A letter to my daughter: Why I will always be your partner in this world.

Dear Little Chow: The world is yours to make better.

To my daughter, Little Chow:

All photos by the author, used with permission.


I first traveled outside of my country when I was 18.

But at age 3, your world is already so much more advanced, and yet more complicated than the world I inherited.

You have already touched more than 10 countries.

I lived more than half of my life before the internet and email came and took over my life; you were born into social media. Mama and I collected hundreds of Likes on Facebook when we announced your entrance into the world.

Assuming all goes well, you are going to be a first-world child, and this is great.

But I’ll be honest: Sometimes I worry about this too.

Mama and I both have jobs, and you are fortunate to have lived way above the poverty line. You have not experienced famine, war, instability, malnutrition, and homelessness. When we go shopping, we can always buy something, however small it is. We love it when we see you running around in the courtyard of our home. It gives us comfort that we are doing well as parents, and we hope to provide that oasis for you as long as possible.

Right now, you are still on the inside of the glass.

I certainly hope for you to live a good life. However, I also do not want you to grow up feeling this is normal — and, worse, feeling you are entitled to this way of living.

700 million people live in poverty today, and millions are affected by conflict, poverty, and natural disasters. The world is imbalanced.

But I don’t want you to be merely happy as you grow up. I also want you to be a compassionate, understanding, and, ultimately, useful human being,

What can we do about this? I will bring you into the world.

Before you entered my world, my life looked different. It involved travels around the globe, extreme outdoor adventures, and understanding global inequality through my personal work. My life has mellowed a little since you came around, and that’s a good thing.

But I hope we can continue to adventure together. I have brought you to the wilder parts of the Great Wall of China for weekend hikes. When we subject you to a challenge, without feedback from society or peers your age, you don’t know your own limits and you surpass our expectations. You appreciate the nature, the flowers, the climb, and that made me happy.

I want a child of mine to love nature so she can grow up to be in love with the Earth we live in, beyond her own small world.

I will bring you to Everest Base Camp come this fall. We will walk together when you can, and I am prepared to carry you up when you feel weary.

In your life, during travels and long days, I promise to guide you along and be a friend and a companion.

I don’t want to outsource this portion of parenting to a professional, an institution, or someone else. As a father, I love the challenge, and it is a privilege I will cherish.

All these things I will teach you before you go to school. Then from there, I hope you can learn to be a citizen of the world.

This is my personal promise to you: I will teach you about the world so you know where you stand.

You will be a first-world child, and I hope to teach you to understand what that means and entails.

And I promise to keep including you in my world — to walk along and to grow with you.

Love,

Papa

More
True
Fathers Everywhere

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?

Keep Reading Show less
Family

California has a housing crisis. Rent is so astronomical, one San Francisco company is offering bunk bedsfor $1,200 a month; Google even pledged$1 billion to help tackle the issue in the Bay Area. But the person who might fix it for good? Kanye West.

The music mogul first announced his plan to build low-income housing on Twitter late last year.

"We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better," West tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities

The U.S. women's soccer team won the Women's World Cup, but the victory is marred by the fact that the team is currently fighting for equal pay. In soccer, the game is won by scoring points, but the fight for equal pay isn't as clearly winnable and the playing field isn't as even.

We live in a world where winning the World Cup is easier than winning equal pay, but co-captain Megan Rapinoe says there's one easy way fans can support the team: Go see games.

Some people argue the men's team deserves to get paid more because they are more successful and earn more money for the United States Soccer Federation. Pay depends on merchandise and ticket sales, and in general, men's sporting events tend to draw a bigger crowd than women's sporting events. It's not about sex, many argue; it's about the fact that people just prefer to see men play.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

You think you know someone pretty well when you spend years with them, but, as we've seen time and again, that's not always the case. And though many relationships don't get to a point where the producers of "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" start calling every day just to chat, the reality is that sometimes partners will reveal shocking things even after you thought you'd been all shocked out.

That's the case for one woman whose Reddit thread has recently gone viral. The 25-year-old, who's been with her boyfriend for five years, took to a forum for relationship advice to ask if it was normal that her seemingly cool and loving boyfriend recently revealed women shouldn't have a fundamental right. (And no, it's not abortion — although there are a lot of "otherwise best ever boyfriends" out there who want to deny women the rights to bodily autonomy, too.)

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended