They Don’t Need to Worry About Anything But This

As we’ve talked about before (see our other emails about this if you missed them!), F Scott Fitzgerald wasn’t always the best father, but as one of the most brilliant writers and thinkers of his time, he certainly knew how to express fatherly advice perfectly in words. One of the best letters he ever wrote is to his daughter Frances while she was away at camp, where he discussed the anxieties and worries that all young people feel. Some things were worth worrying about, he said, and some weren’t. So he gave her a list: 

Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship

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.

Not a bad list, whether it was from the year 33 CE or 1933 or 2020. Except for maybe the horsemanship thing.

P.S. This was originally sent on October 29, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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