When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me—about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours.But then the paragraph ends with this:
In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.Of course, it doesn't occur to everyone to run for President to make their own children's lives better. The rest of the letter is a wee bit more impersonal than it would have been, perhaps, had he written a private one.
And I do hope he has written and will continue to write private letters to his daughters. What a treasure they would be to open up when the girls are parents themselves, to peep into their father's thoughts and to relive these times through his eyes.
The text of the entire letter is here.