Daughterless Fathers

My wife was telling me about a show on Oprah's network where they discussed "Fatherless Daughters", and how the absence of a father affected their lives. I'd admit, the show topic wasn't anything new to me. I know how important it is for daughters to have a father (or father figure) in their life, but no one never discuss the opposite. As a father of a two year old little girl, everyday she teaches me things that I don't think I would of learned by having a son. Ask the majority of men today if they want a boy or girl, and most of them will say, "A BOY!" And I will tell you why. Because they are scared. They are scared of the unknown. I still get comments from my male friends (the ones who don't have any kids or have only sons) today saying things like: "Man I don't know how you do it." And my reply is to just shake my head-but in my mind, what I'm really thinking is, "What do you mean?" I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. To have this opportunity to raise a girl into a woman is the greatest experience any man could have. But many don't see it that way. I didn't see it that way, at first. When I first found out my wife was pregnant with a girl, my first thoughts were, no football games, no camping, no first haircuts at the barbershop-you know, no typical guy stuff. Not saying that you can't do some (or all) of these things with a girl, but still this is what I thought initially. But now that she is here, I think I got a lot more than those superficial things. I feel like I'm getting a crash course in Emotions 101. Dudes are taught to never show emotions...Growing up you hear, You get hurt, WALK IT OFF! You bet not cry! Be strong ALL THE TIME! Don't show feelings, girls do that! Which translate over in their relationships with women and how they are willing to be there for them physically but not emotionally. Its like a endless cycle of men never learning how to communicate because they are not able to tell and show them how they truly feel. And women need that connection. Even after being married for more than 8 years, this is something that I still struggle with. Since the arrival of my daughter, I am listening more, looking for nonverbal cues, and learning to be more patient. I'm learning that tears doesn't mean find a way to stop her from crying, but to find out why she is crying in the first place. I'm learning that its important to hug, kiss and to tell her that "I love you". You noticed that I said "I'm learning" instead of saying "I've learned", because I'm still a work in progress. But the point I am trying to make is that having my daughter here made me realize that these things are very important and what is needed in my life, not only as a father, but as a husband as well. It shouldn't be all about boys and ONLY wanting sons. You never know, you may need that little girl more than she needs you. I hope to have a son one day, but I am thankful for God granting me this opportunity to become a better man.

So to whoever is reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know if you agree or disagree.

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4 Responses to Daughterless Fathers

  1. I'm going to both agree and disagree with your thoughts. First I'm going to clarify something. The things that a boy needs from his father are definitely different than the things a girl needs. But both NEED their father. Being a PARENT is a growing and learning experience. The things that you are learning from having your daughter are the same things I am learning from having my son. I wanted a son, and it had nothing to do with being afraid to have a daughter. Let me correct that: I am afraid of having a daughter, but not because of a fear of emotional growth or uncomfortable extension but because I don't want to go to jail for shooting somebody! In this world where a "good man" is hard to find, I count it a blessing and a tremendous honor to be entrusted with raising at least 2 that will make a difference and an improvement in it.

    So I say all of that to say, there is promise and privilege in raising either gender, the benefits can just be different, but many are the same. Let's unify as parents and not differentiate between who is better or stronger for doing either job. Especially when we have absolutely no control of which side we will be on!

    1. Darrell, I don't think he was trying to say that girls need their fathers any more or less than boys, or that he's a better father than another man who only has sons. I think he was saying he was a better MAN than HE used to be because of having his daughter. I didn't see him differentiating between or comparing himself to anyone... but himself.

      Yes, parenting is a huge responsibility for mothers AND fathers, whether you have sons or daughters or both. But there are things that he is experiencing and learning while raising a girl that you, as a father of boys, are not. He's learning that having a daughter is a more enriching experience than he ever thought possible, and that his daughter teaches him things about himself that he can apply to ALL his relationships with women. That doesn't mean that his experience is better than yours. It's just different.

      As one of the "daddyless daughters" he spoke about, I know the impact of a father's presence or absence in a girl's life. It's becoming more understood now how important fathers are in their daughters' growth and development. This post was actually highlighting an aspect of the father/daughter relationship that most people don't recognize: how important DAUGHTERS are in their FATHERS' growth and development! If more men understood how having a daughter could enrich THEIR lives, having daughters may not be so scary or be such a disappointment for them. I mean, his daughter(s) can make as great of an impact on this world as your sons.

      What he wrote didn't seem to be a wall between parents of boys and parents of girls. To me, it sounded like a bridge! Why not use this post as an opportunity to learn from (and give insight to) a parent whose experience is a little different than your own?

  2. I will admit, the thought of having a daughter terrified me. In large part because I know how boys are. After having a girl, however, I would be happy with only girls. There is just something about your little princess telling you you're her hero.

    I know boys are tough. There is the whole "walk it off" mentality when raising them. My little girl is almost as tough as the boys physically, my biggest experience comes from learning about handling the emotional side (even my own) in such a different way.

    Yes, I have worn nail polish, make-up, and play jewelry. I'm sure I will continue. Tea parties, dolls, it's all new. I just want my daughter to know I love her and realize she doesn't have to lower her standards or give in to what boys want in order to feel loved. I hope to instill in her confidence and self-worth, so that she may follow her dreams in a way I was always afraid to. I would do the same with a boy, I'm just learning that with a daughter, I have to figure out a different way than I expected.

    Andre, this blog was deep. Keep these coming.

  3. I appreciate the comments! I would love to hear from others as well. I wrote this just to let people know how important my little girl is to my life as I am to hers. I know some things that I mentioned people will disagree with, but that is expected...That is actually part of the reason why I started blogging again, to get different perspectives on real situations and issues that is important that people may not normally talk about.

    And yes Scott, I will definitely keep it coming!