For the dads out there that have daughters, I have a must read book for you! Moms, you may want to read it too, and if dad won’t read it, read it for him and teach him the lessons! While shopping with my kids – in Target of all places – I stumbled upon “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know” by pediatrician Dr. Meg Meeker. Simply put, it blew me away and made we wish I could recapture all those lost years and lost lessons with my soon-to-be-20-year-old daughter Olivia. I’ll tell you more, but go to Amazon.com right now and order it for all the dads in your life!
My story starts in New York City last Thanksgiving. I was celebrating the holiday, taking in the annual Macy’s Parade (scratch that off the bucket list!), and happened to be lucky enough to score a fourth row center seat at the play “Stick Fly,” a great play written and scored by Alicia Keyes. While it had a short run and never made it off broadway, I learned a lesson through it that will stay with me forever. Hear this, dads! I have two daughters, so I can speak with some credibility. There is a scene in the play in which the maid’s daughter discovers she is the illegitimate love child of the family patriarch, a renowned surgeon. The family has gathered to have a week of vacation at their summer home on Martha’s Vineyard. The daughter, now in her twenties, discovering the secret her mother had been keeping all these many years, looks at our patriarch and tells him: a father is the first man to love his daughter, and it is from this love that she will judge the men in her life and decide how men can and cannot treat her. That line hit me like a ton of bricks; I looked around to make sure no one was watching the grown man in the fourth row crying! As tears poured down my
cheeks, I felt I had missed this monumental obligation and had somehow abandoned my own daughter Olivia. For Isabel, just 10, I still have time.
The book I mentioned earlier, “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters,” does an outstanding job of outlining the profound, lifelong impact fathers have on their daughters. The abundance of love and attention, of treating her like your princess, establishes the playing field for every suitor, boyfriend, and love interest that enters her life. We are that benchmark, guys! Ignore your daughters, treat them poorly or indifferently, and we are telling her it’s okay if other men ignore her, or even abuse her, emotionally or physically. We are sending the message that she is not worthy of love, attention, respect, and adoration. The man sets the tone; why didn’t anyone ever tell me this? I look at my own daughters and the daughters of my friends, raised in a fatherless household or an abusive household, and it’s no wonder these girls struggle to find their identity or end up attaching themselves to men who abuse them. You, my friends, know who you are.
I don’t want to give it all away. Meeker’s book is an easy read, just 237 pages – 237 pages that can change your life, your family, and certainly your daughter’s future!