Fathers, Your Daughters Need You
When a daughter is young, in her little mind, her dependence is solely on her mother. Mom feeds, comforts, watches over, and does all things for her. Fathers are in the background, working hard to provide the resources and environment on which the child depends, though the daughter is unaware of this. The father’s role in a young girl’s life is critical, but she does not know this. Her eyes are on mother. And then a change takes place. Sometime during the pre-teen years, the young woman’s focus shifts to the father.
All Eyes on Daddy
It dawns on the young woman that Dad plays a central role in the family. She becomes curious about how he manages to provide for her needs. She wants to know his interests, his hobbies, his skills, his struggles and his dreams. She wants to know how he became the kind of man, the kind of father, he is today. She realizes that he may have skills that Mom does not possess, and she wants to learn them so that she can gain more independence. Why does Dad always take out the trash? Is it because Mom can’t do it, or is it an act of chivalry? Why does Dad work and Mom stay home? Is this a family decision, and why was this choice made? Why does Dad fall asleep in the chair after work so easily? Is he lazy, or is he worn out from working harder than anyone can imagine? Why did Dad marry Mom? How does love work in a man’s heart compared to a woman’s? The daughter has explored Mom’s role for years. Now she is curious about Dad’s role.
A Model for Male Friendship
There is an often-overlooked struggle that women face for which only a Dad can provide a safe answer. As a girl becomes a young woman, her relationship with male peers shifts. Suddenly, she has to question every interaction. Is her friend giving her a genuine compliment, or is there another motive? Does her friend really enjoy her company, or are there other desires underlying the friendship? It is difficult for a young woman to believe that a young man is sincere when he tells her that she looks pretty or he wants to hang out with her at the movie theater. She suddenly has no male interactions that she fully trusts. This is where Dad comes in. Dad has no secret motive behind his interaction with his daughter. If Dad says she looks nice in her new dress, then she knows that she does. If Dad wants to take her to the movies, then she can sit and enjoy the movie with her guard down. If Dad hugs her, then she can relax and enjoy the honest love. She can wrestle with Dad, confide in Dad, laugh with Dad, and ask Dad’s honest opinion without suspicion. A woman needs men in her life that are genuinely interested in and concerned for her as a human being. It is difficult to get this from her male peers. If Dad does not provide this friendship, permanent damage is done. Her self-esteem will be ruined, since she will assume that all interactions with men contain an element of selfish desire on their part. If Dad does not provide a safe male relationship, then she can trust no one, and she ends up feeling that she is an object to be won rather than a human being to be loved.
A Model for a Husband
Dads don’t want to think about this, but their daughters will be married some day. The model for the man they will marry does not come from observing and interacting with Mom. Mom can tell her daughter all day long about what qualities her daughter should look for in a man, but it makes no difference. The model for a husband is learned by watching Dad. This is where the young woman learns how a man should treat his wife and his children. She will look for a man that matches Dad’s work ethic and morals. She will look for a man that treats her like Dad treats Mom. She will often end up with a man who shares the same vices and virtues as her father. While she may not marry a man who is exactly like her father for various reasons, her father is the standard to which she will aspire. If a Dad’s standard for himself is low, then the daughter, even if she wants better for herself, will only raise her goals slightly higher than what Dad modeled. If Dad is burdened with a truckload of vices, she will settle for a husband with a bag full of vices. If Dad is burdened with an armful of vices, she will settle for a husband with a fistful. If Dad ignores Mom and children to pursue his own pleasures when he gets home from work, she will settle for a man who focuses on the family only slightly more but still not enough. If Dad has high standards for himself, then his daughter will have high standards for her husband’s treatment of her.
A Model for Friendship in Marriage
While a young woman is learning the role of a husband in terms of providing for the family, she is also learning how the relationship with his wife should be. Does he show the sickness of tyranny or the sickness of complete submission to his wife? Does he work excessively and only play the role of provider? Are his interactions with Mom only about the business of running a household? Does he enjoy Mom’s company, laugh with her, comfort her, and express love? Is marriage a business relationship? Are Mom and Dad friends? The way in which their father interacts with their mother will shape the daughter’s expectation for her own marital relationship.
Most Importantly, A Model for Holiness
Fathers are the spiritual leaders of the family. They must show their daughters that God is above all things in importance and that putting Him first makes all other things fall into place. He must model a life of prayer, service, and love for God. He must make weekly Mass a requirement and stress the importance of this part of Catholic life. Statistical research shows that a father’s piety directly affects his children’s piety, much more so than a mother’s level of religious commitment. Fathers must love the Blessed Virgin Mary, as this shows his daughter the importance of, and reverence for, women in the world. He must show them, through his love of Mary, that women are to be respected and protected, as they have a unique and important role in the salvation of humanity.
Fathers and daughters can solidify their relationship today by taking the time to do one simple task: communicate these ideas to one another. Daughters, tell your fathers of the important role they play in shaping you as you grow into women. Fathers, tell your daughters that you will strive to fill these roles in their lives. Do not be afraid to embrace one another now and then in order to strengthen the critical bond that you have with one another. The way in which a father lives out these roles in his daughter’s life can permanently affect the young woman’s future. Take care, fathers, in how you fulfill your duty, as your daughters are looking to you as they become young women, even more so than they are looking to their mother during this period of growth. All eyes are on Daddy.
Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us.
Copyright 2022 Jessica Tucker