[Editor’s Note: This is an essay submitted by a reader in Union City.]
When I first thought of this article a lot of people (well, friends) said, “Hey Niecy, are you losing it? What are you writing about? Sounds kind of weird.” Laughing, I reassured them that I have not lost it and there is definitely no weirdness involved. Sadly, that’s what our society has come to – instantly there must be something wrong for this woman to make a statement like that. Well society, you’re right. Something is wrong but it’s not the title of this article.
Growing up, I had no male role models that I could actually look up to. My father was a junkie and an alcoholic and my great uncle who raised me was no prize either. I wasn’t around my brothers enough and so when it came time to actually date someone, I didn’t have a clue of what I should’ve wanted in a partner.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only young girl going through this. In fact I knew many of my friends had the same questions and same issues. So when it came time for me to start dating, I went with the first guy that showed me a little attention and made me feel that I was loved and special. HA!! Talk about the great depression! It turned out to be a horrendous mistake (except for my son) on my part.
So where does the failure come from? Well, every time we read a story or article of someone’s life going astray, somehow it always comes back to the mother. This time I feel it’s time to turn it around just a little and bring it back to the father. When I say father, I do mean the daddy. The one that actually raised the child, and put in the time and effort and all the work to bring that child up right, especially if it’s a girl.
Yeah, boys need their dads too, but remember the old saying “daddy’s little girl”? Well dads, one day that little girl grows up to be a big girl and unless you show her and teach her what exactly to look for in a man, she will never know. Hence, “fathers date your daughters,” and this is what I mean. Dads, set aside a day or evening just for you and your baby girl. Give them your undivided attention when they speak to you, whether it be about school, what they want to do when they grow up, boys, whatever; the fact is you will build a relationship with your daughter that no one can tear apart or destroy. She will always trust your judgment, she will feel safe and secure knowing that the number one man in her life is her dad and she can always turn to you for advice.
As she gets older, in her “tweens & teens,” keep the date night going. She’s now at the stage in her life where boys are becoming more intent on getting to know her better. When it’s time for her to begin dating, you will be satisfied knowing that you are sending her out there armed with the knowledge of how she expects to be treated. No one will be able to come to her and do as they please with her, emotionally, mentally, or physically.
Am I saying that she’ll never have her heart broken or that she won’t trip and fall? Of course not, but being a wise dad you will know that these things must and probably will happen. However, you can be assured that she will be strong enough and courageous enough to pick herself up, dust herself off, and start all over again. Can moms teach their daughters these things? Of course, I was a single mom for awhile. I always advised my daughter, “The day you decide to allow a man into your life, do it because you want to, not because you need to.” I was blessed though to find a good man who raised my daughter and youngest son, but he did make sure she knew her self-worth. That’s what it’s all about guys, making sure your baby girls know their self-worth. Making sure that their tears over some guy will be at a minimal. Most importantly, making sure that whoever may come her way she will have an idea of what she wants and what she won’t accept. Doesn’t necessarily mean he has to be just like daddy, but at the same time she’ll know she doesn’t have to settle for less. If you start it off young, by the time she’s grown you will be able to sit back and relax and trust her judgment because she’s seen you at your best.
To all you wonderful, loving, caring, fathers, stepfathers, single dads, (and single moms playing both roles) have a blessed and awesome Father’s Day!!
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