Things I want my daughter to know

Real-life story from Alan, dad of three

Someone once told me, “Boys are easy but ah, the girls”. Esther is definitely a girl – a veritable rollercoaster of emotion. A tornado and a summer breeze in one day.

The early years were manageable enough, but these ’emerging years’, they’re tricky. She’s being pulled in so many directions. While still new at life, she’s being told too many conflicting things about herself – by her friends, by the media and by her family, not to mention a bunch of dodgy guys too. It’s a time when she needs to rely on all the good stuff invested in those early years that tell her that her dad is someone she can really trust.

It seems to me the stakes are so high when it comes to guiding daughters into adulthood – never was such a fine line walked. Dads need to apply just the right balance of old-fashioned discipline, understanding, straight talking and love, lots of love.

Having a teenage daughter calls the Kiwi dad to move out of his usual state of emotional constipation, his black and white (mostly black, “go black”) view of the world to try and explore just what she is feeling about life and about herself. This is of course made twice as hard by the sinking feeling one sometimes gets that just maybe she doesn’t need you any more. This is not true! She needs you all the more but just differently.

She needs to know –

That she can hold to her dreams, that she can have a mind of her own and know her true voice.

Yes, girls can do (almost) anything. That includes understanding rugby, holding down a great job, or fixing a bike.

That beauty is rarely found in Vogue – beauty is something from the inside

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched but are felt with the heart.” Helen Keller

Life and love are not like a movie – love is the beautiful bit after the hard times and after the romance

I see so many young women waiting for the ‘perfect guy’ – the guy who’s always there, never tired, never grumpy, never ‘needs ironing‘. We can expect too much of each other in love.

That her dad will always love her and always believe in her

Dad’s need to be able, before anyone else, to see the beauty in their daughters. No doubt, no qualification.

 Being Esther’s dad is a real privilege– remind me of that next week will you?


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