I have had many more blessings in my life than I probably deserve, and the greatest of them all are two beautiful girls, Stacy and Kathryn.
“No one in the world can love a girl more than her father.” – Michael Ratnadeepak
Amen to that.
I have never been much of a crier. I don’t cry easily, as I have learned over the years to push uncomfortable emotions down deep inside and out of reach. After lots of practice, I became good enough at this that it happens naturally, and is something I would like to undo.
But I digress …
Thinking deeply about my daughters and how much I love them is one thing that can bring tears to my eyes. I haven’t always been a great father – I’ve made my mistakes with both of them; disappointed and let them both down at times – but I have always loved them more than words can adequately describe.
A brilliant thinker named Joseph Addison may have said it best: “Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives, there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters, there is something which there are no words to express.”
In the Bible, Deuteronomy 6:6-9 tells us: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
In Ephesians 6:4, it says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
This is something that definitely was not done, me raising my girls according to a lot of Christian teachings, because for a long time I wanted nothing to do with God or religion, and they both are products of broken homes. I know they have suffered in various ways because of that, and it is something I will always regret. But they are healthy and reasonably happy young women now, and they know I love them, but we are not as close as I’d like to be.
Being mostly a part-time father, serious discipline from me was rare. It was not needed. There was a time, though, when my youngest was a senior in high school and living with me, that a firm hand was needed. And I came down pretty hard on her, letting her know in no uncertain terms my displeasure, and puttting a number of restrictions in place.
This was the first time I’d had to put on my fatherly disciplinarian hat, and it did not go over very well. She complied with my conditions, but our relationship soured quite a bit after that, and unfortunately is still not quite the same. There has been healing and forgiveness, but still there is something missing, and she does not confide in me things that she might otherwise, if I had handled the situation a little differently.
But I learned from it. I continue to love her, and someday that old bond and trust will return.
According to Victoria Secunda: “A daughter needs a loving, available, predictable father or father figure who can be counted on, whether divorced or at home. She needs his best paternal intentions, even if his efforts occasionally fall short. She needs his maturity and limit setting and sexual oppositeness, so that she can function with confidence in the wider world of adult love and work.”
Certainly nothing there with which to argue. And I think I’ve done a fairly decent job with all that. I always did things with good intentions, with some level of maturity and wisdom, and occasionally fell short with both my girls.
If I had it to do all over again, of course I’d do some things differently – simply because I never in a million years want to hurt them, disappoint them; let them down.
The only problem is, I’m human and did not have a great example of parenting myself; but like my mom and dad, I did the best I could with what I had. And, overall, even though my parents made plenty of mistakes and let me down at times, they also gave me some good things.
Proverbs 22:6 says: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.”
Today, I’m a decent enough fellow, always working to improve myself. One reason for that is because – more than anything else in the world – I want my daughters at the end of my life to be able to honestly say, “He was a good dad.”
If they know in their hearts that I loved them, and believe that I was a good dad, my life will have been an overwhelming success.
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