What Little Girls Wish Daddies Knew

Girl holding hand sepia2I’m spending the morning waiting for my car in the repair shop. Four men in flannel (I missed the flannel memo) and I sit around smelling tires and inhaling exhaust fumes while an enchanting little fairy is in constant motion around her daddy. She climbs on him, giggles, turns around, and then she’s back to twirling on the tile.

She’s bouncing and spinning around in her pink frilly skirt. Her black cable knit tights are sagging around her tiny knees, and her puffy coat makes her arms stand out further than is natural. To top off the ensemble is a shiny crystal tiara. It’s been tacked down to her head with what appears to be about 60 haphazard bobby pins.

She’s probably four years old. So little, so vulnerable. She doesn’t seem concerned about it as she sings about teapots and ladybugs in her black Mary Janes. I feel myself tear up as I watch her. I tear up as I watch him watch her. She could not possibly know at four what impact this man, his character, or his words will have on her for years to come. And, maybe he doesn’t know either.

So, to all the daddies with little girls who aren’t old enough yet to ask for what they need from you, here is what we wish you knew:

1. How you love me is how I will love myself.

2. Ask how I am feeling and listen to my answer, I need to know you value me before I can understand my true value.

3. I learn how I should be treated by how you treat my mom, whether you are married to her or not.

4. If you are angry with me, I feel it even if I don’t understand it, so talk to me.

5. Every time you show grace to me or someone else, I learn to trust God a little more.

6. I need to experience your nurturing physical strength, so I learn to trust the physicality of men.

7. Please don’t talk about sex like a teenage boy, or I think it’s something dirty.

8. When your tone is gentle, I understand what you are saying much better.

9. How you talk about female bodies when you’re ‘just joking’ is what I believe about my own.

10. How you handle my heart, is how I will allow it to be handled by others.

11. If you encourage me to find what brings joy, I will always seek it.

12. If you teach me what safe feels like when I’m with you, I will know better how to guard myself from men who are not.

13. Teach me a love of art, science, and nature, and I will learn that intellect matters more than dress size.

14. Let me say exactly what I want even if it’s wrong or silly, because I need to know having a strong voice is acceptable to you.

15. When I get older, if you seem afraid of my changing body, I will believe something is wrong with it.

16. If you understand contentment for yourself, so will I.

17. When I ask you to let go, please remain available; I will always come back and need you if you do.

18. If you demonstrate tenderness, I learn to embrace my own vulnerability rather than fear it.

19. When you let me help fix the car and paint the house, I will believe I can do anything a boy can do.

20. When you protect my femininity, I learn everything about me is worthy of protecting.

21. How you treat our dog when you think I’m not watching tells me more about you than does just about anything else.

22. Don’t let money be everything, or I learn not to respect it or you.

23. Hug, hold, and kiss me in all the ways a daddy does that are right and good and pure. I need it so much to understand healthy touch.

24. Please don’t lie, because I believe what you say.

25. Don’t avoid hard conversations, because it makes me believe I’m not worth fighting for.

It’s pretty simple, really. Little girls just love their daddies. They each think their daddy hung the moon. Once in a while when you look at your little gal twirling in her frilly skirt, remember she’ll be grown one day. What do you want her to know about men, life, herself, love? What you do and say now matters for a lifetime. Daddies, never underestimate the impact of your words or deeds on your daughters, no matter their age.

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328 comments on “What Little Girls Wish Daddies Knew
  1. Emily says:

    I love this!

    • Sandra D says:

      This is a great example of my Daddy

    • William G. Bates says:

      Just a couple of things that I have learned. First, change the Fimininity to Masculinity and the would apply to our sons as well.
      Something to add: in the one about mom, add “, and other women,” because EVERYTHING he does toward females in general are seen AND BELIEVED. This should be a “way of life” instead of an “off again on again” attitude. Another addition as a separate part: “please speak to me in correct English (or language of family choice) and I will more than likely emulate you without conscious effort.” and finally “PLEASE do not use foul language and then punish me when I use them back to you.”

      Something that most parents do not REMEMBER is that children get at least 90 percent of their lifetime information and character traits in their first FIVE YEARS of life with the vast majority of that from the ones they love the most during that time.

      • joyce says:

        Yes, that’s my dad. This could so apply to little boys as well.
        Perfectly written and brought tears to my eyes. Love you dad!
        Austin and Bailey, I love you more than you will ever understand!

      • Sharon says:

        William, thank you for that last comment. I’ve heard it before and pray that it remains true for a couple of children who spent the 1st years of their life surrounded by loving family, only to be taken completely away and denied all previous contact after their dad died. I hope they will always remember how very much they were (and are) loved and missed.

        • Robin Victor says:

          Sadly, Sharon, that did not happen with my family; my now deceased sister’s ex-husband literally tore her daughter from my now deceased father’s arms when the child was 9 years old, and he never allowed her to have contact with us anymore. I’ve spent the past 33 years trying to re-establish contact with her, hoping against hope that she will have remembered that we loved her fiercely and that she loved us back just a fiercely. Heaven only knows what her father and his family told her over the years, but she has not responded to my repeated attempts to re-establish contact. I’ve been told by mutual friends to give up my efforts, but I need to here directly from my niece’s mouth that she doesn’t want any contact with us.

          • Alexis Hull says:

            A quitter never wins! Never give up hope. This my be all she needs to know that will bring her back to you!

          • Annie says:

            Sharon, Robin, and others with similar stories: please, please keep trying !! As a child I was also ripped away from the only loving Mother I ever had, even though she was my Aunt, she was MY Mother. She raised me for 7 yrs after my Mother passed on. I never had contact again, and I am now nearing 50 yrs old. She lives in another country and the story is long, but…The pain NEVER goes away…Children in these situations, NEED to know that these adults love them still, no matter the circumstances…and we may age in to adults, but we remain these wounded little children for life :(..

      • Phyllis J. Vance says:

        Yes, sir, you are correct. I thank you for saying that.

      • Ardis says:

        Very well said!

      • TA says:

        My Dad was that figure in my life growing up. My Dad was in a house full of women. He was surrounded by 3 little girls. His love, strength, and being able to talk to him about anything has helped shaped me into the confident, self reliant, and independent woman I am today. Thanks to my Dad being in my life as a positive role model growing up I do not feel the need to settle for any man, but wait to meet a man that is worthy of my love! I have never told my Dad how his love when I was a child and teen has shaped me into who I am today. Thank you Dad! Even at almost 33 our talks and just sitting down to watch TV together still mean so damn much!

      • Amanda Garza says:

        I totally agree with you on both genders learning from moms and dads. I remember learning so much from my dad and the life lesson instilled to me. I am one of three girls so he cherished each and everyone of us. He also learned from watching how his mother and father on how they treated his three sisters. It’s a cycle and now that I have a three year nephew and two year old niece I want to help with teaching him all the things my dad and mom taught me. t’s amazing to watch children grow in house full of love. I know it’s not just my niece and nephew, I do have 10 cousins under the age 8 that will also learn every single one of us. I may not children but it still all the same.

      • Katherine says:

        I agree. Glad I had a dad who taught his daughters to value themselves and a mom who taught her daughters that they could do anything.

    • Farleyagain says:

      Those dancing moments in the preschool years are not to be slighted either. A girl dances for her father to see. She is showing off her talents and femininity. She will remember those moments more than any talk with her as a teenager. The younger a child is, the stronger influence any action or reaction you have is in their formation. Don’t miss any chances to build your little girl (or boy). You don’t know that you will have tomorrow.

      • James says:

        “A girl dances for her father to see. She is showing off her talents and femininity.”
        Are you nuts? A preschool child dances because she is a PRESCHOOL CHILD. They don’t even have a gender before age three or so, and they dance because music is an interest and an urge more primal than even language in humans. They are not “showing off their femininity”. That sounds suspiciously Oedipal. All babies dance, some love music more than others, and they dance whether anyone is looking or not. They dance for themselves. They dance because they have no other recourse for their reaction to the music. Saying that a baby dances for its father is pushing this very male-centric idea that the father is the axis upon which all life rotates and that is simply wrong and outdated, relegating even a barely developing human life to no more than an accessory for a man’s entertainment. Jesus.

        • Jade says:

          James, I think I love you. Best. Comment. Ever.

        • Curtis says:

          Some people are just negative… I noticed you called on Jesus when you were done ranting. At least you got that part right.

          • Key says:

            Curtis;

            While James’ words may be uncomfortable or sound negative to you, that doesn’t make his words less true. For those that have studied early child psychology, we force genders ideology upon children so we can better understand them. In Farleyagain’s comment, this can be especially damaging by giving the concept the child is displaying their femininity for a male. In reality, dancing is a normal part of child development, regardless of their biological gender.

            Just remember too look for the meaning in the message, even if you don’t like the words they use!

        • David says:

          Get a grip, James. Why the negativity? A pre-school child will definitely dance to show off for their daddy. Anyone with daughters (I have four) who have put on a tiara or tutu and said “watch me, Daddy” knows that.

        • WJ says:

          James, “They don’t even have a gender before age three or so…”, surely this is simple, they are either a girl or a boy. Why do we try and confuse the matter, and most importantly the kids, by suspecting them anything different?
          “very male-centric idea that the father is the axis upon which all life rotates and that is simply wrong and outdated”…Like it or not, Daddies play an important role in our young kids lives. As a dad admires and ‘flirts’ with his daughter or hugs and shows healthy affection towards his son, they both become secure in who they are and in their sexuality.
          Sadly, we have millions of kids growing up in fatherless homes. Dad’s, let’s be accountable and not take lightly the important responsibility we have in the lives of the children entrusted to us.

        • Brent says:

          James, how many children do you have? Ah, yes, I could have guessed – ZERO! Your illogical and unrealistic arguments make it obvious that you’ve never spent much time with children. “Saying that a baby dances for its father is pushing this very male-centric idea…” blah, blah, blah. All of my children have danced for their father (that’s me…just in case you’re not bright enough to catch that!) at that age, or younger. Yes, it’s sometimes showing off to get approval! “Oh no! It’s male-centric!! RUN!!” But, wait! It gets even MORE frightening…they even dance for their mother!! “Holy Heavens to Betsy let’s get out of here! Now that the children are showing off for BOTH parents, you in your sick mind will decide that somehow all children now want engage in coitus with BOTH their parents.” For those of you who argue with James about children not having “a gender before age three or so,” I’m afraid I’m going to have to agree with James. You see, I have children, and my two oldest “its” didn’t become boys “until about age three or so,” when they miraculously grew boy parts! And our 2 & ½ year old daughter (I know, I’m a little early supposing that she’s “going to be a girl” – I just have this hunch, you know…maybe I’m a prophet!) in 6 months time is going to suddenly develop girl parts! I’m so excited to see this amazing transformation when she finally has a gender! It’s sad when science, and the so called “theories,” among men become like religion, where one believes things to be true, just because his teacher told him so. People who subscribe to this sad religion believe in miracles more extreme than most traditional theologians. For instance, they believe that life doesn’t begin at conception, but later, at some unknown, mysterious, miraculous, point. This religious fanaticism carries on later (as you have witnessed by James’ comments) to believe that gender also miraculously appears at some point unseen by the human eye. I’m sorry, but I just don’t fall under the same spell as these religious zealots – or should I say, Cultists? Oh and Jade, I see you think you love James for his “Best. Comment. Ever.” I find it sad, if not a little scary that the “Best. Comment. Ever.” came simply from one individual rudely ranting at another. I hope you’re not going to start ripping your clothes off for me just because I, like James, lack the character/fortitude/restraint to politely allow others to express their opinions without the fear of a personal attack from a jerk like James or me! FREUD! <–Yes James, I AM taking the name of your God in vain!

