I always wanted a son, but when the desire to have a child became a reality I paused, only for a moment, and it was in that ponderous moment that I knew; I really would love a daughter. When my wife and I had the scan, the one that tells you the sex of the baby, we found out that we were having a little girl. "Sh*t, what on earth do I know about girls?". I had grown up in a home with two brothers, a father, a male dog...my poor mother and the cat were the only ones who were from the "other species". But I felt a sense of calm when I imagined having a little daddy's girl, and that dream has become a reality and I have been living the dream for just over three years now.
When the news started to spread that we here having a little girl, so did the comments about dating and boys and the future of my little girl's love life. Isn't it weird how men think? This poor little beauty hasn't even been born yet and already she is dating or not dating - seventeen (or whatever age is suitable to start dating - maybe 33) had come by so quickly and she hadn't even left the womb yet. I was told that it is better to have a boy as that way you only have to worry about one penis and not hundreds of others. As raw and crass as that is, it is not something that a father is easily able to dismiss. Then my amazing 120 kilogram, 6'4" brother-in-law reassured me that there are three uncles the future suitor will need to impress as well as me, her father, before he can even think about dating my daughter. This poor bloke, somewhere out there, probably not even born yet, is receiving telepathic threats. It's funny how we men are; sex occupies our mind on more than one occasion per day, yet when it comes to our daughters, we don't want to hear another word on the matter!
So why am I addressing this now, my little one is just three-years-old. Well, quite simply, a few articles have been doing the rounds on the Internet and one was really profound and thought-provoking. But before I come to that, there is another "trendy" set of rules doing the rounds on dating our daughters. It is entitled "10 Rules for Dating My Daughter" (very quirky I know!). Here they are in case you have not been "lucky" enough to read it or you just didn't care when you saw the title on your Facebook feed:
- Get A Job (A great 'The Offspring' song by the way)
- Understand I Don't Like You (I don't even know the poor bloke)
- I'm Everywhere (Well, unlike God, I am not omnipresent and this would just be a lie really)
- You Hurt Her, I Hurt You (I'm sure I could muster up some emotional damage)
- Be Home 30 Minutes Early (Well, I wouldn't want her missing the end of the film now would I?)
- Get A Lawyer (This seems a tad unnecessary)
- If You Lie To Me, I Will Find Out (that dusty polygraph set that we all keep in the back of the cupboard may come in handy)
- She's My Princess, Not Your Conquest (Now that's a little bit more intelligent; way to go!)
- I Don't Mind Going Back To Jail (It's hard to revisit somewhere you have never been before; think about it!)
- Whatever You Do To Her, I Will Do To You (No Thanks!! I won't be French kissing any boys)
If you are really wowed by these wonderfully imaginative rules, there is a group you could join called D.A.D.D - Dad's Against Daughters Dating (yip, I am being serious, they seem to exist). Anyways, back to the thought-provoking piece I read the other day. It is bravely entitled 'Dear Daughter: I hope you have awesome sex' and it can be read here. The author talks openly on how sex and love is a wonderful thing and comments (rather intelligently) on why he would not want to deny his daughter the privilege of experiencing the wonderful things in life.
This is a bitter pill to swallow as a father, but the author recognises that consensual sex is an agreement between two parties, not just one. For me, an active Christian, there are so many ways that I can view this as a negative narrative, but at the heart of it all, this guy is absolutely right. I am so deeply in love with my little girl, and I welcome anyone to try and love her more. If there is someone out there why would I want to deny her a life of love and happiness. Yes sure, these "10 Rules..." are just a light-hearted view I'm sure, poking fun at fathers and how protective they are (and rightly so) of their little girl(s), but we do carry this idea that no one will ever lay a hand on our daughters as long as we live.
In reality, the challenge lies with my wife and I. It is our responsibility to instill a sense of self-worth and values which will encompass my daughter's very being throughout her life, equipping her to make moral and sound decisions based on the teachings of her parents and school teachers. Peer pressure is a reality, but a positive self-esteem is too. Through love, and trying to uphold the few thousand kisses I shower her with every day for as long as possible, I will continue to ensure that she feels loved and appreciated, and therefore knows what it is like to be treated properly by a man.
Wherever he may be, my daughter's future husband is more than welcome to love her as much as I do.