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A Father's Love: Lessons For My Daughters
A Letter To My Daughter
As the father of three daughters: a twenty-year-old, a ten-year-old, and a three-month-old (and two 16 year old twin boys), I want to make sure that they're learning the important things.
Sure, they know how to surf, how to score a baseball game, and how to burp just as good as their brothers (a little better, to be honest), but are they learning all of the important lessons they'll really need later in life?
I never really understood just how much I didn't understand women until I had to raise one. So I sat down and came up with these lessons; these are lessons that every dad should teach his girls, because they'll be the foundation of the woman she grows up to be.
Hopefully, they'll turn out okay, in spite of having me as a father (although, I stand by the whole "learning to score a baseball game, that's a valuable sill these days).
Boys Or Girls?
Which do you think is easier to raise: Boys or Girls?
You Are Beautiful Just As You Are
Society puts a lot of pressure on girls to be "beautiful"; it's not fair, but it's reality. As you get older, you're going to be told that X brand clothes are cool and will make you cool if you wear them, or that you need to make your hair look like (Fill In Celebrity Name Here), to be popular, or that you should only weigh a certain amount. Ignore all that because it's complete nonsense.
First of all, beauty is highly subjective, and what's beautiful to one person, may be downright unappealing to another. Real beauty isn't about looking a certain way, or wearing a certain style of clothes; real beauty comes from knowing, and accepting, that everyone is unique, and it's that uniqueness that makes you beautiful.
Daddy's Little Girl
Never Let Anyone Tell You "Girls Can't Do Something"
You were all able to swim before you could walk, and you're better on a surfboard than both of your brothers, so never let anyone tell you that there are things you can't do because you're a girl (except for date, I firmly support anyone who tells you girls shouldn't date).
You also have to understand that equality goes both ways; great women paved the way so that you'd have the same opportunities in life as boys do. Women like Sandra Day O'Connor, Sally Ride, and Madeleine Albright. They helped make it possible for women to do anything they choose to, so always do your best to live up to that.
I never want to hear you say "I'm just a girl", unless you're singing the No Doubt song, in that case crank it up and have fun.
"Zoe Jane" ~ Staind
Fearless Is Not The Same As Reckless
I wish I could tell you that we lived in a different kind of world, but this isn't one of your Disney movies. You learn in school, and I drill it into your head constantly: never talk to strangers. As you get older, you're going to have to learn to mind your surroundings (yes, like in the Batman movie); be careful walking though parking lots at night, always try to go out with a friend, and always remember what I taught you about fighting.
This being said, I don't want you to live your life in fear, I just want you to remember that there is a big difference between being fearless and being reckless. Being fearless will help you live an amazing life, being reckless will inevitably bite you in the ass because it relies heavily on luck, and all luck runs out eventually.
Don't Try To Grow Up Too Fast
If I didn't know better, I would swear that your first words were: "Daddy, I can do it myself, I'm a big girl". You've always been mature for your age, and as you've gotten older, you've only become more independent. Believe me, I love that you can make your own cereal in the morning (especially since you love to get up at 5 am on the weekends), but remember, no matter how mature you think you are, you're still a little kid. Enjoy it.
You're going to be an adult for a long, long time, and once you get there, there's no going back. Take your time getting there and enjoy being a kid for a little while longer. Trust me, being an adult isn't all it's cracked up to be, your first trip to the DMV will have you longing to be back in school. So just relax, you'll get there soon enough.
"My Little Girl" ~ Tim McGraw
Sex Is Not The Same As Love
As you get older, and start dealing with relationships (believe me, I'm not looking forward to it), you're going to get pressured to have sex. By your friends, by your boyfriend/girlfriend, hell, society practically triple-dog-dares you to jump in bed as soon as you can, but let me say this as clearly and as plainly as I can: you do not have to sleep with someone to "prove you love them", and anyone who tells you that you do is an idiot (and you should never sleep with an idiot).
Love never requires "proof", that's precisely what makes it love. Love, while irrational and more than a little maddening at times, is unconditional. Someday (hopefully when you're late 40s) you'll find someone that you want to be with, and that'll be fine, but you need to make sure that you're ready emotionally as well as physically.
You Will Always Be My Little Girl
You are all brilliant, you always have been. You're so much smarter and more mature than I was at your age, sometimes it's hard to believe you're still just a little kid. As you get older, trust yourself and your instincts, and always know that I have complete faith in you.
I know you never got to meet your mother, but you are so much like her. You have her brains and her wit. You have her kind heart and generous nature. You have her mesmerizing smile and her ability to light up any room you're in. Unfortunately, the clumsiness is from me, but your sense of humor is all her.
My point is, "amazing" is built into your DNA, so have faith in yourself.
No matter where you go in life, no matter what you do, you will always be my little girl. I know, as you get older, it'll drive you crazy when I say that, especially in your teenage years (which I am not looking forward to), but I'm afraid it's just part of having a dad.
Someday, when you grow up, if you decide to have kids, you'll understand. Until then, you'll just have to trust me when I tell you that there is nothing you could ever say, or do, that would make me do anything but love you unconditionally.