        • Brookeish says:

          Hahaha. All kids dance and all kids show off for their authority figures. Also, you can have a crap father and not grow up to be a crap person. Yup.

        • Krystal Roberts says:

          James,

          A lot of what you said is true. Children do dance just to dance. However, this article isn’t about the child dancing for her father, rather, it’s about the magnitude of the impact a father has on his daughter’s development into adulthood. How he treats others, how he treats her, if he compliments her, is patient and encouraging, how he lets others treat him, how he lets others treat her and their other family members…etc… all of this helps to shape who that little dancing princess will become. The roles of mother and father are equally important, don’t get me wrong, but for daughters, fathers are who will teach them about their own sexuality and how to love, respect, and honor themselves as well as someone else who is deserving of their love. Same goes for mothers and sons. Ever heard the phrase, “Daddy issues”? It’s no joke. Fathers have immeasurable power to make or break their daughters. As do mothers have to make or break their sons. The role of a parent, regardless which one, is the most critical and important role one can take on, by far. No other role carries that level of responsibility known to mankind.

        • Sean says:

          James – Please read Brent’s post over and over. What he says is quite educational if you are willing to listen to him. As a father of two daughters (8 and 6) and a college graduate – I agree with everything Brent wrote from experience. Just because your college teachers believed they were the smartest people in the world doesn’t mean you have to mimic their ignorance.

        • Lucille says:

          James, I didn’t have a father-figure growing up. Not at all. I cannot begin to tell you how many ways that affected my life. I didn’t have a Father to screen my dates, or teach me how to act around boys/men, or to let me dance with him – my feet on his shoes. I never knew what I was missing until it came time to have a relationship with my Heavenly Father – and His Son, Jesus, on whom you call at the end of your diatribe. Little girls need a Daddy to have a relationship with so they can have a relationship with HIM. Scoff it off all you like, but coming from one who knows… it DOES make a difference!

        • Mark says:

          I must agree with you James. My little girls have been “dancing” since they were six months old. They weren’t taught. It was a natural reaction to the music.

    • heather says:

      doing right by your child does not always make your child do right. My birth father was raised by an amazing man. One of the best men I’ve ever known in my life. My birth father on the other hand, was never around. He never even sent me a birthday card until I turned 18. I do not feel sorry for myself though, and I do not feel slighted. I had his father, and I had a stepfather who was there for me raised me and loves me. He never made me feel any Different than his own child.he is and always will be my “real” father.

    • evelyn says:

      I Love this and I believe it is so true

  2. Michael says:

    What a great list, my little girl is 3 1/2 and this is invaluable information. Thank you very much.

  3. Darcy Ward says:

    This is very beautifuly written. Its so very true. I wish my dad could have been like this…

    • Alicia says:

      Darcy I am so struck by your reply to this article. I don’t know what you have gone thourgh in your lifetime…There is one God that knows all of our trials, struggles, happiness and I will be praying for you for healing in Jesus name…God knows even I need healing from my past.

      • casey says:

        Alicia- You are a wonderful and thoughtful person. I too could be Darcy so I take your kind words to heart. Thank you

    • Michelle says:

      I wish the same thing. Mine never was around much for me. Had a few visits with him, and he died a few years ago. Even though I’m grown and have forgiven, there are days it is more painful than others. I still carry hope that I will meet him in heaven and he will greet me with open arms and tell me how proud he is of me, even though there are days I mess up completely.

    • Amy says:

      Hugs and God Bless, Darcy. There are many of us out here.

    • SJS says:

      I hear you and have the same wish myself. It can really mess you up spiritually when your earthly father was not emotionally well enough to show his love for you. However,I have watched my husband with our daughter throughout her life and it has been a blessing to see that she will never have the kind of ‘daddy’ issues that I do. She’s 19 now but he’s been amazing with her from her birth until now.

    • Kim says:

      Darcy – I feel the same way. At times I am jealous of my daughter and step-daughters for the relationships they have with their dads. #23 hits home to me. It is said to forgive and forget, I have forgiven but it doesn’t completely go away.
      Bless you all who have struggled with what you have. I hope we may all find the peace we deserve to shed those burdens and move forward and be happy. :)

    • Amber says:

      I read this and wish my daughters had that kind of dad like I did. one of my daughters has a dad who she has never met because drugs are/were more important to him then our family and my other daughter only sees hers like twice a year. i thank God that my dad is there for them so they still have a positive male role model.

    • Em says:

      Darcy, you are not alone. My Dad was like this when I was little and cute, but when I got older and started to have my own opinion and rebel, I was rejected. It was then I discovered that I had a Father in heaven who would never let me down. And now, almost 20 years later, my Heavenly Father is still there for me. Our earthly fathers may let us down, but God never will.

  4. Mandy says:

    I got teary-eyed reading this. Boy, is it true though! You couldn’t have said these things any better, and I remember feeling/thinking these things as a little girl. Especially what you said about how every little girl thinks her daddy hung the moon.. I was always under the impression as a young girl that my daddy knew everything. Thanks for the awesome post! :)

  5. Daniel Sabo says:

    As a Dad of three young girls, I thank you! I think many of us want to be great Dad’s, we just aren’t sure how. Great post.

  6. Tracey says:

    Got me teary this morning.. As a woman of 54 yrs,looking back the past few years into my own life,I am just now understanding and coming to terms with a lot of these issues..(I don’t hold my parents to blame for all of it). Said beautifully. Any parent should follow this whether for a boy or girl.. especially keeping GOD in our daily equation. Thank you so much.

    • Rayna Runnels says:

      For a long time I always wanted to blame my dad for “just being a dad”. I felt as if I could not talk to him about anything, for it would only make me feel uncomfortable. Now I realize that he grew up with all brothers and didn’t know how to make a hard transition with 2 girls. Therefore, dads..maybe this advice will help you with little girls, it would have helped me if my dad would have read something like this “try your best to make sweet girls feel comfortable about telling you anything”

  7. Tim says:

    As a father of 3 girls, I needed this reminder. There a whole lot of hurting “little girls” out there because of various reasons. Dads truly are a girls first love. So, let’s show them what real love looks like…not a broken facsimile.

  8. Marty Gordon says:

    Beautiful thoughts. The funny thing, though, my dad would have never talked jokingly of a girl’s body in front of us kids. I think this generation has grown up with the Simpsons and Married with Children, like that, and have a more crude style. I hope that’s a minority.

    • Marie says:

      Sorry to say this happened during the 60′s and 70′s too. As a young girl I remember my father making comments about women and saying all sorts of distasteful things about them. It really made an impression on me that’s taken years and the help of the Lord to change how I viewed myself or men.

      • James says:

        The role of men in that time was basically the role of controlling women’s thoughts, movements and actions, and keeping them as constrained (basically as a piece of property) as possible. A woman was not allowed to have any emotion or action or desire outside whatever it was that her owner wanted. This resulted in a few generations of extremely entitled males who then were baffled that their mothers had no authority and no power, and their sisters were not shown the love and respect that they were…and when they tried to marry and create this same situation in the home it led to more strife, suffering and discomfort as they “ruled” the house and subjugated everyone underneath them. I am directly referencing my own family history by the way… my parents were born in the late 40s.
        When the Civil Rights Movement (and, piggybacking on the momentum, the later Women’s Rights Movement) came along during their teenage years, men in this country didn’t know where this left them, if women can “now” be doctors, CEO’s and work outside the home all day, don’t want their bottoms slapped at work, and demand healthcare that doesn’t shame their bodies. The whole order was upset. They panicked and responded with a wave of fear and hatred and passed dozens of laws that further controlled women and told them what they can and cannot do with their lives and their bodies, a basic right of autonomy that all men have always possessed.
        A man, a father growing up in these times has been instilled, by the media, with a deep fear of women (and races other than his own). He has likely struggled to understand his place both in the home and in society, as at birth he was told that everything would always be given to him for free and no one could restrict his movements (if a man wants an adulterous relationship, it’s a minor naughty transgression. If a woman wants an adulterous relationship, she’s a slut and the entire society would scream for her to be dumped in the street)… then suddenly the house of cards seems threatened and men are told that everyone has equal rights… and then they are the father of a daughter, a little girl they feel great love for, but society has taught them he must dominate and restrict her. The cognitive dissonance required for a man to love his baby daughter and still see her as a brainless, useless sex object must be staggering. However I have no sympathy for this predicament because a tiny bit of education is all it takes to cure yourself of stupid sexist beliefs.

        • Chris says:

          “The whole order was upset.” What order?
          “A man, a father growing up in these times has been instilled, by the media, with a deep fear of women (and races other than his own).” Only if they let it.
          “The cognitive dissonance required for a man to love his baby daughter and still see her as a brainless, useless sex object must be staggering.” One only needs to find strength within himself.
          “If a woman wants an adulterous relationship, she’s a slut and the entire society would scream for her to be dumped in the street)” That’s a broad brush with which you’re painting.

          I’ve come to view my life and family with less focus through a ‘social lens’, and it’s wonderful. It’s true, media is powerful, but only as powerful as you let it.

          Cheer up, James. Think and love with a smaller circle of focus. You can accomplish so much more. Looking at society and injustice on a grand, multi-generational canvas can be daunting, and disheartening. 2014 is upon us – make it *your* year!

          Chris

        • Anonymous says:

          The tendency for a wife to not have her own thoughts, opinions and beliefs you speak of remind me of my Grandmother. She grew up in the era that she was just an extension, an appendage of her husband, my Grandfather. She lived under this oppression until after my mother and aunts graduated and moved out — then she went to college. Her entire world was turned inside out and upside down the day she started reading Carl Rodgers’ “On Becoming a Person.” She came to understand that she was her own individual person — unique only to her — and had her own independent ideas. She experienced a categorial shift in thinking that she didn’t just have to agree and reiterate what her husband made her believe. As a result of this awakening, it is safe to say their marriage fell apart. Unfortunately, my grandmother never was able to get over the anger and bitterness she felt toward how men treated her in the past. She died feeling very resentful for how she had been in captivity all of those years. She didn’t know how to move on.

