Out of love, my husband willingly changed our daughter’s diapers; offered comfort in moments of distress and sickness; bathed, dressed, and brushed her hair; played blocks and built sand castles; made her laugh; congratulated her on her educational achievements; hugged her good morning and read her stories before kissing her goodnight. His presence and continuous effort has been the start of a very important relationship. In the life of a daughter, a dad is much more than a listener, a support system and her biggest cheerleader. He is establishing what it means to have a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. There are significant lessons a daddy can teach his daughter. Most importantly, he will build her self-esteem and, we hope, empower her to make difficult decisions. Kevin, of course, will try and not arm himself too tightly as her protector. He has already experienced a few heart palpitations over one brave four-year-old boy who approached him and said, “I’m going to marry her.” As Kevin forgot how to exhale, I gently reminded him that his daughter was only two. There would be plenty of time for him to worry about boys and marriage proposals!
“It may be my Southern upbringing, but I know about a person’s character through their family’s name. There’s an alliance in connecting our daughter with our friends’ sons that I have known for over twenty years. In new friends, there will be an unmistakable trust involved in allowing a boy, even if he is a friend, to take out my daughter.” shares Kevin. “My daughter’s relationships will be like a knotted rope. There’s guidance initially, and then [we move to] slowly allowing her to make her own sensible decisions until she reaches the point of letting go.”
A few thoughts on what one father would like his daughter to “gradually” learn about boys.
- You will admire a boy for many reasons. He may be smart, funny, a good listener, or someone who has it all of those traits. You’ll learn a lot from your male friends and you will learn a lot about yourself.
- There are good boys and there are bad or disappointing boys. Trust and listen to your instincts.
- There is nothing except words (in person) that can smooth over an apology.
- Always remember, you are beautiful and one smart cookie. There is nothing you have to do for someone to love you. He’ll go out of his way to spend just five minutes with you. (I flew over 7,000 miles just to meet your mother.)
- Life isn’t a Disney movie or a chick flick. Get to know the boy’s family and their history. Trust those red flags. Conduct a criminal background check. (If you want, I will do it for you…I already did!)
- I know I may have been hard on your boyfriends; but once you get married, your husband will become family. We may lose a daughter in name, but we’ll gain so much more.
- A girl needs to be almost as strong as a man in today’s time. Yes, he will protect you, but you have particular awesome skills, too. Use your resources and don’t be afraid to take charge.
- Love him unconditionally. Yes, husbands have trouble putting things back where they belong. He’ll put dishes in the sink instead of in the dishwasher. Men need reminders. Don’t rub it in if he doesn’t remember….
- There’s goodness in knowing you met a great guy. You’ll have arguments and misunderstandings while dating and after marriage. It’s good to breathe, think, and then talk about it.
- In marriage, I advise you to pray together, hold hands, kiss often, always date each other. (If you need to take a vacation, we’ll take the grandchildren.)
- I hope you never stop reaching out to me and telling me about your thoughts, dreams and problems.
Four years have gone by in a breeze, dear daughter. Before Daddy and I know it, you will be fifteen and then twenty-five in a blink. We ask that you try not to grow up too quickly. There is time for great friendships, crushes, finding out he likes you, too, and marrying the love of your life.