I don’t have a daughter, but I am one. And this list is inspired by my experience.
1. She is paying attention to you.
By the time I was four, I’d seen my dad build and fix a lot of stuff, so I was utterly disappointed when he wasn’t able to put my broken arm back together. Sometime over the course of two surgeries, a week in the hospital and four months in a cast, I realized my dad couldn’t fix everything.
2. Your presence matters.
Like a lot of dads, my dad isn’t big on showing affection, but he was always there. Every activity I took part in, no matter how boring or how long of a drive, he was there. And his presence made me try harder.
3. She sometimes chooses activities based on how she thinks you will respond. Take notice.
Sure I had a crush on a guy on the wrestling team, but the real reason I took stats for 4 years is so I’d have a common interest with my dad. It gave us something to talk about.
4. Your words last forever. Choose them wisely.
I enjoyed coming home late from track meets and talking to dad at the kitchen table. He always made sure to tell me what I needed to improve on, which was hard to hear sometimes, but he just wanted me to be my best and I appreciate that about him. I had no doubt that he was proud of me, but if I could have chosen his words, the ratio between the “I’m proud of yous” and the constructive criticism and the would have been ten-to-one. The world does a pretty good job of telling us what we’re not doing right. We need a cheerleader at home.
5. If you don’t want her to marry a loser, don’t be one.
I know girls who settled for less than the best, and I often wonder if it was because their dad didn’t show them how valuable they are and how they are worthy of being treated well. I married the most excellent man in the world, and though he is different from my dad in a lot of ways, he is very similar in some very important ways. He is a hard worker and a servant. And I know he will always love me and take care of me.
So there you go dads, we don’t expect you to be perfect. But we sure appreciate knowing you’ve got our backs.
To my Dad. Thank you for raising me to know how valuable I am.