          That being said, I really enjoyed this piece. I wish for me — that all of these statements about what little girls wish their daddies knew — only evoked positive memories from my childhood and adolescence. But I am trying my best to just focus on the good and let go of hurt feelings I have. In my situation, only God has the power to help me recover from tendencies I have to feel like I really missed out. I may have felt sad and slightly jealous seeing other girls interact with their fathers in healthy ways like in this piece. I must remember that my Father in heaven knows, loves me and understands me best. I can let go of my natural tendency to feel left out as a daughter to an earthly father — and know that God will never leave me or forsake me. I can count on Him.

        • Gail says:

          James, I hear what you’re saying. But I know that the author’s message is right on for many eras. My grandfather was the best male influence in my life. He was born in the late 1800s and experienced many tragic times during his younger years. He had a huge heart and respect for both men and women. He treated his wife with love, kindness and appreciated her mind and talents because he truly loved and respected everything about her. He never was concerned about being “the manly, controlling person” that may have been the powerful feeling for men at that time, but rather his ability to share love and understanding. He gave me the attention and confidence to be myself and respect who I am. He installed in me the importance of learning and growing in a positive way as a woman and as a person. My father wasn’t from the same background. He paid a lot of attention to me but never had a good background from his upbringing. So I have to say the article has an important message. It really doesn’t have to do with a time period, but rather having a male figure in your life at a young age that can bring you up with love and confidence. Yes, this is also true for boys. I’m now 61 years old and praise God that he gave me my grandfather as a male role model.

        • Cato Younger says:

          James,

          You know what? Its okay to be a man, it really is. You don’t have to hate yourself, or project. Yes, there are a lot of jerks out there, and yes, our society has changed over time. But you seemed to have swallowed some sort of politically-correct, almost-Marxist, class-warfare view of history and society. Women are NOT damaged simply because their fathers have a huge impact in their lives. Fathers are supposed to have a huge impact in their lives, that is normal. Just as fathers and mothers have a huge impact in their son’s lives. Some people don’t do a good job, some do. Thats life and it never hurts to be reminded of our responsibilities.

        • Zeke says:

          James, how is it that you are so sure about what life was like 50 years ago for everyone? Did somebody tell you it was that way? Perhaps it seems that way to you because your own family’s situation was that pathological. Your view of the role of women over the last 100 years is skewed and unrealistic. How do I know? I was born in 1947. I lived it. You don’t have much of an idea how things really were, so you come off sounding very naive and ill-informed.

          • Dadallthetime4445 says:

            As a dad there were no manuals as there are for moms, you love them unconditionally I showed them strength and when behaviors were not acceptable that correction or chastising is what most hang on to. Not the message but the presentation. There is no perfect or right way to teach or raise a little girl. it is different for everyone so when I see comments on words hurt, it not exclusive to little girls, I could only explain and try to drive home listen to the message not the presentation. Men and women see life in very different ways and the interpretation will differ from individual to individual. As a dad you hope they mature and understand the message and realize was this done out of love in the entire picture. I always had my dad and I can pick out many snippets of my 40yrs knowing him the hard hurtful times but if I look the entire painting I see the good as well. SO STEP BACK AND APPRECIATE THE ENTIRE MASTERPIECE! Not up close picking at the imperfections. APPRECIATE YOU HAVE DAD IF HE’S IN THE TRENCHES DAY IN DAY OUT!!!

        • Truth says:

          Spoken like a true paid poster.

  9. Sarah Nakano says:

    Thank you for posting this! It’s so true! As a daughter who has a strained relationship with her father I might use this as a conversation starter/way to communicate. Thank you! And I like #5 too! ;)

  10. As the father of 25 and 21 yr old daughters I so love this list, I hope to have done a good job in being this kind of father. I adore my girls and remember fondly those days of tiaras and Mary Janes. Their pictures at every age from birth ’til now adorn our home. My oldest was just recently healed of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, so especially thankful for God’s healing. Thank you for sharing this list!

  11. Nikki says:

    Love this!!! I have 2 girls of my own and want the very best for them which includes their daddy to be all that they need in life….including teaching them to be a believer in God; faith, trust, forgivness and grace.

  12. Chris says:

    Being a good dad is so important. In our society, it caters to being self centered and self serving. Being a good dad is the exact opposite of that. I have a little girl and I love her with all of my heart. I just found out that in March I will have a son! But my daughter will always be my daughter and I have never wanted her to be anything other than that. It is a blessing and privilege to be a dad to a daughter and too many men screw it up. I pray to God for guidance on how to be a great dad.

  13. Gerald says:

    As a soon to be father of a daughter I appreciate this blog. It blows me away that so many people are concerned about one point in a beautifully worded ensemble. Shows the real problem with America. Take your lesson and move on. Why cause conflict. Love one another. Isn’t love a universal religion we can all adhere to?

    • Chris says:

      Agreed…As a father who is not religious, I value every second of every day. I embrace love, and joy, and helping others because I want this world to be a better place. I try and pass this on to my children. I know they listen even if they pretend they don’t.

  14. Grant Oakes says:

    I’m raising my 8 year old grand daughter alone and have copied this for further review and implementation!

  15. Stina says:

    Great list!
    Wish things had been like that for me growing up.
    My husband and I don’t have daughters, so I need to either find a version of this, or revise it for parents of boys!

  16. Humble Dad says:

    As the dad of a 2.5 year old daughter, who is truly a daddy’s girl, I really appreciate this article even if I don’t agree on every point. Sometimes pieces like this are helpful reminders of the immense responsibility we have as dads. Another post I reference regularly is this one by Arian Foster: http://shine.yahoo.com/experts/nfl-star-arian-foster–6-things-i-ll-try-to-teach-my-daughter–165016060.html

  17. Lori Fisher says:

    As a single Mom, I cannot express how much these wishes really mean to a little girl. My ex, the father of both my children, suffers from alcoholism/addiction. As we all know, that combination is drenched with selfishness. I see how my baby, my precious 7 year old, struggles with everyone of those wishes. I already see her struggles with self-image, confusion (as her father treats me, her mother, horribly), body image (as he pokes fun at everyone to make himself feel worthy), money is his everything and I am trying to teach her the opposite. It’s heartbreaking.

    • Will says:

      Male-bashing comments are not welcome here. This is to celebrate great father-daughter relationships.

      • The Five o'Clock Shadow says:

        I’m not sure she is male-bashing. I think she’s just stating the facts of a situation. That some of the comments seem a little sharp is undeniable, but likely connected to the fact that Ms. Fisher is experiencing a difficult life situation. Her feelings are valid and applicable to this post, as it is an example of what might happen if a little girl does not know her value. I would hesitate to tell someone their thoughts are unwelcome if the whole story is not known.

      • anieva says:

        Will, Lori isn’t male-bashing. She’s expressing the pain of what happens when men are not – for whatever reason – responsible fathers. Let her have her pain without scolding her. That’s part of the message here: a message for fathers to understand what girls need. This post praises and celebrates what is good, but it admonishes very clearly, too. Lori is right to share her experience.

        • Teresa R says:

          I cried after reading this. I spent a lot of years chasing my father’s love and devotion, and I finally had to just come to terms with the fact that he is just an emotionally vacant person, and that is “was not my fault.”

          It’s too late for me, but I would have been a totally different person if I’d had a dad like that little girl did…and it is SO wrong of any father to deny their daughter those fundamental things for a healthy emotional life.

          • Thorny says:

            Teresa – I totally agree with your last statement. Regarding it being too late for you to be a totally different person…I would just encourage you to tap the strength you have developed on your own to be the woman you want and not further burdened by your wounds. It is hard…but not insurmountable.

            My mother was a bitter, horrible woman after having suffered abuse at the hands of her step-father from a very young age. She has always been a force to be reckoned with and that inner strength fueled her desire to turn her life around after very nearly dying from sepsis and untreated diabetes at 63 years old. She is striving to be the woman she wants to be. She and I had a heart-to-heart and while I can’t ignore the difficulties of my youth at her hands I have made peace and wholly forgiven her.

            I share this with you only as an encouragement that the better path is available to you and to not give up hope on yourself. You are worth it!

      • anieva says:

        A big, hearty THANK YOU to all the fathers who take this kind of information and advice to heart.

      • Randy Robinson says:

        Hey 5-o-clock!!! Very well said. Ms Lori has a very difficult situation in her life. She can not change other people, and since she is aware, she will find a way to compensate for the missing parts of her daughters life.

        It’s very sad story to read, plus being called a man basher after reaching out and letting people know these things actually do affect little girls, and it follows them the rest of their life. She wants everyone to know this IS true, and if her stating so helps one little girl…then GOD Bless Her for speaking out.

      • Walter says:

        Great article. So well said. As a daddy, I didn’t take this article or any of the comments as male bashing. I am a daddy of two lovely grown daughters, who I love dearly and they love me the same. Looking back, I know I haven’t been the perfect daddy; most of us haven’t. One thing their mother and I instilled in them is love for God and family. They both turned out to be wonderful young ladies. Some of the comments may seem sharp. If not guilty, not a problem. If one has failed to be the daddy you should, please reach out to your daughters, and do your best to make up for the past. In the words of a gospel song; “I’m not perfect, just forgiven”. It may take time, depending on how deep the hurt; but their is still time, as long as you and your daughter are both still living.

      • Sunflower says:

        Will–this is not male bashing. She’s expressing herself. Articles like this can really, really hurt. My father was a philandering jerk when I was growing up. He could be sweet and protective, but many times he was violent and abusive. Our home was in a constant chaos because of his selfishness. My father criticized me constantly. I’m actually quite attractive, even now, as a middle-aged woman, and also very intelligent. However, my father made me feel stupid and ugly all my growing up years, and I married a man just like him. Fortunately, I was able to get help, and have been happily married now for 20 years. However, I hate the god of the Bible. All religions are androcentric, so I mostly stay away from them and have learned to see God in Nature. I have learned to love and forgive my father, and he is baffled as to why I am not a Christian. He need only look in the mirror. Fathers, if you want confident, Christian daughters, take this article to heart.

        • Marie says:

          I am very sorry Sunflower about your childhood and I am very glad to hear your sucessful! I too had to overcome some things from my childhood as well. I came to be a Christian in my mid 20′s and I can say if it were not for Jesus / Bible I don’t know what I would have done. He saved my life! I found him to be a true woman’s liberator.

          • Mary says:

            Yes! Jesus Christ is everything, and He is all we need. Everything good about fathers in the above list, my earthly father was not. He only wanted me dead and told me so often. And he killed my mother – literally. But praise be to God! Although I’m now a senior citizen and still suffer from the effects of over 50 years of “knowing” my earthly father, the Lord God scooped me up, saved me and called me His own. There is more happiness in Him by the day than I could ever hope for, than I could ever deserve, and I am at peace.

