The Letter that Got Gears Going

Almost a year ago now I discovered Exp.lore which has a letter written by F. Scott Fitzgerald ‘stuck’ on the right of every page. The letter is written in 1933 to his 11-year-old daughter while she is away at camp. While my focus was only on three parts of the letter, please read the letter in its entirety at Letters of Note.

The letter itself struck a chord with me because I had just recently become a new dad and wanted to convey all of that information to my daughter. I had not realized it yet, but the seed had been planted. From then on I had been dealing with how to concisely organize thoughts and wisdom I had found/learned for my daughter so that she could use it and have access to it when she needed it. Also, so I wouldn’t forget it. I needed a place for it to live; and grow; and breathe; and scream; and so much more.

Enter… the blog.

Now, for the letter. The letter itself had three areas that stuck with me. F. Scott Fitzgerald gave his daughter, while she was at camp, three lists; a list of things to worry about, a list of things not to worry about, and things to think about.

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about. . .

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

Insight: Aside from horsemanship, I think that every bit of advise give can be used at any age during any time period. There really isn’t too much to add to give context to these words of wisdom passed on from father to daughter. I will say this; take time, read the letter, read the lists… and live them. I have tried and I have failed to worry appropriately and I will try again.

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