A Letter to My Daughter: the Future Importance of the Past

07 January 2017

Dear daughter,

A surprise it is, my little pearl, isn’t it? I miss you. Warm hugs from afar. Your brother must have told you that I am in contact with him via letters as well. Your mum calls you most often, yet I opt for writing most of the time. Writing is living memory. You sure remember how many times a week I would send you to the post office to dispatch my letters to my friends, students, cultural magazines, and colleagues when you were little!

By the way, I should not forget to awaken you to the fact that your style in your mother tongue still needs much work and care. You express yourself very well in foreign languages; however, your mother tongue you seem to neglect. Beware of this, and try to correct yourself soon. I hope I will not meet blunders in your writings next time – though I am in the know that this takes time. This is not my point for today, anyway.

I just wonder how things are going on with you there. Studies and personal life! In your latest call you said you were meeting some researchers from various places in the world; I would like to hear good news about how the proceedings went on. How many were you? Was your brother present to encourage you? Or was he occupied with his own stuff far away? Were your supervisors satisfied with your presentations and achievements? Do you keep any records about it or any testimonies from your teachers and participants? Please remember to bring them with you when you come during the next holidays; you know how much I love souvenirs. It is good to remind yourself of your past good deeds to push you forward to do much better. That is how you have to look at the past – the past as a source of encouragement and more stamina and application for further accomplishments. Your past is your fuel. Whenever you run of your fuel go back to your station, your past, especially your glorious past. Bad memories are also rich enough to make you aware of certain things, to help you evade falling into the same traps and mistakes.

In actual truth, not few people disdain turning their heads back to have a look at their past, but many – which is an abominable mistake for me. Can you forget where you were born? Where you first met good people? Where you first went to school? Can you forget the reason behind your travel abroad? Can you forget the first influential book or books you read and helped in a way or another in making of you what you are now? Can you deny that you are not one hundred per cent yourself and that so many people and so many circumstances contributed in the development of your personality?

Dear daughter, the past is both the present and the future in so many ways. The past lives in us and with us. It stretches to the present and trespasses it to the future. For instance, when I say ‘I am writing’ for the speaker it means ‘I am doing something while speaking, now at the moment which we call the present’, yet when  it comes to the listener who tries to understand what ‘I am writing’ means he understands it not in the present, but in the future. He understands it not at the moment when I just say it, because I say that at 5:00 pm, for example, but he understands it (a bit) later, maybe at 5:01 pm or 6:00 pm, who knows when exactly! All we know is that his understanding comes after the exact present moment when the thing being understood was uttered or done. This means that the present is linked to the future as our life is, and as the present is linked to the past. The pastness of something articulated in the present is understood in the future in relation to the past. This is so because what is being thought of or being understood now should be categorized in mind, put into its special pigeonhole, and soon later thought of its source in relation to other things. This search for the originality of the thing being scrutinized brings the wo-man concerned to the past. That is how it goes for all, or at least most of things on earth – man’s life included. The past lives on and on. It dominates the present and the future. This past does not necessarily mean the personal past; it may include the past of somebody else, or so many others from the same or different groups. The past is shared though it seems monopolized by some particular groups that think for the masses, guide them, or oppress them. Ethics intervene here. Let’s hope for the best and say ‘let the past be well used’, ‘let the wise read the past and merge with the present so that the masses learn from it’.

Tell me, when rain falls, does it erase all that exists on the earth on which it falls? No, it may change some of it, sometimes it changes nothing, and rarely does it change most of it. You see my point, dear? Whatsoever hands play on the past to spoil it or ornament it, the popular memory does not forget. The personal memory may fail to remember by consent or by coercion, the collective one can never; there are always those who remind the group of the past, and this role I would like my daughter to play.

Your past should be the legacy that never escapes your memory. Without your past, your present or future is naught. Take you past as your defensives against the waves and drifts that easily slam the faces and erase the memories of many. When you care of your past you may not find it in one version but in many versions; the past is always plural. That is how it can be inspiring for the future.


Nevertheless, probing the past is not easy. First of all, the mind should be open to all what is said, be it a rumour or a fact, or whatever. Open your mind to other voices, and do not be influenced by them. Listen to all, but follow just few, just the sagacious. Sieve the past. Sieve the past. Sieve the past. And make it your companion; learn more about it, and teach it to the so many who need it. Your past is your identity. You can correct it by your present and future deeds. You can enrich it and widen its scope for the coming generations. This age of ours is all about the past. Your past determines who you are now, and who you may be tomorrow; however, there is always the possibility of working out your way and who you may be tomorrow. You can re-orientate your past to what you want it to be in the future by working hard in the present. The bridge between the past and the future is you at the moment.

I do not think I will outlive you to see your accomplishments; I wish you a prosperous and long life. Age has taken much of me. I will be content in my tomb to know that you have done a lot to your people, side by side with other women and men. Work side by side.


Dear daughter, I should not stress on reminding you that ethics come first. Each is born to live his/her own age and according to it. Simultaneously, each is expected to bow down to the morals and eternal human values, the core of which does not change; their details change. The modern life is pregnant with ills, hardships, and immoralities. Note that. Group work is unrivaled and difficult to weaken. One hand cannot applaud. If ever you miss your targets at first, never despair. Turn any failure into success by looking at it as a new start. Failure that wakes you up to certain facts is not failure. Failure is when you succumb to the first setbacks you meet. Be strong. You are strong!

My hope is that you will shoulder yourself with the burden of polishing society from the dust of the past that has been enveloping it for decades, nay, for centuries! Let the past become a better future!

That is all for now dearest daughter!

Your loving father!