An Open Letter To The Fathers of Daughters Around The World:
Starting at a young age, at a very young age, make father/daughter time a priority. Make it a such a regular, natural occurrence that by the time she is a teenager, she expects you to take her out for sushi or ice cream.
When she’s six, laugh at her knock-knock jokes, teach her to fish. Walk the dog with her and dance the Macarena. Listen to her giggle about her favorite television show. Sit in the front row at her school music assembly. Let her fix your hair with barrettes and bows. Tell her she’s beautiful, inside and out.
When she’s ten, indulge her passion for ice cream. Ask about her teachers at school. Know her best friend’s name. Ask about her friend’s friends. Tell her about your friends when you were a kid. Go to every gymnastics meet. Play catch with her in the backyard. Go on a hike. Listen. Watch. Teach. Tell her she is beautiful, both inside and out.
When she is 14, share your passion of sushi together. Have her teach you how to use your iPhone. Even if you already know. Watch a baseball game together. Go to her cheerleading competitions. Listen to her babble about things that seem unimportant. The important things will slip into the conversation when you least expect it. Listen harder. Tell her she is beautiful , inside and out.
When she is 19, take her out for coffee to hear all about her college classes. Listen as if your life depends on it. Nod. Smile. Offer advice if you think she’ll hear you. Sit silently, if you think she won’t. Just be there. As close as a text. As close as a phone call. Send her a funny picture in the mail. Make sure she knows you think of her every day. Tell her she is beautiful, both inside and out.
You have a power we mothers don’t have. You have the ability to teach our daughter that she is worth treasuring. The partner she chooses will be a reflection of you and all the work you did when she was still a little girl.
Will she pine for a boy and wait by the phone, just as she had to pine and wait for you? Or will she expect to be treated with kindness and consideration and respect? Will she allow her heart to be trounced on, over and over because she doesn’t feel she deserves better? Or will she let go of the frogs and hold out for a prince because you taught her that she is a princess?
Model good behavior with her mother. Show her how she should expect to be treated by her future soul mate.
Do these things, these simple, yet oh-so-important things to make life a little easier for the mothers of the daughters of the world. We tell our daughters that they are beautiful, both inside and out, every day. But they roll their eyes at us and say, “But Mom, you’re paid to say that!” When you say it, they hang onto your every word. Their eyes sparkle. They stand taller. They begin to believe what you say.
And then someday.
They will find a man, like you, who is beautiful.
Both inside and out.
14 responses to “An Open Letter To The Fathers Of Daughters Around The World”
Thanks Jane! Reblooging that one too 🙂
I just had an opportunity to be at home for a couple of months and that time was precious and helped to reconnect with the kids.
I’m off to hug my daughter now 🙂
Reblogged this on Houldsworth's Random Ramblings and commented:
Great advice for all the Fathers out there…
Thanks, Barry! I’m honored.
I am tweeting this. It is the most important thing I’ve read in a long time.
My husband is exactly the father you describe. He and my daughter are very, very close. In fact, when I met him and we started getting serious, it wsa partly because he was the type of father I wanted for my children. I based a lot of this on his relationships with his 5 sisters. Then I hoped and prayed we had a girl because he is the father that every little girl should have. Luckily, we did.
I’ve already seen her self-confidence and expectations from boys bolstered much higher than mine ever were. My father was (and still is) distant, and it impacted many of my relationships. But I hope that my daughter will always expect to be treasured and treated right. I hope she will never for a minute doubt that she deserves that.
Thanks so much! I’m touched. As you might have surmised, my daughter may or may not be going through a rough time. (I’m trying to protect her privacy but not doing a very good job. ;)) She’s hurting but handling it so much better than I would have. I’m realizing that is due to the fact that my husband (her step-dad) has done so many of the things I mentioned in this post. It’s not quite like her dad doing it for her, but it’s a close second. Our relationships with our fathers is so important. More important than I realized when it comes to our self-worth and what we feel we deserve when it comes to a mate.
So wonderful, I have no words…
I have tears streaming down my face as I read this. I lost my father about 6 months ago, but I have a very precious memory of him that this post brought to mind. I had been dating a boy for about 2 years in college and he dumped me. I called my Dad, and he drove over an hour to take me out for coffee and to talk. He let me know I was still loveable and would find my own happiness – which, of course, I did.
I’m going to share this! It’s beautiful. And so true. I feel thankful that my husband takes the girls to their favorite diner for breakfast every other Saturday, takes them mini-golfing (even though he hates it) and laughs at their jokes, no matter how ridiculous. I’m a lucky girl.
Thanks, TKW! I appreciate the shout-out!
Beautiful. True. Made me cry. I miss my Dad.
Reblogged this on I Spy with My Idiosyncratic Eye … and commented:
It’s More Than Just Beautiful Words
You are so sweet to do so! Thank you!
Fantastic post, Jane. Will leave it on spouse’s pillow, I think 😀
I too leaked at the eyes. This is how women should be raised, loved and how the women who visit their ageing father are raised. LOve works