      • Cato Younger says:

        I don’t think she is male-bashing. She is relating her specific situation, and showing the worth of this article via the negative. Our society (media) has become so ridiculous in turning specific, local events into national circuses in which “large questions” must be answered that we are starting to think that way. She was just relating her situation.

    • Holly Nail says:

      Allow Jesus to be your everything, and show your children HE is likewise their Abba Father. No father surpasses the character and comfort of Christ. You will no longer be forced to focus on what might have been if only children’s earthly father had had it together…no more heartbreak…only blessings to behold as you and your children live brand new lives dedicated to the Lord.

    • Katie says:

      Lori,
      I normally refrain from posting on these sites, however I grew up much like your daughter did and I pains me to see other little girls suffering that way. My mother compensated with her 4 little girls by exposing us to other male role models through her wonderful friends (our “uncles”) and strong female role models (including herself) which we could emulate. Even at the age of 26 my father continues to struggle with accepting his daughters and cannot create a positive relationship with any of us, but I do not harbor any resentment as my mother taught me that some men are just not meant to be fathers (as some women not meant to be mothers) and that these circumstances are not my fault.
      Be strong for your daughter and do your best to support her in the ways that an excellent parent should and she will turn out beautifully!

    • Brooke says:

      Hey Lori just want to let you know I am in the same boat=( Single mom with a wonderful daughter whom I’m afraid will be lost in her teen years since her dad is inconsistent at best. She is starting to see that he is not a good man and I feel she sees it as a reflection of her. I pray she grows up strong with a good self image but I know what his absence and bad choices are doing to her.

    • casey says:

      Lori I can relate to you so much I have a son but its all the same

    • Christina says:

      Lori, I know what your little girl is going through and what you are going through. My dad was an alcoholic and frequently came home drunk just to wake up my mother to beat her. I can’t tell you how many nights I laid in my bed as a young girl and cried thinking that was the norm and I would have to endure that myself when I grew up and got married. However, my mom finally left him and filed for divorce when I was 10. He was murdered a year later for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being drunk. My mom re-married when I was 12 and he was worse than my dad because he didn’t stop with Mom. He molested me and my little sisters until my mom left him 3 years later. Needless to say, I have had a very warped sense of love and respect for men for most of my adult life. I married a man who abused me and caused me to miscarry my first baby. I left him after a year only to get into another abusive marriage. I stayed with him for over 12 years and have 2 daughters myself. We divorced 3 years ago. I have since found a man who truly is a man. I’ve told Wayne about my past and how much I’ve witnessed and been abused. I told him I wasn’t even sure I knew what love was and he tenderly told me with tears in his eyes that it was time I learned and that my daughters learned too. He just simply asked that I be faithful to him because that’s what ended his previous marriage. I’m 35 now and have never been loved the way my boyfriend loves me, not even by my dad. He absolutely adores my daughters and wants to spend as much time with them as he does with me. He includes them in all our dates and spends time playing games with them. My 15 year old says she wants to find a man like him to love her and father her children. I couldn’t have asked for a better man than Wayne. We’re getting married as soon as we have the money to pay for the church wedding I want. He says it’s way past time for my dreams to start coming true and it begins with our wedding. I love him so much!

      • Cato Younger says:

        Christina,

        I am so happy for you! May God bless you and your boyfriend and your children with every good and wonderful thing and put a hedge of protection around you all.

    • Amber says:

      im a single mother as well but neither of my childrens fathers are not involved and while it breaks my heart that they can’t have the amazing relationship that i shared with my dad with their dads i am grateful that they are not in their lives being a negative influence. my ex had/has a drug and alcohol problem and is on a path of self destruction.

  18. Darryl says:

    As a father of two young adult women, thank you for this post! Beautifully written. I can vouch for the good things to do and the bad things to avoid! May I add to the list: 1) Don’t take yourself too seriously–learn to be silly (well, with a daughter you may not have a choice!) and 2) remember you are human and you will fail often: learn to ask forgiveness (be humble) and they will forgive and they will learn how to be humble in a healthy way–and how to apologize well.

    • Krystal says:

      This is a wonderful response to a great article. I’m not religious, but I have a wonderful, silly, lighthearted, kind dad – the silliness is how we bond. He’s so important.

  19. Pete says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart in such an open and vulnerable way. As a guy (in spite of besr efforts), we don’t always see how important the little things can be, or can often miss the importance of a moment. As a dad, I am always striving to be the best dad that I can. I will take this list to heart. Thank you again for sharing. – Pete

  20. Robert says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I am no a father yet tho I hope to be one some day,and if i ever get the chance to I hope that I can be the type of man that my children can look up to and love.

  21. Adrianna says:

    beautiful my little girl is 4 and i wish her dad would read this, i also wish my dad knew this, then maybe we wouldn’t have a bad relationship, i’ve always wanted to be daddies little girl but it never happened.

    • Chris says:

      Adrianna, (my daughter’s name btw)

      Don’t wish that they read it. Make sure they do. Forward to them. Print it out and mail it if you need to. If you wish for something to happen…It most likely will not. Action is was causes change to occur. Go for it be open and honest about how you feel.

    • Nancy says:

      Adrianna,
      Maybe you didn’t have that relationship with your dad, but you could still show him this article. Maybe something will click, and he can use this as a learning tool to being a wonderful grandfather. Best wishes!
      Nancy

  22. Alison says:

    I really enjoyed the article, thank you for writing it. My husband and I are expecting our first child in April and it is a little girl. I am so excited for my husband to experience this journey, he is going to be an amazing daddy!

  23. Anonymous says:

    So what happens to the little girl whose dad dies when she’s young?

    • April says:

      My father passed away suddenly when I was two. My best advice to a mother of a fatherless daughter-for whatever reason- is to try to put surrogates in her life. I was blessed with great male role models in my church, who took me under their wing and ‘adopted’ me. I know that my life could have turned out much differently if I hadn’t had these men and the Lord’s hand of protection on my life. There is a book written by H. Norman Wright entitled ‘Always Daddy’s Girl’- I highly recommend it to every woman!

      • Candy says:

        I have two nieces who’s Daddy passed away when they were less than 2 years old. They were very unsure around men when they were 3-4 years old. My husband tried for over a year to develop a close relationship with them and they were so skeptical that they could not let him close. The breaking point for them was that one day they were at our house and one of the girls cut her knee. He took her into the bathroom, cleaned up her boo boo and put a band-aid on it for her. From that day on, he was their IDOL! It took so little. Just a simple act of concern and kindness and those girls began to trust him. He was the prominent male figure in their lives until they were almost teenagers and their Mom finally found their step-dad, who is anything BUT step. They are lucky girls to have such a wonderful Dad even if he is not biological and they adore him.

    • Holly Nail says:

      Jesus is the answer, this I know.

  24. Ann says:

    Let me just say that this is one of the well written and truest list of do’s and don’ts between a daddy and daughter that I have ever read.

    I am nearly 50 yrs old and this list describes my daddy and my relationship with him perfectly! I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am who I am because of this type of daddy and I am so incredibly blessed.

    I looked for these same traits in a young man during my dating years as a teenager and at age 16 I found the man that I would someday marry. Now nearly 30 years later, my husband and once high school sweetheart is this same kind of daddy to our 18 year old daughter.

    The day our daughter was born I told my husband that he was the most important person in my daughter’s life for there is nothing like the relationship between father and daughter. His influence in her life would be his highest calling so that she would grow up feeling valued,safe, and confident.

    He spends one on one time with her daily and values her in ways that she is confident beyond measure but yet gracious and caring of others even in times when someone might not be toward her. She knows full well of what she wants from a relationship and won’t settle for anything less than the very best when it comes to her future husband and the future father of her children someday.

    And whether it offends anyone or not, I praise my Lord and Savior every single day for giving me His very best when it comes to my earthly father. And for a husband who loves and cherishes our daughter in this same way as well.

    Our family is very much involved in the youth ministry of young ladies of various ages and we have seen the tragic results from poor paternal influences in their lives. We have also had the pleasure of seeing the tremendous outcomes in their lives when a positive daddy figure steps in to lift them up and show them their worth by encouraging them even when they fail at times.

    So men, it’s time to step up and be the type of dad and husband that you want your daughters to have someday!

  25. Michael says:

    This article is beautiful and actually caused me to tear up. I am the father of a beautiful six year old girl, as of today, and while she may think that I hung the moon I think the sun rises and sets in her and her younger brother. Four days on my calendar have more meaning to who I am as a man than any others: 1. The day I became a Christian, 2. The day I got married, 3. The day my daughter was born and 4. The day my son was born. Since this article is about daughters I will try to stay on topic.

    Prior to my daughter’s birth I never could have imagined something so small mattering so much. It truly changed my world, my way of thinking and molded me into a better man. To be entrusted with a gift as precious as a little girl still brings tears to my eyes when no one is looking that is… I know that how I treat her is how she will expect to be treated from other guys and how she sees me interact with her mother will determine what her interactions will one day be like with the man she marries. If I treat my wife with love, honor and compassion she will not settle for a man who treats her with disrespect, contempt or abuse.

    The truth is, regarding the list above, that list could go on many times longer and it would not encompass all of the ways a father impacts his daughter’s life. Our society constantly tells us that father’s are irrelevant. To a child however, a father is very relevant. My daughter is a daddy’s girl and loves to help with whatever project I’m working on. She will also grow up knowing how to hunt, fish, work on a car and will have a black belt in taekwondo. She will also know how to sew, cook meals, bake cakes, wear makeup and play with dolls… I want her to know that who she is isn’t defined by any one of the above. These are merely skills. Ironically, her brother will do all but the dolls and makeup . I know how to cook and can bake a mean Mad Hatter Birthday Cake (8 layers). Yet I feel that even in all my desire to prepare her for the world ahead, I will fall short. I have made mistakes and will make other mistakes. As much as I want to hide those from her so they don’t impact her, the reality is that her seeing how I handle the mistakes that I make may be one of the best gifts I can impart to her. It will let her know that failing is OK sometimes, as long as we have learned from it and work to incorporate that knowledge into action to make next time a success. Failing also teaches her that we all have short comings and no matter how perfect dear old day may seem in her eyes, he was just a man. I pray it also teaches her to look to her heavenly Father as the truly greatest example of fatherhood.

    • C. Johnson says:

      Out of all the comments written prior to yours, this was the most touching. I strive to be a good father, I have 2 kidd fron a previous marriage that I see every other weekend. Hard to be the father I want to be with less than 2 months a year physical contact. But I try. I have 3 step kids that I’m a full time father to and its hard, being that their biological dad pops up every now and again. I’m not trying to take his place, just trying to establish my own. And after reading your comments just encourages me to keep striving to be the best that I can be. Thank you very much.

