A Letter to My Four Daughters

Whitney Shayo and Four Daughters

A Letter to My Four Daughters

You are my world. I have lived life more fully during the years I’ve had you, than I could have had I chosen a different path. You are ages 10, 6, 3, and 8 months. As my 32nd birthday gets closer, I’ve realized more and more that, in addition to my undying love for you, you also need encouragement and guidance from me.

You have unique talents and abilities that no one else has. Embrace your individuality. You are enough. Never allow someone to convince you that you’re inferior. Opportunities can be found anywhere, and always remember that you can also create opportunities. Stay true to your goals and what you want to achieve. You are more than enough.

When someone tells you that you can’t do something, they are actually referring to their own doubts and limitations, not yours. When you attempt to accomplish something which is beyond the scope of what they believe is possible, their opposition is simply a display of their own lack of confidence. Regardless of what anyone else tells you, there is no shortage of success. You have the ability to create it.

Don’t jump through hoops that someone is using as a threshold that you must pass in order to be good enough. It’s made up. Completely false and total nonsense. Some people in this world believe they have the authority to decide which opportunities you should have available to you, and which ones are limited. Keep persisting. Not every deal will work out, but your ability to move forward and continue your pursuit of advancement is what ultimately makes a difference.

I have always been a strong advocate for women’s rights, but after I experienced gender discrimination first hand a few months ago, I am more determined to make sure that you are aware – nothing is beyond your reach. There is no achievement which is too big for you. No one should ever deny you an opportunity because you’re a woman. A few months ago, I was scheduled to be the main speaker for a community leadership project. I informed the event coordinator that I would need a short break halfway through to pump milk.  As you already know, if I go passed two hours without pumping, I become ill. Also, your baby sister’s supply of milk would decrease. This event coordinator made it very clear to me that if I wasn’t physically capable of speaking through the entire four hour event, he’d replace me. So, at the last minute, he did. The older white male replaced me with an older white male on crutches. His official “reason” for replacing me – on paper – was “she’s not experienced”. Restricted access to opportunity based on gender or age makes no sense. We all reach different skill levels at different times. Your age, and the fact that you’re a woman has nothing to do with it. Your physiology is not an inconvenience to anyone.  Even the slightest hint at such a notion is an insult to your unending value and limitless intelligence.

Please learn to recognize the qualities of a true leader, and also understand what it takes to be a true leader. Micromanaging is not leadership. Oppressing people is not leadership. You deserve equality, and don’t ever allow someone to convince you that equality is something to be earned by seeking their approval. The world is full of this type of injustice but don’t keep quiet. You can either be a voice for freedom, or a voice for hatred. Be a voice for freedom.

No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes. We are all constantly, growing, changing, and getting better, including anyone who may attempt to hold you back.

The ability to move forward after disappointment and frustration is what matters. Forgive and move on, but don’t retreat. Stay true to your goals.  When you fall, get back up. Don’t be afraid to try again, or to try something else for that matter. Pursuit the things you are passionate about. Live your purpose every day and enjoy the journey.

I cannot say this enough; I have lived life more fully during the years I’ve had you, than I could have had I chosen a different path, and I look forward to watching you grow.

I want you to know how beautiful and amazing each of you are.

Go out there and shine, because each of you, are powerful women.




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