Earlier this week, I came across the article, Rules for Dads Raising Daughters, and found myself getting teary-eyed when I went through the list and thought of my dad. It’s a long list and as B said “filled with all sorts of good stuff that you should already know and/or that should be common sense,” but I couldn’t help but think of how my dad raised me. In honor of Father’s Day, I’m sharing some of the tips for fathers with you and thanking my dad for meeting this criteria, set up by the Good Men’s Project:
Let her play in the mud.
Okay, maybe I played in the sand more than in the mud, but my dad always let me get dirty and play however I wanted. Yes, I played with Barbies and My Little Pony, but I also played softball – with my dad as my coach. I had no idea at the time how time-consuming and emotionally draining a job that could be – but I know now that coaching a girls’ softball team is no easy feat.
Remember that the way you talk about and treat women will have a lasting impact.
For as long as I can remember, my Dad has called my mother names of affection, held her hand in public, and acted in small romantic ways – even today, after 30 years of marriage. I’ve never heard him use the word b**** or other derogatory terms toward women. My mom definitely chose a keeper.
Cry when the family pet dies.
Thank goodness I’ve never had to face a pet dying but if I did, I know my Dad would cry. I’ve seen my Dad cry or tear up countless times – he has never once felt like he had to hold in his emotion to “be a man.” In fact, it became somewhat of a joke in the family that I had to stop making him handmade cards in elementary school because it seemed that no matter what card I made him, he would tear up!
Read her books with great heroes — both boy and girl heroes.
This is another area my dad excelled in – reading books to me. I think most parents stop reading to their kids before bed after they get old enough to read to themselves – or at least somewhere in elementary school. Not my dad. I’m not talking about Dr. Seuss – sure we read those – but we made our way up to books like Nancy Drew, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Rings and Fahrenheit 451.I think he read to me until I was in late junior high school and eventually had to stop because I was spending the nighttime doing homework and talking to boys on the phone.
Share music with each other.
My dad (and mom) have always shared their favorite music with me – and vise versa. Family car trips included tapes and then CDs and singing along to whatever my parents were listening – from Allman Brothers (I was named after Melissa) to The Who to the Beatles to Jackson Brown to Billy Joel. My dad even attended my first concert (well, he chaperoned) and put up with Third Eye Blind and Eve 6 – from the back of the room of course – without complaining.
I was supposed to be spending Father’s Day with my dad this year - but due to work schedules and travel time (the drive from NY to Cleveland is never easy) I’ll have to wait another week. Until then – thank you Dad for all you’ve done!