I believe in the father-daughter relationship. A father has the power to heal, provide hope and make his daughter feel like the most important female in the universe.
My father works hard for a living. He is gentle, humorous and loving. He challenges me when I am being selfish, encourages me to reach my full potential and tears up when I achieve a dream. He taught me how to bait a hook, clean a fish, make a pinhole camera, look for constellations, drive a car, play poker, take care of roses and to appreciate the natural beauty God entrusted to us. Most importantly, my father taught me to have self-worth.
When I was 13, my father drove me to school every day. Each morning he quietly came into my room, gently tapped me on the shoulder to wake up, and did not get angry at me when he finished getting dressed and realized I had fallen back asleep. Once I was ready, I would join him in the car and it was in the next daily 20 minute drive that I began to believe in myself.
My dad spoke of his childhood, his frustrations at work and in his relationships with friends and family members, his hopes for my siblings and I, and his love for my mom. The stories were purposeful, because woven between them was wisdom and advice. Every day he asked me about my life and patiently listened to me tell adolescent stories of my world.
At times I know I listened to his advice with the sort-of eye-rolling-please-get-through-this-so-I-can-go-talk-to-my-friends kind of listening. Even so, I heard every word. I heard him say, “Your mother and I trust you and your decisions.” “Your mother and I are proud of you and love you even when you make choices we do not agree with.” “There will be other boys, honey.” “You are precious.” “You deserve to be treated with respect.” “You must take care of your body.” “You are beautiful, you are smart, you can do anything you work hard for.” “You will always be my little girl and I will always love you.”
In today’s media-driven society we are bombarded by unhealthy, unrealistic images of beauty and success. Values can easily be distorted through a lifetime of messages promoting a look-better, lift, tuck, diet, extreme makeover, make-more, do-more, have-more, drink-this, drive-that, buy-everything, look-perfect mentality. A strong self-worth is important to counter-balance this barrage of messages that can misguide our young women. That is why I believe in fathers.
My father continued to impart advice as I grew into a woman, but no wisdom equaled that one-on-one time together, unclouded by media, and uninterrupted by other family members, to help me settle for nothing less than a marriage of respect, passionate love and life-long friendship.
I believe in the father-daughter relationship because I am a mother who watches my daughter look up to my husband with wonder and excitement every time he walks into the room. I know her dreams, hopes and self-image will be shaped by their relationship, and that she will be a confident woman because he is a father with the power to heal, provide hope and make our daughter feel like the most important female in the universe.