Dear Daughters…

My 4th daughter just called me from college. We laughed, cried, and commiserated. I miss her. So bitter sweet. I raised her up strong and equipped to go. She went- just like she was supposed to. God blessed me with 4 daughters; now 27,25,22,and 18; together they have given me 92 cumulative girl years of mothering and great joy. Each is unique, and each part of an intricate, detailed family puzzle that is complete only when all these unique pieces are interlocked into the overall portrait of life. I am the table upon which the puzzle is put together. I dug up this old “Words of advice” letter to my second daughter, who is now a medical student and married. Thanks go to her high school GT English teacher Ms. Jan Ross for the assignment over six years ago. Our country is weary now from the divisiveness and fundamental transforming of what makes America great that has been going on nonstop in these 6 long years. I am weary. But my hope lies in these young women who will carry the torch of freedom and exceptionalism into the next generation. While much has changed, my advice to them hasn’t. I submit to them once again my twenty top tips for a young woman starting college. Dear Daughters…

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Dear Heidi,

Hamlet is the last of Shakespeare’s works you will study in high school, so it is only fitting that I offer you some words of advice as you prepare to leave for college, just as Polonius offered his famous advice to his son, Laertes, as he prepared to leave on his travels; “To thine own self be true”. In your case, Heidi, I whole-heartedly concur with Polonius, because you are a good, moral, and strong Christian lady of character, depth, and purpose, and being true to yourself is, therefore, a sound and good principle. If, on the other hand, you were a selfish, shallow, immoral, ungodly person, this advice would result in imminent self- destruction. I am so unabashedly proud of you and love you so much that words on this paper are not enough; it is beyond description and beyond your comprehension- until the day you are blessed with your own daughter of your precious composition. God truly blessed me with you. Some of this advice you have heard over and over, some has been implied without saying, and some is passed down from your ancestors through me to you. This advice will also be focused on leaving for college and starting your adult professional life; you will get the marriage advice later (I hope in at least four or more years from now!). Here are twenty top tips:

I. Have your priorities straight. 1.) Faith, 2.) family, 3.) future (education and profession), 4.) friends- in this order. Never stray from this.

2. Always do the right thing: seek truth and justice, and never, ever do anything illegal, ungodly, or immoral. Do not be afraid to suffer the consequences of this at times; it will always pay off and keep you on the right path.

3. Identify your God- given talents and cultivate them to his glory unceasingly. Live your life as a shining example of the miracle of God’s love and forgiveness. Identify the talents and goals, initiate the plan, and persevere.

4. Work hard/ play hard- NEVER, EVER MISS CLASS- I promise this is crucial- and do not be tempted to sleep in or procrastinate. Study hard and time-manage (you are already well-trained in this). Get up one more time than you fall. Make it look effortless. Then, make sure to have some fun, and in your down time, put your worries aside and PLAY HARD!!!! Study hard and long. Learn everything you can. View your education at The University of Texas as a privilege and an opportunity of which you must make the absolute most- and, wow, in a great city in the greatest state in the U.S.A., what fun!

5. Seek balance. You must balance all aspects of your being- feed your needs- spiritual, intellectual, physical, and emotional. Your primary purpose in college is to study and develop your intellectual aspect, but this best done in balance with all other aspects .Go to church, pray, sing and worship. Go to the gym, work out and do something physical each day. Get some sleep. Eat healthy. Tend your sheep- maintain relationships with your family and friends, and your true love-or you will lose them…and then you will lose yourself…

6. Keep your inner child alive. Have fun, laugh at yourself, plot and plan, scheme and dream, dress up, make cookies, cupcakes, and cakes, play games, take some risks, THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX, respect your elders/ educators, but question them- ASK WHY, come up with a better way, be innovative, creative, and don’t be afraid to color outside the lines. This is what leads to new discoveries, paradigm shifts, and a better future. If not you, then who??? Remember- you are not a dunce. You are a top 1%er- now and forevermore.

7. Do not surrender your individuality and the blessing of freedom. Fight for freedom of thought, freedom of religion, free speech-PRAY- pray morning, noon, and night, about everything and everyone. Limit government and empower the individual. Remember-you are not a drone. Stand for our country and its founding principles. Seek a moral society. Do not be complacent. Be courageous. Politically correct is often morally incorrect. Do not be oppressed.

8. Never, ever react to or respond to anything without waiting 24 to 48 hours. Always give thoughtful consideration, find out the facts, separate fact from fiction, sleep on it… Then respond. Be slow to anger. Today’s crisis is tomorrow’s comedy. Speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. Turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones and lemons into lemonade. After time has elapsed, respond-offer a solution-not just a restatement of the problem. Take a stand when necessary; it is your duty.

9. Be a victor, not a victim. While you cannot always control your circumstances, you can control your reaction to them. Take control. Be positive. Be a problem solver. Be a leader and a role model. Be accountable for your own words and deeds. See the glass as half full not half empty. Have a positive attitude. Believe in miracles.

10. Don’t rest on your laurels.

11. When it seems more than you can bear- remember, you can stand on your head for that long.

12. Be loving, kind, and courteous. Honey catches more flies than vinegar. Remember people’s names and find the best in them. Ask about them and their lives rather than talking about you and your life. Be humble. Listen and love. To have a friend, you have to be a friend. Reach out to others, don’t sit back and wait until they reach out to you. Help others. Give hugs. Bake more cupcakes.

13. Make a comfortable nest- a safe haven where you can curl up, clean, comfortable, warm, safe and sound with a cup of hot tea, a soft blanket, good music, and a good book.

