A Letter to My Eight-Year-Old Daughter on Super Bowl Sunday

Note: Click here to read the sequel written to my son, two years later. 

We are about to go to our friends’ house to watch the Super Bowl. There are a few things I want to tell you.

Although this seems like a really big deal, it isn’t. It’s just that the people in our country don’t have anything to get excited about all together anymore. We used to get excited together about fighting against the British and stuff, but we haven’t all gotten excited about the same stuff in a long time. So we get all worked up about this game instead.

You are not less of a person because you can never play in the Super Bowl. Men are the only people who play. Sometimes the reporter on the sideline is a woman. And I’m sure someday soon a woman will be announcing the game or in the studio at halftime and another will be running the sidelines as a referee. But the players are all men, and that will not change. I really hope and pray that you will do something more important with your life than play a football game (or report on one or referee one).

Don’t be like the women you see. You will see women dancing on the sidelines of this football game, my love. They will not be wearing many clothes. They will be amazing athletes, maybe even as amazing as the men on the field. But their whole lives go into being beautiful, and that’s kinda sad. You’re way more important than just having smooth skin and showing it off. You’re a lot more valuable than a pretty face. The shape of your breasts and butt and your ability to dance don’t give you your worth as a person. No matter how gorgeous you are when you grow up—and I have no doubt that will be really, really beautiful, since you already are—please know that your mind and your soul matter more.

There are a lot of men you should avoid. There will be some really funny and cool ads on during the Super Bowl. We’ll laugh and look at each other with our mouths wide open. But commercials sometimes kind of lie, saying things that are not true. I’ve heard about the ads that are going to air tonight—GoDaddy, Kia, Doritos, and the rest. They show women mostly naked. They do this because they think men really want to see that and that men are dumb enough to buy something because a mostly-naked woman was in an ad. A good man decides to really love one woman, not just her body and not lots of women. That’s the kind of man that I hope falls deeply in love with you one day. I love your mom and don’t look at other women naked. And trust me, you don’t ever want to be with a man who just wants to see other women naked.

You can always talk to me. This is some big stuff. You can ask me anything, and I will always make time for you. You’re the best.



What else would you say to girls and young women about the messages around the Super Bowl?

Leave a comment below.

  • Sarah Hamersma

    My daughter is already halfway to eight years old…thank you for helping me think about what she will need to be hearing to hear from us.

    • acjeske

      They’re precious, Sarah. And four is not too early to start!

  • Sarah Hamersma

    oops – “need to be hearing from us”

  • http://tamaraoutloud.com Tamara Lunardo

    I am working right now on compiling essays from women for a book called “What a Woman is Worth” (Civitas Press) to uncover the lies and speak instead truth about what women are worth. If more daddies talked to their daughters like this, my book would be almost unnecessary. And I’d be delighted.

    • acjeske

      Thanks, Tamara. I hope many read your book.

  • http://everydayawe.com Stephanie Spencer

    Adam, I have 2 sons, but I think this would be a valuable message for them, too. They also need to hear the message that women are worth more than their bodies and they are worth more than their athletic abilities.

    Thanks for helping me think about more than who won!

    • acjeske

      Yeah, I agree, Steph. Zeke is younger, so I’m not addressing it with him yet, but I will.

  • Helyn

    i think i saw eli manning’s daughter post game. i wonder what letter he would write to her. i like to imagine that like other dad’s, he would claim his biggest accomplishment was not 2 (or more?) superbowl rings, but instead her. i wonder if when she becomes a teenager, if she’ll call out his hypocracies and they’ll grow in love for one another as he sees the discrepancies in his behavior. i like to think that people don’t check their humanity at the door of the advertising agency or the locker room . . . but, considering this is the XLVI superbowl, i’m doubting it. world peace -

  • http://Facebook Norma

    This was written by a great Dad! I wish every young girl could read this. It should be required reading in school for all to read! Maybe when Tamara finishes her book she can get it into the schools…amen.

  • http://www.groshlink.net Thomas B. Grosh IV

    As I shared on Facebook, I watched and discussed “Killing Us Softly 4 – Trailer [Featuring Jean Kilbourne],” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWKXit_3rpQ, with my teen daughters. I’ve emphasized in ministry (including our household) that one becomes an adult somewhere between the age of 12 and 13.

    Our family didn’t watch the Super Bowl or attend a Super Bowl Party. Yes, I’ve done such in the past as a bridgebuilder/outreach, especially when in Pittsburgh with the Steelers in the Super Bowl :) Yes, my teenage girls gave it a look every now and then, but they didn’t find the game of much interest — except the Facebook chatter about “the loss of power.”

    I’ll be sure to share your post next year in the Super Bowl build up. In the mean time, maybe we can brain storm and propose some alternative/related Culture Making opportunities . . .

  • Dawn Gebler

    Love this letter, even if it is a little old. :) It still rings true a couple of years later, and will remain to hold true for the rest of her life.

  • Margaux d’Hangest d’Yvoy

    Wow! A daughter’s mind and soul being more important than her looks….!?….From one’s daddy this is a precious message! May more daddies tell their precious daughters these truths and may more daughters grow into beautiful women who believe this….these truths are completely counter cultural…much love to Chrissy and the kids :)

  • Jason Philipose

    Thanks Adam! Wise words! We think what they watch isn’t a big deal. However it is! Time to have those open conversations with my daughter!