This is a rough draft of a letter I am planning to give to my daughter on her 12th birthday. She is this cute athletic blonde who is bound to turn some heads in the coming years. She currently has a strong sense of morality, and I want it to stay that way.
I want to start off by telling you how much your mother and I love you. We are impressed by the progress which you are making. You are very intelligent, kind, and caring to those around you. We want the best for you, and will do all in our power to see that you can achieve that.
You have a divine potential. Romans 8 states, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Think about it, we are heirs of God, if worthy, we will be given what God has after this life. However, with this great opportunity comes great responsibility. As you go through life, you will have many trials and temptations which will be tough to go through, but will serve to your good if you follow God’s plan and overcome them.
As you enter your teen years, there will be many boys who will look your way. They will tempt your and shower you with attention to curry favor from you. Be careful, many will try to manipulate you into giving your virtue to them. This is something you cannot take back. For this reason, your mom and I are going to forbid you from dating until you have reached the maturity necessary to avoid being manipulated (age 16). At this time, we will encourage you to date to learn social dating skills, but would encourage you to date only moral young men. To be safe, date in groups, and keep an open mind while in your youth. Dating exclusively while young can limit opportunities to meet new individuals and may lead to transgression.
As you get older and into your early 20’s, you will be on the path to go to college and/or serve a mission. At this time you should be looking for a spouse. This is the time when you will be most attractive to the guys around you. Many women throughout today’s society use this attraction to gain attention and resources from men. Do not be tempted into this trap. The guys will give you the attention, but this attention is short lived and fleeting. They will use you, and not respect you. Then, once your looks and virtue fade, you will be left alone or have to settle for some guy who is not worthy of the potential that you now have. Your potential will be erased if you follow that dark path.
However, if you use this relatively short time of high attractiveness wisely, you will find a good man who will dedicate his life to you. Make sure he is the right man. Ask yourself if he has his act together, if he is trustworthy, and if he can lead effectively without being a tyrant. Treat him well, as he will be giving you his time, talent and resources. As you do so, you two will grow together and have a wonderful family.
While being a full time mother is best, this is not always possible. For this reason, you need to be prepared. Gain skill and knowledge that you may use in the workforce. Whether in college or vocational school, get a degree that has value in the marketplace, and avoid useless degrees which do little other than teach the evil doctrines of the world. Even if you do not use the degree in the workforce, you will use the education you learn in your role as wife and mother.
When you get older, know your value as a wife and mother. Your duties cannot be successfully delegated to day care, schools, or babysitters. Your children are yours and your husbands, you will know them and love them in a way that no one else can. Your influence during the crucial early years is will shape your children’s character.
At the same time, the role of a husband and father cannot be successfully delegated to others either. You cannot do it alone, and neither can he. As such, do what you can to maintain a strongly bonded, healthy marriage. He will have the role of leader, provider, and protector. You will have the role of support, nurturer, and helpmeet. While we can take on the other roles, we are not best suited to do so, especially if we have to fulfill our own roles at the same time. Divorce is a terrible scourge on society, and brings unhappiness to all those involved, especially if you have children. Please, do not divorce for anything but serious abuse or adultery.
Try to stay home for your children. President Benson said “The seeds of divorce are often sown and the problems of children begin when the mother works outside the home. You mothers should carefully count the cost before you decide to share breadwinning responsibilities with your husbands”. Even if you are struggling financially, you will have a happier family if you stay home and fulfill your duty was wife and mother.
All the success in the world measures little compared to the success in your family. When we go to visit Grandma on Thanksgiving, and you see her being loved and adored by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, you know that is the best source of happiness. Not only is that happiness here on Earth, it has an eternal prospective. It is something you cannot get from the things of this world. I hope and pray that you will keep yourself on that path so you can have the fullest of blessings that God, your mother, and I can give to you.