Month: June 2015

Twenty-one Memos From Your Child


Reading through some of my dad’s old journals, I came across this gem, written sometime in 1977, during his early days as a grade school principal.  I called him up right away (forgetting the time difference, oops) and read them aloud to him.  He’d forgotten he’d ever written them, but happily gave permission for me to share them with my readers.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!  And if they sound a bit old-fashioned, well, they might be.  After all, these “memos” are nearly four decades old.

Here they are:

  1. Don’t spoil me.  I know quite well that I ought not to have all I ask of you.  I’m only testing you.
  2. Don’t be afraid to be firm with me.  I prefer it; it makes me feel more secure.
  3. Don’t let me form bad habits.  I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.
  4. Don’t make me feel smaller than I am.  It only makes me behave stupidly “big”.
  5. Don’t correct me in front of others if you can help it.  I’ll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private.
  6. Don’t make me feel that my mistakes are sins.  It upsets my sense of values.
  7. Don’t protect me from consequences.  I need to learn the painful way sometimes.
  8. Don’t be too upset when I say “I hate you.”  It isn’t you I hate but your power to thwart me.
  9. Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments.  Sometimes they get me the attention I need.
  10. Don’t nag.  If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf.
  11. Don’t make rash promises.  Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken.
  12. Don’t forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like.  That is why I’m not always very accurate.
  13. Don’t tax my honesty too much, I am easily frightened into telling lies.
  14. Don’t be inconsistent.  That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you.
  15. Don’t put me off when I ask questions.  I you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.
  16. Don’t tell me my fears are silly.  They are terribly real and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand.
  17. Don’t ever think that you are perfect or infallible.  It gives me too great a shock when I find that you are neither.
  18. Don’t ever think that it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me.  An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm to you.
  19. Don’t forget how quickly I am growing up.  It must be very difficult for you to keep pace with me, but please try.
  20. Don’t forget I love experimenting.  I couldn’t go on without it, so please put up with it.
  21. Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of understanding love, but I don’t need to tell you, do I?

hug-hh(pictures borrowed from and