    • Laura says:

      Allowing your son to play with dolls will help him to be a nurturing, loving father some day.

  26. Ashley says:

    This is awesome, beautifully written–

  27. kelsey says:

    This is soo beautiful! Loved reading this and cant wait to have little girlies with an amazing daddy!

  28. Ι couldn’t refrain fгom commenting. Exceptionally well written!

  29. Mike Willis says:

    My hope is that if my two grown daughters read this they would say “that is my dad”.

    • Luigi N says:

      Beautifully written, my daughter is 19 years old now, and for the past 5 years I have been away most of the time for work related travel. I missed the years that I think she really needed my guidance the most, and I do regret it because I chose to chase the money. If I could turn back the hands of time.

  30. Frank says:

    I love this and have tried to live by most f these ideas for my now 15 year old daughter. however, I am bemused by the “treat me special like a girl is special” and ” I can be everything a boy is” conundrum. I encourage my daughter to have wide open horizons and to become everything God designed her to be. Some of our best times together have been in the quiet of the deer blind or canoe camping in the wilderness, with a group of dads and daughters. BUT, she cannot “do anything a boy can do” and I don’t want her to. My boys are special also, and one day they just might be a rifle carrying soldier, or a hose pulling fireman, not something any woman can do as a man can do. I am sure this comment will spark a lot of venom. I am okay with that.

    • Alex says:

      Frank–while I may not necessarily agree with the idea that a woman cannot be a “rifle carrying soldier” or a “hose pulling fireman,” I believe I understand where your statement is coming from. I was the older of 2 girls and a “hose pulling fireman,” but yes, there were differences in my abilities as compared to my male counterparts. Did that make me less of a fireman? No. But there were still inherent differences, just as there would be with being a soldier. The differences don’t mean women are unable to do the job, we just have to either A: try to match our male counterparts in abilities as much as we can or B: find alternate, but equally effective ways to get the mission accomplished, whatever it may be. I admire your courage in stating your opinion, knowing very well that there might be a severe backlash of criticism and scorn.

      • Corey Gillespie says:

        Maybe it is not so much that we men do not think ye women are capable and altogether worthy of such duty. Perhaps it is because we men value ye so that we cannot fathom the thought of having you do so. We carry you everywhere with us and get every bit of our strength from our love of and for you.

    • Jennifer says:

      I disagree, I do not believe that teaching little girls girls that they can do anything a boy can do is unrealistic. We are smart enough to know that there are obvious situations where there are going to be differences, the teaching though is the fact that none of those “differences” ever have to handicap us. My father taught me how to swing a hammer, be responsible and take care of myself. There are so many women out there that feel they “need” a man to help take care of them and it just makes me sad. Maybe if their fathers would have taken the time to teach them a few things it would give them more confidence in themselves in love and in life. I love my husband very much and he is a wonderful father, but because of my father I didn’t have to go searching for a man to fill a void, I was able to wait for the right person to raise a family with. Fathers, the way you are with your daughters doesn’t only effect them but also the lives of your future grandchildren. Please take this list to heart.

      • Dolphinz says:

        Where is the article for mothers? There are mothers out there who don’t know how to be mothers to their daughters either… Nor do some mothers know how to instill confidence in them either… Why is this only for men? As if they are the only gender who don’t know how to be there for their children? I got super lucky in the parent pool (said with lots of sarcasm). I was biologically brought into this world by a male who has NEVER had any interest in me just his alcohol and drugs. My mother divorced him when I was a baby and eventually remarried. My then step dad adopted me when I was 10. Both parents were emotionally distant and when they were fighting with each other, took it out on me and were both emotionally abusive (sometimes borderline physically abusive) towards me. My mother was also very controlling and manipulative… I made the mistake of thinking if I found an ideal man, he would take all the hurt away and would fill the huge void left by the 3 emotionally and physically distant people in my life… I’ve been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer that has spread to the majority of my bones. In being diagnosed with cancer, I learned real quick how foolish and wrong I was for wasting so much time hoping, wishing and searching for that ideal person who to this day has never existed. I realized too late in life that I never really needed a man or anyone else for that matter, to fill a void that’s simply unfillable…

  31. Vern says:

    This was an abslolutely WONDERFUL read this morning. I have an 8 yr old whom I don’t see very often…so this hit home HARD with me. I really needed that little cry though, so thank you for sharing this. <3

  32. Marsha Boles says:

    To Michael:
    Your are on the right path. Of course there will be things hindsight will give pause for doubt. That is why tomorrow can be different. Being the man you want to see in her eyes will give you confidence.
    Daddy was a man among men, the others didn’t bat an eye when I was the first “girl” to join the hunting or fishing party. He helped me through fences and brambles and baited my hook the first time. He taught me to pass cars on 2 lane highways and when to pull over for an ice-cream. Before he said yes, when they asked for my hand, he looked them over and asked what I thought of them. I never saw him cry until his mother died and never talked about the war unless we found his old pictures he kept in a candy box (chocolate cherries). He found old linoleum for the garage floor when I was learning to skate so I would not be scolded for skinned knees and torn jeans. And, he danced with me on my wedding day in a 3 piece suit on the sidewalk outside the courthouse and that night, the new couple slept under his roof with his blessing and love.
    Signed: So Blessed I Stink (because I was a Daddy’s Girl.)
    PS: daddy made such an impression on my husband, he took our family name.

  33. new dad says:

    Wonderfully written. I’m going to keep a copy of this! I just became a stepfather to two wonderful little girls who’s biological father isn’t very involved. I’ve learned about the importance of the father/daughter relationship over the years and have been looking for anything (books, sites, etc.) to help me be the best father I can be to these 2 little ladies. I love them very much and only want the best for them. Some of your words here are just what I need to help me give them the good start in life we all should have.

    • Madi says:

      Stepdads play a very important role as well. At the age of 2 my biological father gave up on me because i was a girl. I have an older brother and now have a younger half brother by the same man, the relationship differences were even apparent at a young age. When my mom remarried ,my stepdad and I became inseparable. I eventually moved i permanetly in with my mom and never saw my biological father again. I was eventually adopted by stepdad, which is amazing to me because he has always been “my daddy”. I commend anyone who is willing to take on that role of step parent, so Thank You!

      • casey says:

        I agree so much about step parents I am a step parent myself and my current fiance is a absolutely wonderful father

  34. Amy Bagnall says:

    This is a great article. But the thing at the end, about all little girls thinking their Daddy hung the moon? lol Nope,I never thought that. I was just so damn frightened of him.
    I agree that these are extremely important issues, though- a lifetime of therapy, and I’m still trying to come to terms with how much these issues have impacted my life.

    I could never have been silly like the little girl was in the beginning of this article. I would have been punished for not sitting quietly. Silliness was not an option. I could get beat just from looking the wrong way. Any time I had spend with my father when I was a small child was very anxiety-provoking for me.

  35. Bob says:

    Thanks for being my little girl Jennifer L

  36. Jim says:

    <3
    Very hard to read though welled eyes….

  37. Rick says:

    At 35, with two girls, (17 and 5)divorced not haveing anything good in the future to help, She was thinking with me getting divorced (not her mother) Retireing with 41 years with AT&T that I might not be able to handle her again. She was wrong. We can’t talk anymore since since she shot herself this year. Still putting things together to try and find out why she did not call.
    Dads do not wait…call soon….tell her you were just thinking about her.

  38. Doug says:

    This is good but I worry that todays society continues to miss lead our children when they tell them they can do anything, and boys and girls are the same. It is not true and telling them this oly sets them up to feel like failures when they cant meet the unrealistic goals that are set.

  39. Katie says:

    I’m 36and still believe my dad hung the moon, and just for me! He is without a doubt my favorite person in the world!

  40. John Carlisle says:

    Tara,
    You affected me so warmly with this. 22. Was an incredible personal revelation. Your heart for counseling shines all the way to South Texas.
    Thank you,
    John

  41. Rachael says:

    My Daddy didn’t come into my life till I was 13 yrs old. He married my mom when I was 14. Even though he was my step dad he was this and a bit more towards me. He went on to legally adopt me after I had already became an adult and married for 6 months. He is and will always show me and teach me what a husband should be along with being a good daddy to me. In the past 15yrs I have turned into one of the biggest daddy’s girls ever, and that will never change.

  42. What a beautiful post! Dads are the best hey! My dad is everything you mentioned and so many things more. He has such inner beauty and always makes me feel so loved. Because of him, the traits I look for in others are only beautiful ones and now I have the most incredible people in my life. <3

  43. Rachael says:

    This is really beautifully put. As someone whose dad did not consider these things, it’s taken me 26 years to teach myself how to love myself enough to demand respect from men. And I had to learn the hard way. Every little girl deserves a father who cares enough about her to follow these guidelines.
    Luckily I have a mother who worked every day to try to make up for what I never got from my dad, and continues to do so to this day. Her love and respect for me are a huge part of my journey from that girl with daddy issues to that girl whose daddy issues will never define her again.

  44. Molly len says:

    What about the impact our mothers have on our daughters. Some mothers don’t understand what they show their daughters impacts all of these same things!!

  45. Adam says:

    As a dad of an 8 year old beauty, this post hit me. I believe I do all the things on the list to the best of my ability, but a reminder of what my inaction could do haunts me. I know I’m not perfect, but I don’t want to screw up. Ever.

  46. Jeff says:

    It is articles like this that make me stop and evaluate what I have been doing for and with my daughter, hoping that she enjoys our time together as much as I do.
    Thank You

  47. Marty says:

    This list is amazing. I’m a single dad of three, two girls. They are wonderful. I know that I am tough on them sometimes, but I hope I can help them grow and learn in a positive manner.

  48. Rick Barber says:

    Great post…it really stood out to be because I just did a 4 day blog on “Things every daughter needs to hear”. Which is about 4 days of letters I wrote to my daughter to ensure she knew some key things from me. Check it out, I think you will enjoy it. :-)

    http://rickjbarber.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/things-a-daughter-needs-to-hear-day-1/

  49. Lynn says:

    I understand this is about father-daughter relationships, and I understand where Lori’s coming from, but as Molly pointed out, mothers need to keep these same things in mind.

    To #3 (I learn how I should be treated by how you treat my mom, whether you are married to her or not.), I would add “I learn how to treat a man by the way my mother treats my father.” for girls, and “I learn how I should be treated by how my mom treats my dad” for little boys.

    To put it simply, boys and girls both learn how how mothers and fathers should treat each other by the way they say their parents treat each other.

  50. Siobhra A. DeWar says:

    I think ALL parents (and grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) need to read this and treat both daughters (and sons) like this.

