“Daughters”

12 Aug

I have heard a lot of men say that they can tell when a woman has been raised with a father in the home. What I’ve realized is that fathers need to be more than just present, more than just a testosterone filled force that looms around the household as an intimidating figure that threatens potential suitors in between going to work and paying the bills.

Fathers need to be active in their daughters’ lives. Just like fathers are supposed to (stereotypically) play baseball with their sons in the backyard, men need to engage with their daughters too and not just for the proclamation of having a “daddy’s girl”, but because women need a strong foundation in their primary male relationship in order to function socially.

A father needs to show his daughter love and affection so that she won’t crave it. So that she won’t fall for the first guy that gives her a compliment. A father should be so encouraging and affirming that the this girl already knows the woman she is destined to be.  A father should be an example of what a man should be in terms of responsibilities yes, but more in the way he interacts with the world. How does he treat women? Other people? How does he address and resolve challenges? Is he even-tempered or highly reactive?

A father can essentially keep his daughter from being screwed (whatever way you take this statement). He can be the first person she learns to stand up to, so that defending her beliefs or demanding the respect she deserves from other men in the world won’t be a foreign concept. Women have minimal issues standing up to other women. When she is denied the salary increase she deserves, when the boss asks her how much she wants the promotion, as he places his hand on her knee, a woman needs to know how to handle the situation. Who better for the role of teacher, than a father.

What I find is that fathers at times feel that with a daughter, their role is limited. That as long as he keeps his daughter “off the pole (as Chris Rock puts it)” he’s been successful. As long as she doesn’t end up a teen pregnancy statistic or with some deadbeat thug, his job is done, but what these father’s don’t realize that is there are countless educated, worldly successful women who are broken and clueless. Broken because they don’t know their true value, never having been validated by the man who gave them life. Clueless when it comes to how to manage healthy relationships with men because they’ve spent their lives simply “dealing” with men; mastering the skillful art of obedience and invisibility. Sure these women are not strippers, but these women are not whole. And the only one who can heal the issue is a father.

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