Today, on this International Women’s Day, I am counting my blessings. I am the father of three beautiful young women. My eldest daughter is a newly qualified nurse. She graduated last year, in the midst of this pandemic and is out there, on the front-lines, serving the community by doing COVID tests and now she is working with the elderly in a long-term home that was devastated by an outbreak last year. My two younger daughters are still in high school. I want a great future for them and that is why I want them to know how proud I am. There are many ways we can show our daughters that they are our heroes.
1. Saying "I love you"
I want to be able to tell them every day that they are my heroes. My eldest daughter does great things for others as a nurse and that I am so happy she has completed her schooling and that I helped her to do this. My younger daughters have aspirations that will make them community leaders. One wants to become a psychiatrist, the other wants to work in social justice as a lawyer. You may not be able to give your children the world, but you can tell them how much you love them and the things you love about them. Texting her is a quick way to let your daughter know that you love her. Tell her to have a great day and you are thinking about her.
2. Encourage them to pursue their interests
We cannot always be there to guide and direct them but we can encourage them to discover their talents and explore them. Encourage them to try many educational fields and do not try to limit them due to gender prejudices. Give them a clear definition of success. A girl or woman who is goal-oriented is a woman who is on the right path. Having goals means that you have a direction.
3. Be a good example
We don’t have to be superheroes to be true heroes. Take the time to be an example. You do not have to cure cancer or be Spiderman. We can be strong in our faith, show faithfulness to our families, and by being loving to those in their lives including by showing love for our neighbors, just as we show love and appreciation for their moms. Be a role model. We want our daughters to learn by example, but that doesn’t mean we should allow them to become the worst version of us. Let them see that failures can create better understanding and that they show that someone is trying, so they are not afraid to make mistakes. We can model for them what we hope for them. Be patient with them, give them time and love them unconditionally. Teach them by example to show appreciation to the people in their life. I have learned from my daughters that not every girl gets a fair chance.
4. Celebrate their successes
One of the best ways to show our daughters that they are our heroes is to provide the best for them. This is not a parental or economic responsibility. It's our responsibility. Raising a family and having children is an exciting and positive time. Our daughter should never know that it is anything less.
Watch their successes and show you notice by praising them and giving them what you can to help them improve and grow. When one daughter showed a proficiency in languages, I listened and supported her as she learned Japanese. When another showed a love of art and music, I encouraged her in violin lessons and purchased art supplies.
When my daughter graduated from nursing school, we could not celebrate it with the type of party I wanted to, but I look forward to doing that when we are able to gather. My second daughter graduates from high school this year and I cannot wait to celebrate that and reward them In order to show our daughters that they are our heroes, we need to teach them that there is great value in living life in a way that honors their creator and that recognizes the value of a life well-lived.
5. Be patient with them
It doesn't matter if they are young or old, when you love someone, you are always patient and forgiving and try to be understanding when things don't go as they should. They will turn out great if you take the time to listen to them, offer your advice and show that you are there for them. Remember that they are still children—even when they are 28! They will probably have their hard moments. And you will have your hard moments. But all in all, you will be proud of them and be patient when they make wrong turns. But love them and see the small steps that lead to larger steps. Be patient and loving. Always.
6. Let them try new things
As a father, you are a primary caregiver for your child. You provide them with guidance, structure, and guiding light. What they learn from you will be irreplaceable but so is the confidence to try new things. You were not born with the knowledge to build a fire, so how do you teach her that? Do not be afraid to be a mentor to her and let her test herself in the most basic ways. Do not be afraid to tell her "no" if she wants to do something that will endanger her life or the life of another. Allow them to be who they are. If you grow up always trying to hide from risks, it will have a detrimental effect on your emotional and mental health. The choice for girls and boys, is to not be afraid to try new things as that is the only way to learn, develop confidence, and become leaders.
7. Support them in difficult moments
Our daughters may face difficult moments in life. A lot of people do. But even when you are unable to show up for a sport or concert, write the cheque, or send the text, find a way to show your daughter that you are still in her corner and are there for her no matter what. My girls have overcome many difficulties, many of the times, all I could do was give them a hug and remind them they are loved. They have shown remarkable resilience. I have every confidence that they will overcome the challenges of today and tomorrow. I’m a lucky father to be a part of their story. I’m proud of all three of my daughters.
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