks – church, school, village, nonprofits etc… Facebook does not count.

6) There are two disturbing tendencies with young women. They have tendency to attract assholes for dates and they have difficult time being alone. I wish you luck at overcoming these two realities of modern life. The truth is that given the modern internet world there is no reason for anyone – beautiful or not - to hang out with an asshole or be alone unless they want to. Given that the population of the USA is 304 million and that 150 million are guys, there are millions of guys in your age range. I think you might be better served by saying no to the assholes – as for how to identify them, I send you to point 2 above.

7) Do your homework - know yourself. Go to counseling – know God - grow up - find a faith - become deeper then everyone else you know. Move past the consumer blame-based culture we call America into the depths of adulthood. Practice using I statements whenever possible. For example - I feel, I want, I love, I care – instead of you statements – you – whatever. Join women’s circles and find strong positive women to hang out with. Quite smoking, at least cut back on the drinking. Take a self-defense class. Look in the mirror – straight in the eye and say “I love you” once a day till you believe it.

I have thought about this a long time and I hope you find these points helpful. Just know that you have the gift and the power to create the world you live in. I know that you may have spent the first 18 years of your life being told what you can not do - but just remember that you are of an age where limits are where you set them, not where others tell you they are.

One of your Fathers,

Eric Wolf

1 comment:

Ann Marie Newman said...

Hi Eric,
Love your letter! What wisdom it holds for all daughters of the world! My daughter, an only child, turned 18 on July 23. I shall have her read this. Thanks for sharing it. By the way, I'm a big fan of Storytellingwithchildren. It is inspirational, educational & enlightening.