June 15th, 2006 06:15 EST
The Rise and Fall of American Royality
My life changed the day I received an unsolicited kiss on the cheek from my daughter, Madison. I lit up like a Christmas tree because my little girl, in her own way, had touched the very core of my soul. Do you know that feeling, brother? I truly hope you do!
Okay, I must admit it: My daughter is absolutely beautiful…just like her mother whom I wisely married long ago. I knew that I loved her mother, but I had no idea that there was room in my heart for another female.
Do I love my daughter? Yes! Do I know how to raise her? No! I am stunned and humbled by the fact that she has been entrusted to my care for the rest of my life. However, I’m willing to step up to the plate and give it my best shot.
That kiss was the moment I realized that the first man a little girl learns to love is her daddy. It was also the moment I truly understood how much a father affects – positively or negatively – his daughter’s life. What I’m about to share with you are my careful observations over the last 20-plus years about women and the impact their fathers have on their lives. I don’t have university-approved research to validate my points, but I think you’ll find that they ring true nonetheless.
Observation #1: A female who is raised by an emotionally connected, strong father usually marries someone just like her dad. Why? The first man that woman learned to love was her father. The first man who believed in her was her father. Any man who doesn’t measure up to those standards has very little chance.
Observation #2: A female who is raised without a father or strong male role model will often attract weak, spineless men who have been mothered to death. Why? She was likely raised by a strong, independent mother who passed on these survivor traits to her children. She will grow up trusting men only to a point and will experience power struggles in her relationships.
Observation #3: A female who is not validated or affirmed by her father will typically struggle with self-esteem issues and always wonder, “Why didn’t Daddy believe in me?” She will jump from relationship to relationship and job to job. Why? She is looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong faces and places. There is a part of her that feels she just isn’t good enough. She can be healed from this lack of love only by doing the deep inner work that will enable her to be whole again.
Observation #4: A female who has been sexually abused by a male figure while she was growing up will often become very promiscuous or struggle with intimacy with men. Although she may not realize it, in the back of her mind, she’s always thinking that men will take something from her that she doesn’t want to give. She wears a mask to hide her true, vulnerable self and has a difficult time establishing relationships with others.
Observation #5: A female who is raised by a father who spends time with her, believes in her, tells her that she’s beautiful, and teaches her how to take care of herself will grow up to be self-sufficient, confident and resilient. She is authentic and has the courage to accomplish anything she sets her mind to.
Observation #6: A female who is successful professionally but lonely personally will attract Mr. Right Now because she doesn’t want to be alone or to be old and abandoned. She will become his momma – put him up in her house, buy him a car, pay his bills and take care of him. Unfortunately, with Mr. Right Now in her life, there’s little chance she’ll meet Mr. Right.
I share these observations to emphasize the profoundly critical role fathers play in their daughters’ lives. I am married to a woman who was raised by an emotionally engaged father who was very involved in her life. She is the strongest, most confident woman I’ve ever known. She loves her father and still dotes on him. When I asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage, he said to me, “Take care of my daughter like I have taken care of her.” Those words still ring in my head. As he has loved and believed in her, I am to do the same. As he did for his Princess, I am to do for my Queen.
I must also do the same for my daughter. I clearly realize that I am raising a Princess who will someday leave my castle and become the Queen of her own castle. She will take into her relationships everything that I have put into her heart and mind. I must love and believe in her so that she will attract a mate like me, who also loves and believes in her. She is only four years old, but I understand that I must model for her what masculinity is all about. Just as every boy needs a man in his life to model for him what it truly means to be a man, so does every girl.
Do you realize that your little girl is going to marry someone just like you? The fruit doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Your daughter will learn how to let a man treat her by watching how you treat her, her mother, her sister…even your own mother. How you communicate with your wife will be the same way your daughter will eventually communicate with her husband. What are you modeling for her? Are you raising your Princess to kiss frogs or to be a Beloved Queen?
If you are a father who has a daughter, a father figure to a young girl or young woman, a mentor to a female, or even a husband with a wife, know that you play an important role in her life. You can be a profoundly positive influence or a tragically negative one. The following list represents just a few of the many ways we can raise Brilliant Queens:
Tell your daughter that she is beautiful and brilliant.
Never miss an opportunity to tell her that you believe in her.
Take your Princess on regular “dates.” Open doors for her, stand up when she approaches the table, help her be seated, order her meal and pay the bill.
Spend time truly listening to your daughter. Fight the temptation to interrupt. Let her finish her thoughts so you can better understand her thought processes and how she views her world.
Occasionally buy clothes or special gifts for her. Know her favorite color and her favorite things, her dress size and her shoe size.
Take your daughter on periodic trips, just the two of you. These special times will strengthen the bond between you and create an authentic relationship that’s based on consistency and love, not performance.
The greatest gift you can give a woman is to believe in her. No matter her age, every woman needs someone who is in her corner, behind her all the way. Belief in oneself is the passageway from an ordinary existence to an extraordinary life. Believe in your daughter, and it will ignite her from the inside out and allow her to shine like the Brilliant Queen she was intended to be.
Simon Says…Raise a Brilliant Queen!