Dear kids,

First, know this: I will love you, no matter what.

Do not be ashamed of me because you might come into the world to find out you have two daddies instead of a dad and mum. Even before I had you, I loved you so much that I didn’t want to put you through the pain of the kind of family where an unhappy husband to your mummy would make for a bad father to you.

I hope you won’t get here to a world that finds our kind of family so odd, they still discriminate against us, because I’m here, fighting and preparing the world for you. I want you to be born to a world where whomever you arrive as, whatever difference you posses, it won’t matter and it won’t make you less in any way among your counterparts.

I want you to experience a world where you are proud of YOU, whoever you choose to be.

I hope that by understanding that I, your father, chose to bring you into this world together with your other daddy, you will learn that it is okay for you to live whatever truth you come into – and be great for it.

It is important you understand this, because the world I’m in, the world I hope you never come to know, is full of prejudice. I want you to know that whatever difference you realize yourself having is okay. Know that I have loved you for them even before you were born.

You, my dear son, will come into a world that regards itself as belonging to the man – a world that sees weakness in gay men, effeminate men, and men who identify as females. Reject any predisposition that makes you want to scorn such men, because, by God, I will raise you better than that. You must know love for humanity. You should be a gentleman and advocate, either by attitude or action, for something just.

I want you to know that if you are gay, you should love yourself for it. Trust me, son. No good ever came out of loathing something in you that can potentially make you a beautiful person.

I want you to know that opening the door for a woman does not mean she is weak, that it does not give you the license to treat her like a vessel. Do not resist me when I attempt to bring you up on an even keel with your sister; I cannot have you growing up thinking you’re better than the next person simply because you’re male.

And you, my daughter, the society may try to tell you otherwise, but understand that you can be anything you aspire to be. Do not think of yourself as a man’s prize for accomplishment. Do not better yourself for the purpose of furthering a man. Do you for you. There are great women I know, women who have defied and are defying the societal norms that place all women in boxes. I will tell you about these women when you arrive. I hope you will think of these women as role models, as the reason why you shouldn’t settle simply because you’re female.

And when you fall in love, I want you to know that it’s okay if your emotions interfere with your focus to be great. Love is illogical. It gets in the way. It makes things messy. I do not want you to think that because you are a strong and intelligent woman, you cannot allow yourself to know the complexities of the mess called Love. No, my darling, love is good. It is beautiful. And with the right person, man or woman, it makes for a better you.

My dear children, I want you to thrive in the world, however you look. I want you to define yourself, instead of letting the world define you. I have lived before you and I will do my darnedest to equip you with the manual on how to be a survivor. But even with all I can do for you, you have to understand and then you have to put your understanding into action.

Above all, I hope I am successful in showing you every day of our lives that I love you. Know this when I’m stern toward you. Hold on to this when I say an unkind word to you in a fit of anger. And believe this when I discipline you. Everything I do – so help me, God – it will be because I love you.

Sincerely yours,

Your Dad.

Written by Adichie

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