I’m raising two girls – Abigail, 8 and Amalie, 4. I’ve got a 1 year-old son too, but I’m not here to talk about him today. He’ll get his post too.
When I say daughter in this post, I mean both of my girls. But I have a separate and special relationship with each of them, so it’s as if I’m considering each of them differently when I say this.
Having been blessed with 8 years of fatherhood to a girl has taught me something I never realized before. And I found it interesting, because nobody ever told me about it either.
I have come to realize just how powerful the relationship between a daddy and his daughter(s) can be. No, not “can be”. I should say “is”.
First of all, I’m going to say that I believe in what might come across as a fairly old-fashioned concept – I firmly believe that a dad should protect his daughter. I think my job is to make sure my daughter is kept from harm, while letting her explore life. I see my role as a protector from life’s cruel ways, and from things that can damage my little girl. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about letting them make their own decisions, and mistakes, along the way.
But part of that is being involved. Somehow, I’ve got the impression that society nowadays seems to think our girls are more liberated than ever before, and they should be freed from parental influence – or interference, as I’ve heard it been called. I’ve even got the impression that me being a dad that is involved in my daughter’s life and helping her with decisions as she approaches adulthood is overbearing, and frankly chauvinistic.
Well, go ahead and call me an overbearing chauvinist then. I’m not going to be shamed into backing away out of my daughter’s life. I think this has happened too many times, and many of our girls are paying the price.
Personally, I think that women are equal to men in every way, but there is something about the relationship between men and their daughters that can’t be replicated elsewhere. How do I know this? I see it. Every day. I see the power that my relationship with my girl holds. I see it when I walk into the room.
Dads, watch your girls when you come home, or even into the room. Their eyes change. Their gestures change. Their body language changes. I’ve never had the impression that my girls are lukewarm to my presence. They simply light up. My girls run into my arms every single time I come home. Amalie had a sleep-over last night. She hugged me and kissed me two separate times. When she was walking out the front door and down the driveway, she tore her hand away from her auntie, and ran back to hug me one more time. That’s not lukewarm, people.
I am so grateful for this. I don’t know what causes it, but I’ve realized that EVERYthing I do around my girls and for my girls matters. I’ve realized that I can’t simply say something for the sake of saying it. Because there is something else I’ve come to terms with. I have a huge impact on my daughter. She watches me. She hangs on to my words, even if they’re not about her. She watches how I treat others, including my wife. She hopes for my attention. She needs things from me. A word of encouragement, or maybe a simple nod or wink. A hug. A kiss. A gentle wiping away of a tear.
I never realized just how powerful my relationship with my daughter is. Everything you say to your daughter has the power to lift up her soul or crush her in a crippling way. Every word you write to her makes a difference in the same way. When you tell your girl that she is stupid or incompetent, she’ll start believing it. About herself. Can you imagine? THAT’S power! Tell her she’s worthless. Go ahead. She’ll take your word for it. And you’ll regret it forever.
I try to tell my girl that she’s smart. I acknowledge her competence in things she tries. I tell her she’s beautiful. I try to notice all her accomplishments, even if they seem trivial to me. Because you know what? My words are, to a great extent, determining how my daughter feels about herself.
I’ve thought about this for some time. Fellas, in my humble opinion, which is always right, I feel the relationship between a girl and her daddy is so strong, that if you want to understand your partner better, have a closer look at the relationship she had with her father. It will give you some insights as to where she’s coming from.
It is so, so important that we, as dads, protect our girls. It is so important that we love them as much as we can, and that they know exactly how much they are loved and that they are safe.
I’m pretty sure females are more verbally-oriented than males – if you’ve ever met my wife when she gets going, you’ll agree. I love her more than life itself, but it’s clear that she places value on verbal communication, if you know what I’m saying. This has made me realize that my daughters work the same way, and so I have noticed that my girls have a powerful need to HEAR from me. She needs to hear about how valuable and smart and beautiful and important she is.
And it’s my job to tell her. And to teach her as much as I can, so that she’ll choose a man who will continue to treat her this way.
Dads, don’t shy away from fathering your daughters. They’re amazing creatures, as different from us as night from day, but spectacular in every way. Don’t let them down. Love them, teach them, protect them, and be involved as much as you can.
You’ll never regret a positive word or action you sent your girl’s way. Never.
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