Deliberate Strides…a letter to my daughter

Congratulations, Abigail, on graduation from St. Olaf College!

Your accomplishment is one more stride, and a big one at that, in a lifetime of purposeful activity. In my memory, a tangible expression of your diligence were observations when picking you up at the end of a school day. As I watched other students, I noticed all manner of movement: shuffling feet, hands in pockets, head down, and so forth. In general, I sensed a lack of urgency and that, for many, the day was likely over. Not you, though! With head held high and eyes fixed on a destination, backpack in place with both straps, I could not help but notice that far from shuffling, you were walking – and quite likely planning the rest of your day. Following a snack, your schedule often included a flute lesson or rowing practice, then dinner and homework before an early bedtime. When seeing you approach the car with a clear sense of purpose, I thought to myself: “that’s my daughter – she is going places!”

You have accomplished much already, and in true Renaissance fashion can claim many areas of expertise: mathematician and scholar; athlete and teammate; leader and teacher. All required perseverance and dedication: deliberate strides indeed!

Among those roles, it is your skill as a teacher that permeates much of what you do and who you are. After learning that I had given gifts of drawings decades ago (much to your surprise!) you encouraged me to try again at freehand drawing. Your teaching method, tailored exactly for me? A Christmas gift of drawing pencils and sketch pad. Subtle, Abigail, very subtle … but I got the hint! I hope you like my sketch of the Hungarian Parliament Building; the framed photo you gave me is on my bedside table and reminds me daily of your study abroad trip to Budapest.

I am excited to find out what is ahead for you!

Love, Dad

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