by Ken Canfield, Ph.D.
There are a lot of reasons for you to be a loving father to your daughter. She’ll have a more positive view of men in general. More self-esteem as a woman. She’s more likely to stay sexually pure until marriage and have a more healthy view of sexuality.
But, today, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on something we do for our daughters … which, in all honesty, we may be doing more for ourselves.
In a recent research study, a doctoral student looked at the bereavement patterns of twenty adolescent girls whose fathers had recently died. One question the researcher asked was what they would miss the most about losing their fathers. Two answers showed up repeatedly among the twenty girls.
For one, they said they missed their fathers when problems or questions came up. They would often wonder, “If Daddy were here now, what would he say?” That’s not surprising. One of the unique qualities of fathers is their task orientation. Dads solve problems. They restore order to their child’s world.
The second way they missed their fathers was supercharged with emotion. Most of those twenty girls deeply regretted the fact that their father won’t be there to walk them down the aisle some day when they get married.
Have you thought about that moment? That unique and priceless moment reserved for father and daughter. The white dress. The long aisle. The whispers. Shaking the hand of the “unworthy” groom.
My heart goes out to those twenty young ladies and any girl who has lost her dad. A brother or an uncle may step in and do the job proudly and admirably. But somehow, it’s just not the same.
So what does all this mean to you today? Well, I encourage you to take that image—you and your little girl walking arm in arm down the aisle—and use it as a motivation to build a relationship of mutual love, acceptance and appreciation with your growing daughter.