  51. Darren says:

    Love the list, but #5 is pretty unnecessary. It irritates me that we can’t have a list like this without a mention of “God”. Other than that, it was pretty cool.

    • Jim says:

      Please be patient with us Christians. When you see or hear the word “God”, just know that we mean “Love” and embrace us with that understanding.

  52. Angela says:

    lovely

  53. Peg says:

    Thanks to my PopPop for being the dad that did all of those things!

  54. Kristin says:

    I had the absolute worst relationship with my own father growing up, and know many of my own issues as an adult stem from not having a loving, caring, compassionate sort of dad. I never went to him with my issues, never felt I could, never felt he cared.
    Fast forward to my husband, whose the complete opposite of my dad, which I am so grateful for! My husband adores our children, shows them through love and kindness everyday. My husband takes the time, especially with our daughter to show her how much he loves her. He is my equal partner in life, helps me with the day-to-day household stuff, and never complains. I want someone just like my husband for my daughter! She’ll find her prince charming one day, I knw I did!

  55. Jason says:

    Now only if the mother of my 6 year old daughter would let me see her….

  56. Richard Woods says:

    Such wonderful thoughts. My own daughter is now 33 years old and her daughter (my granddaughter) is about to turn 4. My son is 37 with four great kids. Have five grandkids total from age 14 down to 2. Love them all so dearly. I would say from over all the years of my kids and grandkids, the wife and I have taken probably 5,000 pictures and numerous video just so we and our kids and grandkids have those to look back on years down the road.

  57. Ryan says:

    I’m a SAHD of two beautiful girls, ages 4 and 2. This post has really inspired me to be a better father. To not just instruct and guide them, but to listen and learn from them. Thank you.

  58. James Miller says:

    Wow, my daughter just turned thirteen months and I think I’ve obtained more from this article than anything I’ve read to date. Thanks, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.

  59. Toni Williams says:

    This was great… BUT…. I just wish that there would have been one more thing on this list. How he treats his Mother will also have an enormous effect on her respect for herself and for her own mother and the mother of her husband someday.

  60. spklaus says:

    No pressure, though, guys.

  61. sally says:

    I’m 45 and proud to say I’m Daddy’s little girl! I have 4 sisters and Dad did this for all of us.

  62. A concerned mom says:

    Now what do I do for my fifteen year old daughter that never received this from her dad, my ex…who just so happens to be in the final days of his life due to cancer?

  63. Sarah says:

    This is so touching. I’m glad I found this before Christmas Day. I’m wrapping it up for my husband as a Christmas gift for him to read. It is something real and a gift from the heart. Thank you!!

  64. Andre says:

    What a great post Tara! Thank you for writing this!!!

  65. elbert says:

    ….well little boys need the same things! Though the above subject is about little girls and their relationships with their dad, little boys need the SAME things from their dads, from their moms… Maybe if I had had just SOME of these listed items on the above “wish list” applied to me while growing up, by EITHER of my parents, then I wouldn’t have spent years in therapy trying to become a worthwhile human being.

    Before someone starts hammering on me with their “wise words of witt,” I just want to say I’m not whining nor blaming. I’m past the blame. I’m now trying to spend my next 63+ yrs correcting and fixing partially broken relationships with my 4 grown boys….and my wife!

    A little love goes a LONG WAY!….

  66. Mitch king says:

    This is what being a good Dad and raising a great daughter is all about! I have a 5 year old precious little girl. And a great 3 year old son. And this really truly did touch my heart. Thank you!!

  67. Thomas says:

    I wished I had read this 30 years ago. I wanted to be the father a daughter thought hung the moon. I was taught to provide and protect but was not taught gentleness and compassion. These are words my sons and son in law need to read. These are things my wife needs to see in me.
    I pray I can rebuild the relationships with my family, they are my world.

  68. j says:

    Thank you for writing this. It broke my heart though. I have an awesome Dad. However, the person I chose to have children with will never be a ‘Dad’, he has, by his own choice, told the children he doesn’t love them. So I don’t know how that will impact them. I wish there was a poem to tell me what to do. As their Mom, all I can do is love them and hope its enough.

    • Holly Nail says:

      Praying to God in Jesus’ name – to come into our heart, forgive us of sin, and fill us with the holy spirit – is the first step to living a purposeful life filled with grace and mercy. One day at a time praying specific to the Lord to guide and direct us throughout the course of the day, and Godly miracles change us and those we love to becoming new creations, living life with a greater purpose. Life still has its hardships, but praying daily and reading the Bible and/or listening to the Bible online increases our faith. God grants the wisdom as you ask for it, making coping with life’s difficulties so much more bearable. God has given us free choice, but He made us in HIS image and longs to have a relationship with us. Say yes, and allow HIM to become lamp unto your feet and light unto your path.

  69. Joe Loomer says:

    This is one of the most insightful and powerful posts about parenting young women that I have ever read. Thank you so much for this!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  70. John Macgowan says:

    Loved reading this. I watched my sister grow up hating my dad – and vowed I wouldn’t repeat his mistakes. My girls are 19 & 23 and I see them smile when we meet.

  71. Brittney says:

    I wish my dad would read these. But this is a great post. It made me tear up.

  72. Anna says:

    I wish my father had been like this. I would likely be a different person if he had cared enough.
    I am positive my husband will be if we are blessed with a daughter.

  73. Dwayne says:

    This really is everything I want to be but fall very short. Praying that God would help me become that dad even though my daughters are 17 and 14. I want to model this to my 16 year old son so he can be this way to his daughters if he has any some day. Thank you to my wife who shared this for my benefit! I love you.

  74. josie says:

    Yeah. Good list. Wish my dad understood these.

  75. Rachel Reed says:

    This is such a beautifully written piece, I love the description of the little girl as well, paints such a beautiful picture. Well done!

  76. Nicole says:

    As I read this I cry for my younger Daughter, for everything she does that is “wrong” in his eye, he belittles and berates her, it is all her fault everytime. He has often told her he would gladly give up his parental rights and allow my husband to adopt her, and in the next breath tells her how much he loves her. She never knows if she is coming or going. But like this post says, she loves him dearly and thinks he hung the moon. She is almost 14 and is just beginning to realize how much of a jerk he really is, my only consolation is that he lives thousands of miles away and rarely sees her, their only relationship is via phone and facebook, and even that is scarce. She is blessed to have my husband and her grandfather in her life as positive male role models. One day he will regret his actions, she will wash her hands of him totally and then where will he be?

  77. Amy says:

    Truthfully, as I read this fabulous story..I felt nothing. I thought to myself, “how ideal, sounds great..couldn’t agree more.” I didn’t have a dad that did any of this. He wasn’t a bad man at all. He just was not able to relate to any of us girls this way..nor my mother for that matter. Then I got to the end of the story, & felt divided about perusing the comments. The reason was that I was sure I would immediately start reading all the tripe & mean-ness that guys write about something emotional, but I decided to anyway. Morbid curiosity. God BLESS all of you guys that wrote about your precious daughters. I am SO grateful to have been able to read the transparency of your hearts. I know you live for your daughters(&sons) & strive to do everything you can to be good to them but in writing your thoughts & feelings, you have put something hopeful & joyous in my heart. I really can’t express what it has meant to me to read your beautiful precious comments. To actually read that men really DO love their daughters & really try to be someone special to & for them! That their girls actually matter…to THEM..how utterly amazing! This is a life changing thing for you & them. Thank you for loving your girls out loud for everyone(including me) to see. :)

  78. Chad says:

    They only thing wrong with this list is that it is to complicated for any man to remember. I am saying this as a guy. It was awesome. It needs to be condensed. This will allow more men to remember it. I actually already forgot 100% of it. It was to long. I will need to read it again.

  79. Brian Coykendall says:

    This definitely made me tear. I am the oldest of 7 siblings 3 of whom are girls. The oldest sister just turned 18. I’m an extremely young father to two daughters. One just turned 1 and the other is unborn as of yet. My 1 year old is absolutely in love with her Daddy even after I’ve been gone for 6 months so far on a deployment. I pray and worry daily that I will be half the Dad that I’d like to be. Thank you for this as it seems like an excellent list to live by.

  80. Reesa says:

    My father was a hard working man who worked nights most of my life. I grew up respecting him for his work ethic and how he loved my Mom. His life was cut short and he passed away when I was only 10. That relationship never got to grow. The result was a lot of bad choices made in my life in regards to men and my value. It has taken a long time to learn that but my fondest memories are joking with my Daddy in the garage gapping spark plugs when he fixed the family car. I remember how he looked as he pulled the old ones out and how he looked as he reached around me to show me how to use the tool and make sure we got the right gap on those plugs. His impression was made that day. Thank you.

  81. Sarah says:

    This is just beautiful, and I admire how you are able to articulate all of these truths that so many would never be able to.

    I would also like to add that it is important for a father to show his daughters what chivalry looks like- especially in an age where it seems that this is a rarity. Growing up, my father was always treated his daughters (there were three of us) the way a grown lady ought to be treated, even when we were little girls. He would open doors for us and would never let us walk behind him- he always stopped and waited until we were in front of him (this is something that has particularly stood out to me). He would take us out on dates, where he would show us what it looks like to be a true gentleman. As I’ve grown up, I must admit that I have had very high standards with men because of the way my father showed me that I should be treated.

    It is one thing to simply witness this in the way your father treats your mother, but I think it makes even more of an impact what he actually does these things with his daughters too :)

  82. Linda says:

    I love this!! We have a 18 year old daughter and she wasn’t blessed in the beginning of her life with a daddy like this, but when I met my sweet husband they instantly connected and she has had that kind of daddy since the age of 4.

  83. Sarah S. says:

    As a woman that had an evil father and has a beautiful young daughter I will cherish this article forever!

  84. Breandan says:

    I have two daughters, 2 and 4, and I gave up a very lucrative career for them. I worked as a PSD medic, which meant spending year-long contracts overseas with only 3-4 vacations a few weeks in length every few months. It paid well, VERY well, but after listening to my oldest cry over Skype and wanting to know why daddy wasn’t there to tuck her in, I decided enough was enough. Aside from how dangerous my job was, my daughters need a daddy a lot more than they need money flowing out their ears. Our home and cars are paid for, I can bring in more than enough to pay the bills working part time, and spend the rest being there for them. Since I retired, they have become attached to me like you wouldn’t believe, and I see in their eyes an absolute trust and openness to learn from how I act and live that it has made me fight to become a better man, to watch what I say and how I say it, to control my anger and handle things the way I would want them to, and most of all to be willing to teach them by example rather than “do as I say, not as I do.”
    I am 40, which means the chances of me being alive still to walk them down the aisle or see them graduate are significantly lower than for most fathers of toddlers half my age, so I make DAMN sure I value every moment I have with them, and try to make it valuable for them as well. Whether I have two years or twenty, I want every moment that I can be a precious memory for them that will live with them, comforting and guiding them, for the rest of their lives.

