F. Scott Fitzgerald's Advice to his Daughter - What Would You Add?

F. Scott Fitzgerald by Carl Van Vechten, via Wikimedia Commons

As parents, we’re always spewing out advice to our kids. Do this, don’t do that, focus on this, don’t focus on that… But if you had to actually sit down, put pen to paper, and write out — all permanent-like — your best life advice for your child, would would be included? What would you emphasize as truly important, and what would you tell them to pay no attention to?

In 1933, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald penned one such letter to his 11-year-old daughter Scottie – a list of Things to worry about and Things not to worry about. It’s pretty fantastic.

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about…

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

And though I don’t think I personally would tell my daughter to worry about horsemanship, the “Things not to worry about” section resonates for me deeply. Yes, even the bits about flies and mosquitoes (I’m taking those as metaphoric, mind you).

What would you add to either of these lists? Do you agree or disagree with Fitzgerald’s advice?


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More of Tracey on Sweetney & Spice:

Home Alone: When Is It Okay To Leave Kids At Home?
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