To My Youngest Child On Her High School Graduation

This time, my youngest is graduating. And so, another letter. Shared with her permission of course. 

Krissy (aka Kristine, Kristini, Dini, Dini Duper, Duper, Kris, Kroz, Krispo),

Congratulations my girl. You are graduating from high school and about to embark on a whole new life adventure. I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to use this occasion as an opportunity to exercise my right as a father to impart some timely advice. Of course, if I reflect back on my eighteen year-old self, I can appreciate that these words may hold little interest for you now. But something tells me they might. And if they don’t, well, you could always reconsider your position months or years from now since I am writing them down anyway.  Worst case, even if nothing I say here is helpful, it is at the very least, heartfelt.  And besides, there are worse things than getting a letter from Dad on your graduation day.

I want you to know that for the past 18 years you have been a source of tremendous joy, not only to me and your mother, but to countless others. I know all parents are supposed to say this, but in your case, it is part of your gift.  You are endearing. People are drawn to you because you are kind, warm hearted, funny, likeable, trustworthy, and genuine (you are also a hundred other things, but these are the ones come immediately to mind).  You care about others, and have a particular soft spot for the underdog. You have had these qualities from the time you were a little girl. In your primary years, your teachers told us that you often helped a classmate with special needs by pushing his wheelchair. It made our hearts melt a little. This has always been your nature.  

It is important to recognize your gifts, and to leverage them in a way that helps you build a life. Like your mom, you would make a wonderful teacher. But the possibilities for you are many. I can see you being highly successful in sales and marketing, with a knack for customer service and building community connections. You could be a leader in an industry, or own a business where you take the best care of your clients. Maybe I will be getting my haircut at your very own salon in the near future, who knows? Whatever it is, I am excited to see where you go next.

You were a millennium baby, born in the year 2000. You have grown up in a digital age, and are, like your peers, an avid participant in the on-line landscape. Truth be told, your “Snap” count actually freaks me out a little. But I too am an avid user of social media, and I certainly do not think we are all going to hell in a handbasket as a result. However, I have watched various social media platforms offer up apps and filters that are specifically designed to allow users and content creators to manipulate and enhance posts so that things appear “better” than they actually are. Please be wary.

I take great comfort in knowing that the rise of this easily manipulable “digital dimension” has not impeded your ability to see and to appreciate the things that really matter. We raised you well in this respect. I suspect, however, that the blurring of fake and real will only increase in the coming years. The temptation to socially engineer a perfect self or a perfect life on digital media will likely continue for a long while. The irony, of course, is that we have this other life to contend with, the one that isn’t perfect, the one that has flaws and that leaves scars. This is the life I want to make sure you nourish, Krissy.

Life is fraught with difficulty and you will experience many moments that aren’t “pretty.” Embrace your less than perfect life and make it as extraordinary as you can. The tough moments, and the times you spend pushing yourself, are what make life what it truly is - which is real. And at the end of the day, nothing is as attractive or as appealing as that which is “genuine” Krissy. There is no app for that.

I will say that having your youngest child graduate from high school makes you think about how fast time goes. It does seem like only yesterday you were holding Cheeser and getting ready for Kindergarten. Or taking out your tiny picture of Ryan Seacrest at the dinner table because you thought he was cute. Or rolling your R’s in that ridiculous way while singing “Somebody that You used to Know” in the backseat of the car to make us all laugh. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.

Krissy, you have always had a song in your heart. That is part of life’s magic bubbling inside you. Believe in your song. And don’t waste time on people who would dare try and silence it. Believe in yourself. Be humble no matter what comes your way, but be bold with your dreams and your actions. Life wants to be lived! And now is your time to shine.

Love you forever,


Sean Nosek



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