This isn’t the punchline to a Chris Rock joke. As the father of a girl, you have one job.
That’s it. You have a simple, yet burdensome task.
Your job is to protect her – not like a fragile piece of jewelry or art – but like an invaluable resource you can’t live without. She’s not a diamond. Our daughters are more like water. We need them to live right now. The world needs them in order to live on.
I know we love our sons, but send the young man outside to practice his free throws for awhile. Our daughters need us at the moment. Disrespect for them and disdain toward them may be at an all-time high.
And I’m not talking about the threat of the hormonal teenage boy. He’s no threat. We can see his game coming a mile away. We used to be him. Silly rabbit.
This isn’t about the existential threat of song lyrics and movie content, either. We pay for cable and the data plan. We can restrict her phone apps to Bubble Breaker and Extreme Sudoku if we want. Same goes for TV. If push comes to shove, might I suggest the Sprout channel.
We must protect our daughters from the monsters we helped create. It’s not OK to say to a young man he’s so talented, he can have any woman he wants. Our girls are not the pickup truck that comes with an MVP award. They are not trophies, accessories or swag.
Her increased prowess as an athlete doesn’t make her a man. She’s a stronger young woman and that’s plenty in and of itself. Encourage the development of her speed, strength, intelligence and accuracy.
Institutions designed to support our girls are under attack. Our society has elevated those who blatantly disrespect them. As their fathers, we must push them to be their best selves, not the female version of the son we wish we had.
We must protect them from obvious harm and the harm coming from those who think they are helping. Everything is not for your daughter, although it may be perfect for someone else. It’s up to you, her father, to be the gatekeeper.
Look for a moment at the picture included in this post; it’s of my Junior and her Dance Plus teammates. What you can’t see behind those megawatt smiles is the future they will face and the enormous pressures they will endure.
Children will one day look to them to ease the pain, a friend will ask them for advice on an abusive situation, and they’ll lead groups to fight injustice and help those less fortunate.
All while being football, soccer and dance moms themselves.
But what about love? Aren’t we supposed to love our daughters, too? Yes, however, the protection part is what we’re best suited to do naturally. They’ll teach us to love. It’s what they do best.
And when your daughter shows you how to love a flawed person unconditionally, do what you do when her mom picks an outfit for you to wear:
Repeat it and pretend it was your idea.