Writer’s Workshop: Words From Otto Frank

1.) A quote from someone that has stuck with you.

Yesterday I talked about reading The Fault In Our Stars and there was one part of the book that I thought was really interesting. The two main characters, Hazel and Augustus, visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and describe an interview with Anne’s father Otto Frank that is played on a TV as you walk through the house.

He talked about his reaction to Anne’s diary and there was a quote that struck me. Otto Frank said, “I must say, I was very much surprised by the deep thoughts Anne had….it was quite a different Anne I had known as my daughter. She never really showed this kind of inner feeling. And my conclusion is, since I had been in very good terms with Anne, that most parents don’t know really their children.”

I knew I was supposed to be paying attention to the love story unfolding between Hazel and Augustus, but I had never heard Otto Frank speak of Anne’s diary before. It’s crazy to me that at one point I felt so connected to Anne, reading her diary around the same age she was when she wrote it. But here I find myself for the first time relating as a parent.

I’ve been struggling all year to figure out what’s going on in the head of my tween. I’ve always prided myself for knowing her better than anyone. She’s mine. I’ve raised her. I can tell you exactly what her intentions are and I’ll be the first to tell you she’s too shy to speak up for herself. I’ve spent nearly every day of her life with her. I know her completely.

But when I read those words from Otto Frank my mind skipped to that smile I saw my daughter flash her best friend as they both bowed their heads and giggled in response to something I said. An inside joke. I know that flash. I have those girlfriends too.

It has clicked. Otto Frank is right. I only know the version of her she wants to show me.

(video here)

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) A quote from someone that has stuck with you.
2.) List 13 things you love about vacation.
3.) Public speaking.
4.) Something you got away with.
5.) If your family were dogs, what breed would each of them be?


  1. says

    We both posted about being a parent today. And I can tell you: the “tween” years were much more difficult for me with my son than his teen years — which I’d always thought would be the worse!

  2. says

    So true – as they get older, we know less and less about them. I love getting to know my kids over and over as they change. They are different today than they were five years ago, and will be different even five years from now. The glimpses of their younger, familiar selves despite the changes are a wonderful part of being a parent.

  3. says

    Aw, sweet and deep post today! I don’t have any children of my own, but I always find it fascinating how the parent/child relationship changes throughout the years. xoxo

  4. says

    Otto’s quote just emphasizes that our kids are individuals with their own hopes and dreams. We can help to shape those dreams a little, but we won’t ever know the full result of our influence.

    That kind of sucks, now that I think about it.

  5. says

    This resonates with me completely. It is interesting that my oldest, now 24, has started to reveal to me what some of those inside jokes and tween secrets were all about “way back when”.

  6. says

    Kat, Otto was right in that we see and know only one version of our children. We are all multifaceted and it’s normal to draw boundaries with our parents, children or friends as to how much we share.

    The difference is that they were living in constant fear that each day would be their last together as a family. What are hopes and dreams when you know there are people who want to kill you for no other reason than your faith.

  7. says

    I think it really is amazing how much different stories can seem from one age to another. That quote is really interesting.

  8. says

    That is so true! Already at 8 and 4 I think sometimes about the parts of my kids that I’ll never know – the parts they save for their teachers and friends and the parts of themselves that are just for them that I’ll never understand.

  9. says

    That is so true. My kids are 13 and 17 and we are close and I know them well, but they certainly have a secret life I know nothing about. Just think about yourself and what you reveal to other people. Think about what your parents really knew about you at that age (or even now). Honestly, it’s too scary for me to even think about. Most of me is so happy that they are each their own unique selves, but a tiny part of me misses being their whole world.

  10. says

    I couldn’t have said it better. I have a daughter fast approaching her 20s. For years, although we were close, I’ve always wondered about the disconnect somewhere. She definitely ain’t showing me everything anymore. I know now that I only know what she wants me to know.

  11. says

    My daughter is only nine, but I can feel that time fast approaching. And she so smart, that I know she will keep me guessing. Yikes.

  12. says

    It’s so true – as our children grow we know less and less. And what Dianna said about the tween years being the worst? I had the same experience with my son.

    But I’ve also discovered as my “baby” (going on twenty…YIKES!) continues to mature that he is more forthcoming with what’s going on in his life. Does he tell me everything? No. But he shares more now than he did during his tween/teen years.

  13. says

    You mean I’M not always going to be my three-year old daughter’s “best friend in the whole wide world”? Cherishing each and every moment!

  14. says

    And our children never know us, either. They know nothing of our childhood, and our innermost thoughts and fears.

    I think this is a good thing – all children must forge their own way. And although we can guide them and influence them, they are the ones who must travel that path.

  15. says

    I love this post. It’s thoughtful and insightful and written with love. And while times can be challenging, your relationship with your daughter will continue to grow – even if there are moments you feel worlds apart. My mom was strict, but gave me just the right amount of space during those tween/teen years. Today, she is my best friend. You’ve got this! Thank you for sharing.

  16. says

    you are a wise mama to learn that before she becomes a teen and an adult. You will be close, you will be friends, but as a person she is the only one who will know herself. She will choose what she wants others to see. We all do that. The hard part is to love without judgement and to stay connected. I loved your post.