“Fathers, be good to your daughters. Daughters will love like you do.”
– from Daughters by John Mayer
As men, we need to be better. We need to realize the consequences of our actions. Of course, we see our main mission as providing and caring for our family. A lot of that mission means providing the material things that our wives and children need. Most of us do a decent job of that – of paying for things. Yet, that’s just the basics. That’s just the foundational stuff. I feel that what we really need to pay attention to is “how we are being” as we are providing. What I mean is that it doesn’t count for much that I’m cooking breakfast for my daughter or answering emails while I’m caring for her, if I’m slightly annoyed while I’m doing it. Of course, there are things that I need to get to each day so that I can provide for the physical needs of my family. Yet, how am I providing for them emotionally?
My daughter is probably not unique in that she feels and reacts to my emotional state. She’s light and joy and love nearly all of the time. Yet, when I’m grumpy, she starts to have some strange behavior. When I’m noticing that in her, it’s generally a huge mirror for me.
“I know a girl. She puts the color inside of my world.” – John Mayer
My 16 month old daughter, Aquiline Love, truly does put the color inside of my world. If I’m away from her for more than an hour, I miss her. I talk about her all of the time and can’t wait to see her smiling face light up again when she sees me. I’m striving to do the best that I can, to not only provide the material needs for her, but to also mind my emotional state so that she stays as the being of love and light that she is. Yet, I don’t always live up to the high expectations that I’ve set for myself. At times, I lose my cool. My patience can wear thin. Sometimes, I feel like I’m in pure survival mode. However, I don’t want my emotional instability to affect her in any way.
I had a client session earlier today with a woman who was realizing that all of her challenges with men stem from her relationship with her father. I know she’s not unique in this. I know it’s the intention of every father out there to do his utmost so that their children can care for their own wellbeing and that they keep their love light shining bright. Yet, why are there are so many daughters who are pissed at their dads?
We need more than good intentions. The line from John Mayer’s song is correct: Our daughters will love like WE do. So what’s required of us is MORE LOVE. Maybe not only for our daughters and wives, but also for ourselves. For how we love ourselves is reflected in everything that we do, think, and say. It’s often the things that are unsaid that are exposed by our manner. It’s THOSE THINGS that require our attention.
My daughter’s love is the most precious thing in the world to me. When she touches her hand to her heart and says, “Dada”, it melts my world.
How can I have the same love and compassion for myself?
How can I have that same love and compassion for others?
In this moment right now, I forgive myself for not living up to being the idealized version of myself. I have a commitment to showing more love to her, myself, and to everyone around. Not only in the first ten minutes of seeing her, but also when I’ve been on “baby duty” for hours and also need to tend to something else.
How can we each love more so that our children do so as well?