An Open Letter From My Wife to the Penn State Fraternity

Subject: An Open Letter From My Wife to the Penn State Fraternity
From: Colette Heinz
Date: 23 Mar 2015

Dear Young Men of Kappa Delta Rho,

Take a moment and dream with me:

It’s graduation. You worked this season the hardest you knew how. So you graduate, celebrate, say goodbye to the chapters of your life you will never redo again. Excited because you got a job in your field. Not a dream job, but one that will surely open doors. You move and settle in, and soon you meet the woman you wished you met in college. She’s amazing. You marry and while you realize it’s not perfect, every day you become more fond of the special woman you call wife.

Two years in and you find out that you’re expecting. Wow, you’re having a baby! This is scary, crazy. But you were just a kid, you tell yourself. The baby arrives—she’s a sweet baby girl who has your cleft chin. Wow again. The three of you head home for territory you’ve never walked.

One day as you look at your baby girl, you get choked up by her beauty and innocence. You sing to her, speak life to her, kiss her cheek the softest kiss you have ever planted. You hold her like she’s the most expensive thing in the room. Protecting her just seems natural. You didn’t even know you had this ability, but fatherhood rose from within you like some formidable force. Not too long ago, life was just about you, but not anymore. You were a son, brother, friend, husband, and now you’re a father.

You know her youth won’t last forever. She’ll grow more quickly than you know. You’ll celebrate the milestones of her life, from graduating kindergarten all the way to high school. Then the day will come when she’s ready for college. How can this be? You were just a lad finding your way and all of a sudden, here’s your girl embarking in a world you fear—college.

You fear it because you remember your own regrets—the people you used to get ahead, the girls you played for a good time. But now you look at your experiences from a different angle. Being a father has changed you. You think of Jess and Catherine and Amanda and on and on, and for the first time you realize they were someone’s daughter.

You shudder at what you’ve done to other peoples’ daughters.

To the young men involved in uncovering someone else’s daughters, who thought it was a joke, try looking at your actions from a different point of view. Would you treat your mother or sister with such dishonor? Why treat women this way? They’re someone’s daughter.

What if it was your daughter in those pictures?


Colette Heinz, mom of a daughter