Don’t Worry About Dolls: F. Scott Fitzgerald's Advice to His Daughter

Illustration for article titled Don’t Worry About Dolls: F. Scott Fitzgerald's Advice to His Daughter

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a "fuck it" list for his only child, the then 11-year-old Frances "Scottie" Fitzgerald. It's succinct, no-nonsense, and pretty damn adorable. It kinda makes me want to have a kid just so I can plagiarize and give it to her. No edits, even, that little monster will learn to ride a horse and she'll like it! (I'm never having kids, don't worry.) (GOD WILLING.) (Ruh Roh!)

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about…

Things not to worry about:

Don't worry about popular opinion
Don't worry about dolls
Don't worry about the past
Don't worry about the future
Don't worry about growing up
Don't worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don't worry about triumph
Don't worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don't worry about mosquitoes
Don't worry about flies
Don't worry about insects in general
Don't worry about parents
Don't worry about boys
Don't worry about disappointments
Don't worry about pleasures
Don't worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?


I know, he wasn't actually the best dad, but awww, right?

I'm on board with pretty much all of this, and doesn't it sound like he's helping to cultivate a good mixture of IQ and EQ in his daughter? If I learned anything from the July 2004 issue of O Magazine (btw, Oprah made the cover again, YOU GO GIRL!), it's that, to succeed, it's good to be smart but your emotional intelligence is far more important. Like, you need to know how to work a crowd and read people if you ever want to charm your way to the top. And that, my friends, is why you never trust a charming person. Seriously, give me ol' Seymour from Ghost World (movie) before someone who'll pretend to laugh at my terrible jokes and compliment me on my ugly dress. TRUST NO ONE.

Ugh, it looks like I need to read this list again.

From Fitzgerald to Reagan, 5 Letters of Fatherly Advice from History's Greatest Public Dads [Brain Pickings]



This is totally unrelated and probably Creeper McCreeperson but I just put two and two together - are you the same Laura B. of c. 2007 Yelp? If not, no biggie. If yes, I am so glad I found you and your fantastic writing again!

(I can delete if you need anonymity.)