Thursday, June 21, 2012

On Dads and Daughters

I grew up a very, very lucky girl.  I had a great relationship with my father from early on, and he's still one of the people I run to most often with a question.  I am a better woman because of how my father (and mother, not to be outdone) raised me.  Recently, I read this article on the Huffington Post, Rules for Dads Raising Daughters: The Good Men Project's List.  Go, read, and then come back.

All of these suggestions are fantastic, and they summarize so many of the ways in which my father and I interacted.  I think #15, #19, and #24 were some of the best lessons Dad taught me.  He included me often in his activities.  He helped me realize what strong women are and how I am surrounded by great examples in my own life (and no matter what anyone says, it takes a Good Great Man to appreciate a strong woman).  While I'm sure he and Mom put me in dresses when I was very little, neither of them pushed me to be a particularly feminine girl--and I really appreciate not having those fights.

Though every suggestion on Huffington Post's article is a great suggestion, I'd like to add one more:

#26: Teach your daughter to be independent.  Teach her to trust her gut.  Teach her to manage her finances well and live within her means.  Help her learn to shop wisely and consider the value of each purchase.  Teach her to call difficult people and request difficult things.  Encourage her to take responsibility for her own choices and not blame others for her failures.  Beyond teaching your daughter how to change a tire, teach her to maintain a wireless network, to use power tools, and to start a fire safely.  Show her what forgiveness, respect, and honesty are every day of her life.  Help your daughter find her voice, the voice that knows when to ask for help, when to ask for time off, and when to stand up for herself.

My father never let me put barrettes in his hair or put nail polish on his toes.  He never played tea party with me.  He didn't even teach me how to drive a stick-shift car.  But he (and Mom) taught me #26.

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