My dad has been gone for five years now.I still miss him, and a part of me died when he passed away. Every year, when the anniversary of his death approaches, I remember the details of his last hours as vividly as if it were happening now. I can’t forget the coolness of that September morning and how the air conditioner filled the room with the smell of tiger lilies that he planted in the yard. My sisters and I standing by his bed as he struggled to take his last breaths. If you’ve ever witnessed someone die, it is very much the same as a baby being born in that it seems unreal; indeed, it is a holy moment. It was so quiet we could hear the clock ticking. I held his hand and, whether or not you believe me, FELT the exact moment his spirit acquiesced. It really felt like a candle had been blown out, and the world is sadder for it.
My dad was far from perfect, but I am a better person for knowing him. Last week I wrote about 5 Things Boys Need From Their Moms, and so I thought it would be fitting to follow up on what daughters need from their fathers.
1. Girls need their fathers to model what a good husband looks like. Daughters, given the least opportunity, will worship their fathers, and subconsciously look for similar traits in a mate. If Daddy treats Mama nicely, helps in the kitchen, and kisses her goodbye in the morning, this is burned like a brand on the heart of a daughter and she will expect the same from her mate. The same is true if Dad is an abusive jerk. She will grow up thinking this is what she deserves.
2. Girls need regular “dates” with Dad. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, by any means. Even a walk around the block with your daughter shows her you value spending time with her. She also might open up and talk to you about her problems, and ask your advice as a guy. Stranger things have happened!
3. Dads who know how to have fun. It’s fine to be a serious, even introverted personality, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show her your fun side, right? Or, spend time showing her (or teaching her) what YOU think is fun. How to win at chess. How to fly fish. None of this time is wasted, and you will create memories that will last a lifetime.
4. Dads who respect and value women. If Dad loves Mom and shows her, tells her, and helps her, again–daughters will notice. If Dad watches questionable tv shows where women are devalued, she will notice that as well.
5. Daughters need Dads who will look out for them when they are dating. The boy your daughter dates should always have a healthy fear of her father. Dad should not be afraid to step in and confront the boy (or show him the door) if his daughter is being mistreated or abused. Dad should be his daughter’s bodyguard.
To David Coleman, my dad: I miss you. Can’t wait to hear your laugh again.