My daughter is the perfect reflection of me. My son looks like me, but my daughter IS me. Everything about her reminds me of myself at her age; reserved, aware, contemplative and earnest.
It’s odd how as a father I parent my two kids differently. With my son I’m challenging, tough, firm and authoritative. With my daughter, well let’s just say I’m “putty”. If you really want to know a man, to truly understand him at his essence, watch him around his daughter(s). He can be the hardest, most cold hearted thug in the world, but with his daughter he’s kind, thoughtful, considerate, and understanding. Why is that?
My theory is that when fathering a boy, we try to steer him, make him strong and tough and he’ll be okay. We encourage him to hide his vulnerabilities and never show weakness or fear; “man up” is a common refrain.
With our daughters we’re in touch with all those emotions society tells us we shouldn’t be . You can be vulnerable, fearful anxious, and even moved to tears because of your daughter. I talk with dads all the time about this, and to a man, we all want to put a “forcefield” or build a protective glass case around our daughters. Remember the scene in the movie “Clueless” when the really cool dude shows up to take Alicia Silverstone’s character Cher out on a date and the father says, “I have a gun and a shovel; I doubt anyone would miss you”. Another of my favorites is from the film Bad Boys 2, when Will Smith says to a terrified teenage boy who is about to take his niece out on a date; (waving a gun in the air) “I ain’t afraid to go BACK to jail”. Classic!
With our daughters we seek to keep them close and away from boys (like us). We share little about our daughters, except her accomplishments; mostly because to do so would be to expose our own vulnerabilities. It’s true, try this next time you’re around a guy with a son and daughter. The conversation may go something like this:
You: hey man your son is getting so big and handsome
Father: yeah thanks, I appreciate that, but he better learn to clean up his room and keep them grades up, or me and him gonna lock horns.
You: and your daughter, my goodness, she’s so beautiful
Father: aw, thank you, and did you know she was captain of the track and volleyball teams, is starring in the spring musical, got accepted to Harvard by the 8th grade, and volunteered at a homeless shelter for a month after school? She has no flaws and can do no wrong.
Fellas am I right? To keep it all the way real, she is our perfect reflection so indulge us.