As the dad of two daughters, I've never understood the fathers who rarely show up or don't attend their daughters activities: not one soccer game, dance recital, or swim practice. Why have a child? It might not be your interest, but it is theirs which makes it yours. Just because you are male and she is female, doesn't mean you should use historical social norms to excuse your participation in the raising of your child. Three years ago I had a heart attack. I missed my daughters' dance show. Even though I had attended 90% of their activities, I decided I was never going to miss another performance or game. After all, I didn't know how much time I had left. None of us really do. Upon further reflection, I decided it was more than that. So, I came up with a list of positive things a dad should do with his daughter before she leaves the nest or in my case goes to college.
- Hug your daughter and tell her you love her. Multiple times. Daily.
- Attend every open observation, practice, game, recital, etc. Give her flowers. When appropriate.
- Let your daughter paint her bedroom when she is older. Buy her good brushes. Throw them away. Don't cry.
- Ride with her while she drives the car. Don't criticize her driving. Compliment her at least once.
- Create a painting together. Hang it in the living room. No matter what it looks like.
- Find a sport to do together once in a while such as fishing, soccer, hiking, etc. Give her some tips. Then just be.
- Buy her a cell phone. Program your number in it. Title it "24/7 Availability".
- Bake her a birthday cake. Frost it. Looks don't matter.
- Buy her a puppy or a kitty. You won't regret it.
- Have a tea party with the dolls or the stuffed animals. At the small table. In costume.
- Go swimming with her. No matter your body image.
- Paint your toenails with her. At least once. When she is young.
- Go to a double feature. Romance movie followed by a science fiction flick. Cry at one of them.
- Share hot cocoa and toast with her late at night. Dunk the buttered toast. Listen.
- Take pictures of her doing things. Before she is too old to say no.
- Go shopping with your daughter and buy her a dress. Don't look bored. Treat her to lunch.
- Take her to the daddy daughter dance. Get a corsage. Buy the campy photo.
- Tell her you are proud of her. Be specific. Several times a week.
I'm sure there are others, but this list works for me. It covers art, sports, shopping, creativity, conversation, love, food, admiration, security and empowerment. We have so little time on this planet that dads shouldn't let history, established social behavior or society dictate what they can or cannot do with their daughters. Live a little. You may want them to fly home to the nest some day.
Shared painting with my daughter. Yes it is in my living room. Copyright 2014 BartzPeterson LLC DayParentDad.com.