  85. Jess says:

    number 21 rang truest to me. i remember walking in on my dad cuddling with my dog in his chair and talking to her like she was a baby when i was seven or eight years old. i will never forget how happy that made me.

  86. There is a lot more to this – that is very basic and easier for parents to focus on, especially dads. Plus, there are some rather huge systemic issues to cover.

  87. Anna says:

    This is beyond beautiful on about a million levels. I think all daddies need to read this, even those of boys, because it’s those little boys that will grow up and date women and become a daddy too.

  88. Rick says:

    My wife and I could not have children. My kids will never visit me for Christmas, and I will never see their first steps would be able to go to their concerts for sporting events. Nonetheless, my parents understood what was to treat another person well, and while I cannot hold my own daughters hand, I can decide to treat others well, and I do. But my wife’s dad was not this way. His wife was a doormat, and my wife lost her sense of daughter-hood, and female-ness when she was a young child already. She could not understand her own unique humanity. She can never gain the sense of “daughter” as intelligent, skilled, and beautiful. In fact, she has a difficult time trusting people. But she can know that she is cherished by me every day, every hour, every minute. This attitude towards her has changed her perspective towards other people. This list is for everybody.

  89. Becky says:

    This is priceless and continues to help me grieve and recover from the loss of what could have been. If you are a daddy and you have a little boy or a little girl, and are not comfortable getting to this type of relationship with your children, I beg you…. Please talk to someone. From a daughter of inter-generational child maltreatment.

  90. katt says:

    I had a dad that was NONE of those and all of it is true, starting with No. 1…..It’s hard to overcome.

  91. Always seeking says:

    This made me cry, it is so beautifully written…
    And it is all the things I wish my daddy would have done.
    I have always been seeking his approval, always waiting for a sign he loves me, and always hoping that I mean something to him.
    Luckly enough for me, I found a man that I know if we ever have children will make them feel loved 100% of the time, because he makes me feel like I matter, and that what I say isn’t nothing, and when he hugs me, I know that I am safe.

  92. Susan says:

    My dad did not do any of these precious things, he did the opposite in most. Yet I still love him, just can’t be around him or talk to him any more. Money was/is his king, women were/are second class, pets matter more than people, his lies are fine, other lies are not, and the list goes on. I have forgiven him for my sake so I can try to move on. His damage is deep and wide and every day I learn another way he has hurt me. I thank God every morning that I am a wonderful mother and did not repeat the generational sins. My son will be an awesome father someday, and will start a new cycle of love, acceptance, kindness, decency and honesty.

  93. cassandra burbine says:

    I have accepted how my father is and I did so years ago. But it breaks my heart to read this and know that my daughter will never know her father in this way. Being absent is his choice but he does not understand the effect it has on her. I can only hope the the tenderness and love from the amazing man who is now a part of our family will be enough to teach her these things.

  94. Dana says:

    As I read this I teared up. My dad is this person. I am and will always be a daddy’s girl. I am one of the lucky ones. My best friend of over 30 years refers to my dad as her dad because both her biological and step/adoptive dad were not or should have not been dads. As my dad gets older, it gets harder and harder for me to face the fact that my dad will be gone soon. To those women who share their angst about the missing fathers for their daughters, be strong for your daughters. Allow that strong male in your life whether it be a grandfather, uncle, cousin, whatever, to be there for your daughter. I wish every girl can have a dad like mine…..

  95. butterflower143 says:

    Beautifully and perfectly written! As a woman whose father left at age 2, I sure wish my father could have been all of those things to me. My mom, however, did the best that she could under the circumstances. My wish/dream for all of that in a dad carries on to my 9 year old daughter, who is autistic. I hope and pray that my husband (HER Daddy) can be all of those things for her now… all the things I missed out on. Dads DO matter, more than some may think. For all those dads out there who have read this, strive to do all of those things for your daughter. Experience all the love and joy your daughter does and will bring. Be her ultimate male role model… and don’t forget to not just TELL her, but SHOW her how much you love her everyday.

  96. Girl with the Prodigal Dad says:

    As a little girl whose father didn’t get up the courage to meet her until she was 20, and until then went through a couple of stepfathers who weren’t up to the task, I can attest to the importance of this list. Especially, “The way you love me is the way I will love myself”. For years I was self hating, felt something was wrong with me, manipulated others for my own ends because that’s how I was treated by my stepfathers and the abandonment of my father. My Heavenly Father has never stopped looking out for me though! Since I was little, hiding from an abusive stepfather, to my second step dad going nuts, I always hoped that it was going to get better. It did! When I was 20, my biological father stopped abandoning me. He apologized, and with tears in his eyes, embraced me for the first time. He has, since our first meeting, been this list to me as an adult, and I am thankful. I do wish he had been there to be this list for me as a little girl. I can only imagine how differently my life might have looked. Regardless, I am thankful and I look forward to when our children get to be raised by my husband, who is the kindest, sweetest, wisest man I know. I will get to see the results first hand! Lord willing!

    • Tim says:

      Sometimes us men are stupid.

      Sometimes we don’t understand just what an impact we have. We’re not really known, as a gender for our empathy, or our emotional connections. We don’t always know how to express our emotions, because it wasn’t emphasized as important when we were kids. We didn’t want to be seen as a “wuss”.

      I still don’t know if I could have been this kind of father 18 years ago, but I’ve grown as a person.

  97. matthew wilkes says:

    #24…. Santa Clause is a perfect example… He doesn’t exist anymore and telling your kid all these lies about him is wrong! Tell them the truth about him, not the magical version…

    • Im_a_busdriver says:

      Thank you for that. I can’t understand how people can lie to their children about Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and more and then get mad when their child tells a lie…a lie is a lie and don’t think that the kids don’t feel it when they find out you have lied to them for YEARS!

  98. Laura says:

    Wow! No wonder so many women are so messed up! We as women need to stop giving our power of who we can become to men. Is it any wonder why we we have self image issues when we rely on others to tell us who we are instead of being self reliant? Stop blaming every man in your life. Stop blaming your father who was or wasn’t there and take responsibility for your own self image and happiness! Just imagine how self assured, positive and happy your daughters would be if they experienced a strong self-reliant mother/woman in their lives as a role model. Stop selling your daughters short by allowing themselves as women to be defined by men.

    • AngryMermaid says:

      Wow, Laura. Talk about lack of empathy. Why don’t you go first?
      And for the record, sorry but our experiences DO shape us into who we are today. My father–AND my mother, in fact my mother even more so–was an abusive, raging, domineering monster, a hoarder, an alcoholic, violent, and insane. Locked me in my room at times. Kept me tied in a high chair until i was 5 years old. Beat me, fed me spoiled food. The only thing he did not do was sexually abuse me, because my mother did THAT. All I can say is that who I am now, as an adult is largely shaped by the pain they put me through. But at least it has steeled my will to help children of both sexes who are in abusive, violent homes.
      What has your hatred for men done for you, besides make you bitter?

  99. Charlotte says:

    I wish my daddy had done these things…especially healthy touch…even now my step dad can’t take what my real daddy did…it hurt so much. I wish my daddy could have been this way…i cried reading it.

  100. What an eloquent, moving post! And all of the comments truly brings a lump to the throat…

  101. Mae Burke says:

    I read this story and all the comments and I wanted to share my life too. I had my first daughter when I had just turned 16 my father her Papa was there for the first 5 years of her life before he got sick and passed away. I really wish he could have met my 3 girls and my son. He made such an impact on my life and I still miss him like it was yesterday. He worked so much to take care of us but he always made sure he had time for me. My husband entered our lives right after my dad passed and had some big shoes to fill. We have been blessed with 3amazing daughters and 1really awesome son. My girls have their DADDY completely wrapped around every single finger that they have and he has been there for them completely. He has show our son what a real man is supposed to be. One of our daughters has found her Mr. Right and we know that he is gonna be the best daddy that he can be for the little girl they are going have in February I have been married for almost 25 years ( in February ) and I am very blessed to have such an amazing man in my life and in our children’s lives. I know that they have a wonderful example to judge their partners from and they will always know that they have a daddy that’s loves and respects them and their choices. We may not always like the people they choose but we know that when they find the RIGHT one we will be right there for them. Thanks to all of you for your feedback about this story a lot of it has touched my heart and I feel sorry for the girls that missed out on having a super daddy and I hope someday they find the man that will be the perfect person for them. God Bless and I wish happiness to you all

  102. I love this! It reminds me of my relationship with my two little girls. I am very conscious of my role as their “Daddy,” and that to them, I am “man.” Powerful impact….

  103. Doug Hynne says:

    I wish I had heard this 25 years ago. All very true.

  104. Tanya says:

    very good article and as I was reading through this and the comments I agree with some of the points others made such as dont forget to be silly and sometimes dont worry about what “men” should or shouldnt do such as paint toe nail daddy paint your little girls and daddy let her paint your toe nails you will never know how much this means to her, also let her play in the mud and explore nature and if she comes across a worm and is scared dont tease her pick it up and show her she is safe when she is with you, play barbies with her and teach her to play ball with you. and if you are a step dad never forget your importance in her life even if she has a dad that loves her and is involved let her have two dads that love her and NEVER EVER EVER refer to her as not yours those words she will remember forever if you love her mommy love her also. good job to all the males out there making a the world a safe and positive world for our “little girls” they need you strong males in their lives and if you havent been a good daddy start today its only to late if you never start

  105. Mr Donald Ross Walker says:

    I’m the Dad of a 16 year old girl who did not have a father that did these things. In fact he did terrible things to her. She has been my daughter for only one year but I am doing my best to show her that I hung the moon and that I did it for her. It’s a tough job but I believe she can be saved. I will do everything in my power to change her feelings about men and herself.

  106. Leah says:

    Tell your little (or big) girl when you are proud of her. This is so important. Knowing you love her regardless of her achievements is half of it. Knowing she has made you proud is the other half.

  107. chad says:

    I have 3 girls under 8 yrs old , I stress all the time..Internet…t.v..magazines. .Miley Cyrus..Kim K. .what to do?

  108. Bethanne says:

    This can be said about either parent! I wish my parents had done even one of these things with or for me! I am a single mom of 4 boys and I have tried to teach them every aspect of this and how they are supposed to treat a young lady..

  109. Shay says:

    I’m only sixteen but reading this article was really wonderful. My dad has stage 4 cancer right now and it’s making me even more aware how much of an effect he has on me. And so many others for that matter. I’m very fortunate.

    It’s also so wonderful to see the comments: so much diversity, religious and unreligious, but everyone is just loving and getting along, and supportive. That’s what life should be like. Loving.

