Have you noticed the ways that fathers are portrayed in the media? Generally it is disgusting. Many are presented as morons, idiots and total dimwits. This makes my heart sad.
Yet, have you ever watched a father hold his newborn daughter for the first time? It is a holy moment. Perhaps he feels a little awkward at first, after all she might break, but he is forever changed by the little one he is holding. She has won his heart. They will have a very unique relationship.
A little girl gives her daddy approval and affirmation for doing absolutely nothing. He is her hero from day #1.
She adores the ground that he walks on. She wants him to notice her, to hold her, to throw her and to comfort her. She craves alone time with her daddy. She loves getting all dressed up and going to breakfast with only him. She basks in his undivided attention.
When daddy coaches her sports or encourages her golf swing she lights up with joy. She giggles with delight when he picks her up and swings her up high. Daddy can do no wrong.
What a gift a daughter gives her daddy. What a legacy a loving father gives his daughter!
As a Marriage and Family Therapist I am choosing to set the record straight. Loving, involved dads are not easily dismissed.
They are crucial to their little girl’s development. I am choosing to write this blog in your little girl’s voice.
1. “Daddy, you are the first man to make me feel attractive and feminine. When you notice that a particular color looks good on me, it becomes my favorite color. When you delight in the fact that I slept all night with 10 bows in my hair, I feel noticed. When we go to a daddy-daughter dance together, I feel like Cinderella at the ball. You are the first man to tell me that I am pretty. I feel so special when you notice me.”
2. “Daddy, you teach me what to expect from a man. When you notice and treat me with respect, I feel valued. When you honor my boundaries, I feel proud. When you protect me I feel that the world is a safe place. When you open doors for me, I feel special.”
3. “Daddy, you help me to feel competent. Your love for me is different than mommy’s is. She just loves me. You love me too but you take great delight in my performance. When I fall off my bike you brush me off and put me back on that bike. You help me move out of my comfort zone, discover my strengths, and you reward my performance.”
4. “Daddy, when you give me your focused attention I learn that I have value and that I am worth your time and attention.” You make me feel so special. I love it when you read stories to me. I love dancing with you when we go to family weddings. I love standing on the toes of your big shoes and having you whirl me in circles. I feel like I’m dancing on air. When your big arms hold me tight I feel adored and protected. When you introduce me to your friends I feel your pride in me.
Those are some of my happiest moments.”
5. “Daddy, when you value my creative projects of which there are many, I learn to value my own creativity. When you take the time to sit with me and paint or color or play with my paper dolls I have such fun.”
6. “Daddy, when you comfort me, I feel cherished. When you care about what breaks my heart I learn that a man can be both tough and tender. I learn what emotional connection with a man feels like. I will eventually learn to comfort myself with the type of comfort that you have modeled to me.”
7. “Daddy, even though I know that I am the apple of your eye when you don’t allow me to manipulate you, I learn how to be in relationship. I learn about boundaries and I learn to hear the word, “no”. I learn where I end and another person begins.”
8. “Daddy, when you cuddle me, kiss me and rough house with me, I feel treasured.”
9. “Daddy, when you make mistakes and apologize for them, I learn how to handle my own mistakes. I learn that often there is much to learn from making a mistake. I learn it is human to make mistakes and I learn that mistakes have nothing to do with my value.”
10. “Daddy, when you are vulnerable, I learn to see someone’s soul and to care about someone else’s feelings. I learn that no matter how big you are, you can still feel sad and anxious. I learn that emotions are part of being human. When you cry over injustice, I learn to care for the underdog.”
11. “Daddy, when you don’t make me bad when I disagree with you but instead you listen to my logic, you teach me to value my intellect. You also teach me to think before I speak. When you present me with moral dilemmas and ask me how I would approach them I learn to think. I also learn how complicated life can be.”
12. “Daddy, when you value women, starting with my own mother, you teach me to value my own sexuality. When you talk to me about my mother and I can sense the respect and love that you have for her I will value being a mother someday.”
13. “Daddy, when you teach me that being a girl is not incompatible with ambition, competence and achievement, you teach me to dream, set goals and reach for the stars.” When you introduce me to women who are authors, teachers, businesswomen, attorneys, entrepreneurs, artists, doctors, pastors, motivators, athletes, you increase my vision of my personal possibilities.”
14. “Daddy, when I see your heart, when I see you bowed over in prayer, and when you take me along when you are supporting causes or going on mission trips I learn to see beyond myself. You broaden my world and teach me empathy and compassion.”
15. “Daddy, when you love God, and teach me about his love for me I learn to let love in. I learn to seek a power higher than myself. I meet a comforter for life and I learn that what I see with my eyes is not the whole picture. You set me on a path for life.”
A girl’s first love is her father.
Until our next Conscious Lover’s Blog…