Dear Miss Jane,
Let me introduce you to Aaliyah, a cute young lady. She has just turned three years old. After a prolonged discussion with her mother, we have decided to put her to school. I’m still unsure if it is the right time or I needed to spend more time with her.
Miss Jane, I’m not sure if she is ready to face the world by herself. She is a brave little girl, but the world is very demanding. Obviously, by the time she reaches my age, most of the things you have taught her will be irrelevant. 450 million people in Africa will be looking for jobs, and possibly Africa will lose 50 percent of the current jobs. I’m wondering if the school I’m sending her is ready for this.
Miss Jane, I have been saving some money and buying assets to afford to pay for an Ivy League school for her, but I wonder if there be a need for formal schooling in the future. If some prominent companies have declared publicly not needing a college degree to hire people. Should I be worried about her knowledge and academic qualifications or her skills and survival instincts? Should I invest for her, or should I invest in her?
Miss Jane, I’m confused, I’m not a righteous man, but I believe in God. I want to raise a human being, a person who loves and respects science and believes in the Almighty. Someone who respects people by who they are and not by what they possess or where they come from. I want her to grow up with integrity and self-discipline. Teach her is key to learn to love and to serve. Forgive me if that is a lot to ask. I will be happy if we can achieve at least some of that.
Miss Jane, the world is full of mixed messages and information for a young woman. Who is a perfect lady, and how should a woman behave. Please teach her to think and make a decision for herself. Teach her to learn, unlearn and relearn. Teach her not to consume pieces of information instead of researching and contextually deciding what is right or wrong and what type of woman she wants to be. Teach her not to pick sides by following a bandwagon but making decisions based on facts and evidence. Please tell her boys will be boys, and she doesn’t need to compare herself to them. She is stronger and better just the way she is. She doesn’t need any empowerment, and she can take on anyone standing in her way.
Miss Jane, please teach her what is written in the newspaper, posted on social media, published in academic papers, or shown on a TV is not always right. Most of the time is about shaping a certain narrative. She should consciously approach the media, listen to what is being said, and make her own decisions about it. She should be wise enough to know the world is not always right. She can be right on her own terms.
Miss Jane, teach her life will serve nothing on a silver platter for her. She should never feel entitled to anything from anyone. She should work as hard as twice as much as an average man to get what she wants because, unfortunately, the world she is living in is designed that way. She should understand that a tree that grows in the shade of another one will die small. She should learn to stand by herself without relying on the success of others.
Miss Jane, please teach her it is okay to make mistakes. It is okay to fail. Actually, she should fail more often and get back up as fast as possible. She shouldn’t take anything personally. She should never blame herself or waste time regretting it. She should understand life is not something to be taken too seriously. She should have fun and cherish moments with her loved ones. It is always 5 o'clock somewhere. She shouldn’t be a robot that is controlled by her dreams. She should live the moment.
Miss Jane, please teach her to communicate effectively and think critically. That is what it takes to survive in this ruthless world. Let her unleash her creative genius. Don’t allow her to complain. Teach her to be a fixer and a team player. She should be gentle with others. For bullies, she should put them in their places. She should invest in her growth and empower others to realize their dreams. Teach her leaders eats last. Teach her to be a leader.
Miss Jane, I’m apprehensive about the internet. I was able to consume x-rated videos before I even reached secondary school. With everything that is happening now, I’m sure she will consume it earlier than me. That’s why it is imperative to teach her how to think and not what to think. She should understand the internet is a beast; once you give it something, you can’t take it back. She should understand what to post, when to post and how to post. In their world, posting on the internet will be more dangerous than sneaking to go out for clubbing.
Miss Jane, you can’t do this alone. I’m offering a supporting hand. I will always be there for the three of us. It is not going to be easy work, but she is the most important person. She has an important role to play in her life, her society, and the world. We need to prepare her for that. Thank you for your understanding.
PS | Please take care of my darling daughter.