Don’t Tie Down Your Eagle

This is an excerpt from Ryan Holiday’s latest book The Daily Dad.

July 4

Don’t Tie Down Your Eagle

When a young Florence Nightingale began making moves toward volunteering in hospitals, her aristocratic parents were horrified. It had been difficult enough raising a precocious child. Now she wanted to debase herself with work below her station? They were embarrassed. What would their friends think? How would it look? Like a lot of parents with determined, independent children, they felt rejected. They thought her choices rebuked theirs.

“We are ducks who have hatched a wild swan,” her mother once lamented. But a favorable biographer responded perfectly: “It was not a swan they had hatched: in the famous phrase of Lytton Strachey’s essays—it was an eagle.”

You can’t hold your children back. You can’t resent that they’re different. You can’t hold them back with antiquated notions about gender or class. Their choices say nothing about your choices. They are their own person. They deserve their own life. They deserve our support and encouragement in whatever direction that takes us or them. That’s what we’re here for. We can’t forget it.

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