To Believe

TO TELL my child “I believe in you” is not to make an intellectual statement about my acceptance of the reality of her existence (or the existence of her reality). To tell my child I believe in her is to say to her that with all of my heart, with all of my soul and strength, I know she is worthy of my love—and so much more than I have to give. It is to say that she is invaluable, irreplaceable, and beautiful beyond words. It is to say that I am and always will be faithful and devoted to her as a person, to the two of us as parent and child, and to our relationship. It is to say that I trust in her nature, in her abilities, and in her innate goodness. It is to say that I can see all of these things deep within myself whenever I think of her. It is to say that she is not merely a grand and glorious part of my life, but that she defines my life and helps to make it a life with meaning and purpose—a life worth living. This is what it means to believe in my daughter. And it is also, by the way, much of what it means to believe in God.

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