Dear PaPa Al.....
Dear Ti Ti

Ti Ti is doing videos for my webpage around Inle Lake in Myanmar. One of her teachers that she really likes teaches English. She is going to interview her about how their school would benefit from getting laptops for all the students.

There are two reasons for this essay. The first is that I am happy that Ti Ti is moving up the educational ladder, however, she seemed worried. I wanted to reassure her of her ability level. Her mother had already written to me about Ti Ti taking an entrance exam on April 19th. Ti Ti is studying hard due to wanting to be the best. She is a first born and really wants to succeed. While I understand that issue, I don’t want her to worry so much that she doesn’t do well. Hence, this reply.

I just got an email from Ti Ti telling me that her English teacher was out of town but will return soon. Then she told me that her parents will be sending her to another school to further her education. She wrote, “So, my school will start 19th April. Now, I am preparing and learning the lessons. My parents also help me doing my lessons.”

Ti Ti,

I’m fine. However, I miss you, your sisters, and your parents. Nevertheless, I’ll see you again in a couple of years. I mean that.

Please remember this, you are an exceptional young lady. You are smart and caring. You are also pretty and charming. I look at your picture on my wall in my office that I took four years ago and remember playing Scrabble with you. Ti Ti, I love you and your sisters. We are family. A couple days ago, I used the picture that your mother sent me in the essay about Bobby Kennedy. Tomorrow, there will be one about you and your selfie

Everyone asks me about you. You are the one that changed me, which started four years ago. On my last trip, you changed me even more. Don’t you ever forget how talented, brilliant, and charming you are. You are so much like your mother and dad.

Ti Ti, I’m proud of you. You are capable of anything. Life won’t always be easy, but you have the ability to overcome all obstacles. You wrote about studying and having your parents help you. I get that. However, what you have to get is that you are unique. I mean it; I don’t know anyone around your age like you. To say that I am proud of my granddaughter is an understatement.

I love you, Snow, Fatty, and your parents. I miss you all, but we will see each other again.

PaPa Al

After emailing Ti Ti, I happened across a lecture on TED by Caroline Paul about dealing with girls as they are growing up in both their educational settings and in their homes. This lecture dealt with three issues that all girls need to hear. These three issues address the way we teach girls vs. boys. We don’t teach both sexes the same rules or rubrics for becoming successful in life. Ms. Paul said that teachers and parents need to stress these three issues to their girls.

The first issue is that girls need to get outside their comfort zone. Explore new things and take risks. I have seen this in Ti Ti when I met her for the first time. She wanted to play Scrabble with me. A nine-year-old played an adult game with someone who was an adult. She played the game, but, interestingly, she kept score. That took guts. When she totaled the score and announced that she had won, I put my finger in her face and said, “Don’t you ever forget this. You beat me in my game, in my language, and in your country.” Ti Ti benefited from getting outside her comfort zone.

Ti Ti then

Ti Ti now

Ti Ti has written me about wanting to be an inventor. This was when she was thirteen. A young teenager gal wanting to be an inventor in Myanmar. If that is what she wants, she will be successful. That is obvious to me. However, her parents and PaPa Al need to reinforce her successes, because we all will stumble on occasion in our lives. That is why Ms. Paul’s second issue is being resilient.

Resilience is the ability to get up after falling and beginning again. All parents can recall their children trying to begin to walk. That struggling, in spite of falling, is due to resilience. The trying again will produce the confidence from which a child will benefit in life. All children and especially girls need to know that they have the guts to try the impossible dreams. Or as Don Quixote said, “To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause….”

Neither Ms. Paul or I are wanting to teach young gals to be careless and reckless. Fear of failure is a good emotional feeling…if the fear is addressed. Figure out the fear and deal with it…and then move on.

I have addressed my concern or fear. I know Ti Ti. She will be successful. Period. Or as we say in the States, “You go, girl.”

Here is the world saying to Ti Ti, "You go girl"

This is Ms. Caroline Paul’s lecture.

Burma flag

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