I don’t know if there is any research on the role Dads play in developing the self-confidence of their daughters, but I’d like to share two stories on this subject. Science can take care of the rest.
We weren’t wealthy, and there were four of us to clothe, feed, educate, recreate, and more. The rich cousins had great clothes and no younger sisters. As the eldest daughter in my family, I got great hand-me-downs. And when I did, my Dad took his rightful place in the living room, seated comfortably in his viewing chair, to watch the fashion show. I, of course, was the star and only model. And he, of course, met my every entry with “Ooohs” “Ahhhs” applause and other visible signs of adoration. Never once did he show exhaustion from a hard day at work shlepping mattresses from the factory, to his truck, to his customers’ homes. He carried them on his shoulders. The same shoulders that carried me. I was his Princess, and I knew it.
Dads: Adore you daughters. Period.
The Princess of Hand-Me-Downs
They will adore you back and more. At the end of most summer days, I waited expectantly for Daddy-O to come home. I perched on the front steps and counted cars. When the wait got too long I would allot myself 10 more cars. If he wasn’t home by then, I would go inside. Ten cars later, I allotted another 20, and then…You get the picture. I couldn’t go in. I was his Girl. How could I miss that moment when my heart soared, seeing his truck coming down the street. How could I miss flinging myself into his arms as he stood at the bottom of the steps, yelling “Daddy-O is home.” I waited. I would have waited forever and then some.
Dads: Your daughters adore you. Period.
The Baseball Player
My brother is 18 months older than I am. He and my Dad played the requisite father son baseball, football, and hockey. I don’t think my brother liked it very much. I sure did. I don’t remember being invited to go or being left out. We were a three-some. The same was true for our fishing trips to the piers in Marblehead and Swampscott. Being a girl was no excuse from baiting the hook with those squishy sea worms that we cut in half first to save a few pennies.
Dads: Include your daughters. Period.
“No one can ever rob you of your knowledge.” My Dad believed in knowledge, learning and getting a good education above all else. He read. He cherished encyclopedias and great books. He had a number of schemes to upgrade our brains and expand our minds, but we weren’t the most receptive audience. During his dinner time “Word-a-day” program we managed to talk over him until he gave up in frustration and most assuredly with disappointment. On long drives he had us add the numbers on license plates. I still do that today, an annoying little habit. He wanted us to memorize poetry. I asked “Why?” but was unconvinced by his answer. “If you are ever in prison it will keep your mind occupied.” I have very little poetry stored in memory. There was the collection of classical albums for Sunday afternoon listening, and more.
When I grew up girls we not expected to have careers, but he encouraged my studies and my breadth of knowledge as much as he encouraged my brother’s. For him there was no difference in what we could do.
Dads: Feed your daughters’ minds. Period.
He told me I could do whatever I set my mind to do. It didn’t matter to him what that was, so long as “You do it to the best of your ability.”
Dads: Be your daughters’ cheerleaders. Period.
Meet another Girl and her Dad. He writes a blog about her and their relationship, as well as his musings about being Dad to The Girl. You can see it here – Me and the Girl, The Girl and Me.
I So-Know him (social media) but not IRL (in real life). He adores The Girl. He sings praises about The Girl. He ponders his role with The Girl. The Girl will be a woman worth knowing, if she isn’t already.
And here is something else of interest, the man who is the Dad to The Girl is the son of Gwyn Teatro. Gwyn is a woman worth knowing, one I am honored to have as a So-Friend, and someone I can’t wait to meet IRL someday. Soon I hope.
Author – Dr Anne Pershcel Co-Founder of 3Plus International
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