I married the man of my dreams. I’m not going to lie, he came with a few rough edges that were quickly polished when he became a father. This tough guy’s heart can melt in seconds the minute his daughters throw their arms around him and call him daddy. I have to admit I used to get a little jealous, there is a bond between them that is only understood by them. When our girls were little, they would cry uncontrollably when their dad left for work. Until my friend Liz Diamond taught me a song to sing to them that goes like this… “Daddy has to go to work so he can earn some money, so he can buy some bread and milk for his little honey.” I had to sing this every morning as they waved good-bye to him.
Here are 7 things that make all the difference in a father-daughter relationship.
He lets them know what his expectations are.
About education, relationships, modest dress, who they date and marry, Always allowing them to make their own choices. His daughters know what their father wishes for them but they also know that he loves them even if they choose something different.
Is present at their events.
He has been to more dance performances than he cares to admit. But one thing is sure, he was always present and that meant the world to our daughters. Some of these events he described as “painful” especially when they were young. In high school and college the performances became moving, though he did throw his arms up in the air and cheered when he saw our daughter’s senior piece and last dance. Watch out, here come the granddaughter’s ballet performances!
Is gentle in times of trouble.
Three out of our four daughters wrecked their cars in the first year of driving. A pretty expensive time in our lives to say the least. Every time they called me first, worried more about how mad their dad would be than anything else. To their surprise, their father gently took them in his arms and let them know that he was so grateful that they were not more seriously hurt. Dried their tears and took them home. No lecture, no punishment. Just calm words of advise, caution and a gentle lesson on better driving skills.
Creates meaningful memories.
From family vacations to activities around town. These times are full of conversation, stories, songs in the car, hikes, eating out, picnics in the park, long walks, a trip to get an ice-cream cone. And not just activities, our girls have great memories of their dad dressing them and doing their hair. It horrified me that he took them out in public with outfits he chose because they rarely matched. But they loved it and so did he.
Gives them “the look”.
Our girls claim that their dad has a look, so scary that from when they were tiny all it took was a look and they knew to behave. From church to restaurants to any public place, the look has actually been very helpful. On the other hand, he also has a look that can say “I love you” to them from across the room.
Talks openly about boys and men.
His girls know how a man should treat them because of the numerous conversations he has had with them on all kinds of topics. He has been known to shew away a few boyfriends that did not meet his approval. The girls eventually saw the light and thanked him. Once, when our oldest daughter was in college, as she was picked up for a date, a nice looking young man panicked as he recognized who her dad was, his former high school principal. He started talking fast and in a nervous voice said: “Mr. Dowdle, I have changed, I promise.” We got a kick out of that one!
Let’s them know he loves their mother.
Ok, I have to admit this one touches my heart and is my favorite one. Nothing means more to daughters, than a father who often reminds them of his love for their mother and shows it in how he treats her and speaks to her. His example is so powerful that when choosing their husbands, they look for that gentle side.