14. Do your hair, wear makeup, and wear clean, decent clothes, even when you are really tired; this shows others you respect yourself and others. Set the example, have some pride in your appearance, and take care of your body-God’s temple.

15. Read The Bible daily, refer to the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution often, Have these in your nest along with a dictionary, Thesaurus, computer, and at least two really good books in progress. (Currently I am reading A Miracle That Changed the World The 5000 Year Leap Principles of Freedom 101 by W. Cleon Skousen and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.) I like to have one nonfiction and one fiction going at all times.

16. You can laugh about it or cry about it- so why not just laugh. Smile and laugh as often as you can. It is therapeutic. Let water go over the dam. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Don’t worry about what may never and most likely never will happen, instead stop to smell the roses, don’t miss the forest for the trees- don’t miss sharing the love and fellowship of Christmas Eve with family, because you’re still out shopping for the last few gifts; it’s about your presence not the presents. And Carpe Diem.

17. Remember- You are always loved no matter what. God loves you, and I love you unconditionally. Jesus gave his life for you, and so would I. Your sisters, your dad, and I love you. We are your BFF’s, and we are just a text, call, or email away! We could all meet you half way for a group hug in about thirty minutes!!!! And we will!!!! You can be home in just over an hour!!! And you will!!!

18. Obey the 10 commandments, live the Sermon on the Mount, and possess the fruits of the spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self- control.          Knock and He will open doors for you! Make sure you go in.

19. I have raised you for this time in your life since you climbed off my lap and took your first few steps on your own, and you are well-equipped and ready! Remember to freely and sincerely say “I love you!”, “I am sorry!”, and “will you forgive me?”. Don’t underestimate your potential, don’t be too self-critical, don’t be afraid, and do fulfill your destiny. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Now, it is your turn to go out there and make your own family and your own life, for yourself, just exactly as you want it. But- you will always be part of this family, your God-given family, your birth family, your nuclear family, one of the sisters; you will always be my precious angel, and this will always be where you come home to. Make the world a better place and never give up. This is your calling.

20. Speaking of calling…. Call your mom every single day, more than once a day, email, text, and never forget she loves you and wants to know what you are doing every second of the day and that you are safe and well. You are what she lives for, and she can’t wait to see and experience all the amazing and wondrous things you will be and do. (I love writing about myself in third person.) Hook ‘em Horns!


Kris (Your MOM)


6 thoughts on “Dear Daughters…

  1. Dr. Held, Is there a copy of this marvelous “Mother’s Letter” that I can copy with your permission to share with a couple of dear young ladies about to leave home or who need encouragement?
    This is as complete an advice letter I have ever seen. My own mother gave me pretty much the same encouragement but in smaller doses, and I am not sure that I have them all after 65 years.
    I truly appreciate all that you are and that you stand for. We are sisters in our souls. Sincerely, Lanelle

  2. What a wonderful way to send your loved one off to college. I’m sure there was a lot of tears when she left. I love reading your letters, I’m going through quite a lot of medical problems right now and finding Obama care really sucks. I’m finding hospitals won’t take you out of network. The Doctor won’t fix the problem without this test. All I can do is pray, hopefully all will work out. Thanks, Patti

  3. Kris, you are absolutely one of the best mamas I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Now I know why I looked up to you so much in High School – your mom had probably said these same words of advice to you on many occasions, and your goodness and light just flowed from you. Having a house full of girls like you do, I often sit back and watch on your facebook and instagram, how you Helds do things so wonderfully together; and how I can incorporate some of ya’lls closeness into my family of girls. I tell my girls about your girls, and how important it is to you, just as it is to me, that family comes right after God. They don’t know your children, but each of my girls knows about your children and that they are wonderful people; and my girls admire them through words, because I speak of their successes and adventures, their marriages, their new babies, the accident Hayley had, and all things that just draw out all of the love and kindness they have for each other. Your girls truly love and care about each other, and it is so obvious that they have more love and respect for you and Dave than words could ever express. That is so important in children today, and I know it is, because you have always spoken and kept the same values that you imparted to Heidi in this letter. She will one day share this with her beautiful daughter who is on the way, and it will repeat and repeat; and the love of your family will go on forever. I cannot think of anything more wonderful than to have such a close group of children, who genuinely love you, each other, and their God, more than anything in the world. You have done so well in raising them, Kris, and I look up to you still today after all these years since HS; because you have done such a wonderful jobs in all aspects in your life. You have given me a role model to follow in raising my children, and hope that everything in our lives will always be as it is in yours. I know my girls are at some different ages than yours being 11, 16, 17, 25, and 31, and sometimes they have a hard time getting on the same level; but I know if I keep speaking to them as you do yours about all that is good and right in the world – they will one day all come together and our family’s love will pass on through the years as your family’s love has. God bless you for all that you are in every different hat you wear, but mostly for being an inspiration to me as a mom.


    Pam McLaughlin Kaiser-Webb

    • Pam your kind words bring tears to my eyes. I feel the same about you and your precious family. We are so blessed, and it is so fun to share these precious times with awesome moms like you!

  4. Dear Kris…What a wonderful way to start the day….sitting down with a cup of coffee trying to check my phone for missed calls and. To plan my day accordingly. Then, there it was….a beautiful , right from the heart message from you, my daughter. The fond memories throughout your letter to your daughter took me back to walking through times spent with you as I experienced many of these same moments with you and loved every minute of them. You always were an inspiration to those around you and a joy to share in what you did and what you have done to make sure that your quest for perfection, ethics, truth, caring for others as well as your family, achieving your goals no matter how hard you had to work to complete the tasks necessary to make this possible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s