A father is the first man to love his daughter; he is also the first man his daughter will ever love. That's a big deal. A daughter loves by default, not by choice. Something to remember for all the dads out there. While it's true daughters depend on both parents to learn how to love, it is a father who sets the tone for her future success...or, failure.
If a father values his daughter, not just her sweetness and pretty face, but her cleverness, creativity, intelligence, and resourcefulness--she will grow up expecting other men to do the same. When a man does not meet the expectations set by her father, she will know that man is not the man for her, avoiding many, many pitfalls. But, if a father abandons his daughter, devalues her, thinks her less-than--she will expect (and accept!) that from other men. It's equally important for a daughter to see a loving relationship between her mother and father. If she sees abuse of any kind, she will accept and expect it as an adult, too.
It is the same for sons. Disdain for women can translate into a son's future love- (and professional-) relationships. Violence against women becomes acceptable. Financial, emotional, and psychological abuse is also something that will spread misery in the future.
Children are born innocent. Any unbecoming behavior exhibited by a child is only a reflection of what was learned from parents. Once adults, children can judge their own behavior more objectively, but it does not mean negative patterns from childhood will not still haunt their future. That's why fatherhood is so important. A good dad can empower a daughter. A poor father will do the opposite. And, no matter how intelligent, resourceful, clever, or creative, that daughter will spend most of her life battling the consequences.
You see, women are already born into an unfriendly world...a world where they're often seen as prey by patriarchal predators. Even those who see themselves as the opposite. Fathers are the game-changer in the gender equation. Girls certainly benefit from a loving, kind, compassionate, and generous dad...but so do boys. Boys who grow up to become fathers of daughters.
Sunday, June 18th is Father's Day in the States. It is my hope that all the men reading this right now can choose better. Because, even if it's a niece, a neighbor or nephew, how you behave towards others matters--especially women.
Do you want your daughter to grow up and feel trapped in an abusive relationship? The only way out for many women is death. One way or another. Is that what you envision for your child? Is that the legacy you want to leave behind? Or, would you rather empower your daughter to educate, be confident and feel self-worth? Women with supportive fathers go on to lead incredible lives. Of course, women who have shitty fathers can do the same. However, every step of the journey for daughters with unsupportive fathers is that much harder. And, success is already elusive. Difficult. Because, not only are unloved daughters lonely, they're sad. That makes them vulnerable. Vulnerable to what? Bad, bad things...things no son will ever have to worry about.
Fatherhood is not for wimps. It's for faithful, loyal, loving men. Men who care about themselves and others. Ultimately, the father who discards and/or abuses a daughter (or a son...) is a mass of insecurity. Not that knowing it helps the daughter who had to grow up with a father who hated her because he hates himself. Same for sons, who will internalize that self-loathing and become future narcissists.
Moms definitely matter. But a good dad is just as important, if not more so. Especially for the little girls in your life. Those girls will grow up to be women. Those women will in turn become mothers of future fathers. So I ask all the men reading this to consider the following question, and consider it carefully:
Do you want the children in your life to reflect a legacy of abandonment and abuse to the world??? Because, that's what's been happening. If it weren't true, the statistics for men stalking women in the States would be vastly different. The statistics reflecting femicide by male predators would also be vastly different. As would the numbers for rape, violence against women, and domestic violence.
Dads, it's time to step up....