  110. Tom says:

    This is a great article.
    As a dad of two grown daughters I pray I was this kind of dad to them!
    We just recently married our youngest daughter in So Cal on the beach. We live in central IL and it was a small wedding.
    This article struck me deep because my daughter and I run together and on the day of her wedding we took our last father-daughter run along the beach. On that run a man rode by with a little girl on the back of his bike, she was as cute as a bug and enjoying her time with her dad! I wanted to stop him and say job well done dad, because before you know it you will be marrying her and it is this bike ride that you will remember and so will she!
    I tried to tell my daughter how special she is that morning after the run but could only blubber I love you! While this was her last run as a Cheshire (our last name) she looked at me and said “dad I will always be a Cheshire in my heart! I am tearing up just recounting this conversation!

    I am so proud of both our daughters and they love Jesus and are walking with the Lord daily!

    Thanks I will be using this as I continue to disciple young men in what it mean to be an authentic godly man, husband and father!

    Blessings!
    Tom

  111. Patrick B. says:

    Nevr would b the fathr I am if it wernt for my 12 yr olds mom. I can only pray that someday my girl says I did good. Therz no manual, but I thnk we hav somthng rare, again, thnx n leg part to her mom. I balled thru the entire readng bcuz I knw now the importance of the love of fathr to daughtr. EXTREMELY BEAUTIFUL reading, thnx Katie

  112. Alicia says:

    Very well written. Especially for me, a single mom of 4 small children (3girls and 1 boy). It is a daily struggle to play the dual role much less keep up with insuring you are doing all you can. This is a big order for a biological dad, but what about a stepdad or like me, an absent dad. I’m keeping this for reference for good and bad times….. So I can give my all in both roles for my children.

  113. Bob Drawson says:

    GREAT job Tara, I am a father of a 10 YR old, really hit home!! Love my baby girl more than anything in the world…

    I loved them all except #3, kinda seems like you are insinuating that men don’t treat women right..

    “3. I learn how I should be treated by how you treat my mom, whether you are married to her or not.”

    A better way to say it would have been, I learn how I should be treated by the way you treat other women, my mother included; wether dating, seperated, divorced or just friends

  114. Peki says:

    A beautiful piece on the father-daughter relationship! I just wish my own father had read it and taken it to heart seventy years ago! What a difference it would have made in my life!

  115. Everything is dead one – Aside from number 5 – the last thing a girl needs – or a boy for that matter at any age as children is indoctrination into religion…

    But everything else is spot on and can be applicable to all children not just girls.

  116. JR says:

    I got tears coming down my face as I think of my Little Princess SOPHIA, that’s just 6 months old and I am in Afghanistan. Happy Holidays to you all.

  117. John Elder says:

    I cried thru most of this, as I tend to do when I read or hear songs with such things about daughters. Thank God for my daughter, otherwise I would never had the blessing of knowing this kind of love. I think I got most of this right, wish I had this roadmap earlier, but am glad to have it now. I will attempt to focus on adding the things I may not have realized until reading this – - – thank you.

  118. Loved this! As a father of an 8 year old girl, I really appreciate this list. These are traits that are a great set of guideposts. I can’t wait to share this with my blog readers.

  119. Emily says:

    I am 21 years old and I believe I have spent over 2/3 of my life wishing for my dad’s approval. I can count the number of times I’ve been hugged the past 10 years on one hand. I can’t even lift one finger for the number of times I’ve heard “I love you” or “I’m proud of you”. I used to have dreams every night about living in a house where I had a dad who didn’t drink every night and who told my mom he loved her and would never hurt her. I would have given anything for a father like the one this articis promoting. But I never got that. I tried so hard every day to hear even one positive remark. I went to a technical high school and a normal one so I could graduate with three diplomas/certifications of completion. On my third graduation day I received the first hug from my dad I remembered since childhood. That night I had a complete mental breakdown which my father saw as a sign of weakness.
    Growing up I learned, whether right or not, that only I could help myself. I trusted no one because the most important people in my life gave me no reason to trust them. My mother was also a sufferer of paranoid depression and I learned everything about the world from her, a hard working woman who works 14 hours a day and has to return home to a man that emotionally tortures her on a daily basis.
    Being so young, I should not feel so much bitterness, but I do. I worry constantly that my little brother is suffering like from the emotional torment of being unworthy like I did, and my worst fears were confirmed when he was put on suicide watch.
    Fathers, and mothers, everything you do will impact your children for the rest of their lives. Make the choice to be a good parent, and if it doesn’t come naturally, try your hardest every day until does. Your child will see your effort. Don’t have your child wishing they were never born.

    • Phyllis says:

      I will pray for you, Emily. I wish you had, had a better dad. *GOD* loves you, as I hope many other people do.

  120. Scott says:

    One word of caution – that is a long list of expectations. No man is going to live fully into that. How a father (or mother) handles mistakes and seeks forgiveness also communicates abundantly to children. Thanks for the perspective. http://choosetotrust.com/2013/05/men-and-women-episode-2

  121. Kirby says:

    I hope my little girls (23 and 20) see me like this. One of the best days of my life was when my Mother told me that my Dad was a good dad but I was better. I don’t believe that is possible but it made me feel good.

  122. Dena says:

    I love this. Awesome.

  123. Tiffany says:

    Sitting under the hair dryer reading this. It touched my heart. I’m trying not to cry. It makes me think of my Daddy oh how I miss him. Thanks so much for this beautiful article!

  124. Rick Knoebel says:

    This is how I tried to raise my 2 daughters. I also let them know when they were doing something that could be dangerous to them or others. They are now both grown. 2 loving understanding young ladies that care about others and know the difference between right and wrong.

  125. Jasmine says:

    I cried after reading this. I love my dad so much, even though he has messed up so many times. Most girls who went through what I did would probably hate their father, but I never even began to hate my mine. Us girls just have a special bond with our daddy that we never really grow out of, whether we are separated by a few houses on the street or by a few states. Even though he was never there to teach me some of these things listed here, I still made it out with just a few dings and scratches, but it’s okay. I know who he is and how he is and I will always love him, just like he will always love me.

  126. Mark says:

    My god, yet another cry for attention for women. When will you see that this kind of stuff just makes you look week and feeble. Stand up for yourselves. Once. Please.

    • Ben says:

      Unless you have a daughter, or a son for that matter, stifle yourself. This is a call to arms for us daddies because it acknowledges just how big our roles are in this world. Didn’t you just read about letting the girl talk and listening even if you didn’t agree because it showed her that she could value her voice and her words? Don’t turn this article into something bitter. The corellary to being able to speak freely is being able to be SILENT! As my daughter grows, I want to do all of this for her. Don’t think for one second that I would see her natural urge to be valued as a piddling cry for help and think she just needed to toughen up and take charge. EVERYBODY has an urge to be valued, loved, respected, cherished. It is not weak.

      Merry Christmas

    • Cato Younger says:

      Dude,

      I understand. You are surrounded by negative, nagging, insecure women. It stinks. Our society makes fun of men. It stinks. But…. we can’t just be reactive as men. We have to plot our own course that we know is right and live it. That is manhood. We don’t put it off on others. Now, let me ask you? How do you think those negative, nagging, insecure women got that way? I think we both know the answer and this article addresses a good portion of it. I wish you the best…

  127. Gregory says:

    Thank you for this. A brilliant reminder which I vow to embody with my 4 year old. I might add to the list:

    How you speak to her is how she will speak to herself.

    Thanks again!

    G

  128. Lisa says:

    Today a year ago I lost my dad. At almost 39 I could never imagine the impact his death would have on me and the void it would leave in my life. My dad was my defender, my teacher, my confidant, my friend and the custodian of my heart!! The list above could be a tick list for various moments from my life and as I read through the comments above I’m deeply saddened that so many daughters do not have the father daughter bond that I shared with my dad. I learnt so much from him and I know that I am the women I am today because he was the father he was! I lost the love of my life on 24/12/12 at 05:48 but the lessons he taught and the love he gave stays with me. My dad not only hung the moon but in my eyes he walked on water too!!! Fathers love your daughters because they will be your greatest legacy. As my daughters heart lies ripped from my chest I know I was richly blessed to have an amazing father!!

  129. Madi says:

    As a 23 year old woman who was adopted by her stepdad at the age of 18, I want to say thank you. I have been trying for years to tell my “daddy” how he has impacted me for taking on this role to a (then 2 year old) little girl who biologically wasn’t his.

  130. Mackenzie says:

    This is beautiful! if I grew up in a house where these standards were kept, i would be a strong, confident women. Children need fathers like these, otherwise, they end up feeling timid, self doubtful, and inferior. Every little girl needs this in order to respect herself.

  131. Al Abbott says:

    I think it’s a great read, as a man I wish that my Father had seen it before he adopted me.

  132. Albert says:

    Your comments are so true. I realize that in many relations that have failed, it was partially due to the fact that some of these young women never had a ‘daddy’ in their life. There are so many women today who need to hear loving words from their fathers; so many women need to understand who and what a real man is all about through genuine relationships built on trust. Thank you for those insights.

  133. Shar says:

    Although I wasn’t fortunate to have my father around in my life, I was truly blessed with a wonderful father-figure: my grandfather and aside from there being two generations of differences in my eyes he stood up to these beautiful words.

  134. A dad who wishes life was so simple... Niave. says:

    # 17 made me immediately tear up……. I have 5 kids & was (I thought), happily married…. Just going thru a tough part….. 8 years separated, last 2 Divorced. Kids now ..1-18y & 2-13y boys & 2 girls..16 & a fresh 15. With a genuinely evil, manipulative Ex who has alienated all but 1 of the Twins from me….and for him she got him a job on the Two regular days I have access….

    A true dad’s love for his children.. boys & girls is felt differently … but equally strong! His heart aches with each moment away from them….and is torn apart when “in-difference” creeps in” from the constant “negative programming”….. A true Dad never lets go…. but it hurts so…..

    A rarity occurs, he’s “graced” with there presence…. “RECHARGE !!!!”…..

    Only to have to live that vicious cycle again…. was that the last time ?

    Only time will tell….

  135. I sit at 33 years old spending numerous years in some of the roughest prisons in the US.
    And I cry…
    To the people who “felt nothing” ur a lie. U felt something cause u had to post to let people know ur story….
    I’m a daddy. A daddy of seven of the most beautiful kinda in the world. Four of these lil ppl are my girls. My princesses. My heart. My roses and dresses and pink stuff and bows.
    Mean old daddy, the states say I’m a “… Threat to public safety and should never be outside a prison fence, to ensure the continued safety of human population…” (Read from my parole denial)
    But to four lil girls I’m just daddy… The guy who plays with dolls, takes to get candy rwgilarly

  136. Karen says:

    I did have a Daddy like this and though he is now in Heaven, I will admire and love him all my life. I am now married to a man much like him. I am so blessed!

  137. Darlene Troy says:

    This is all so very true… Thanks for posting this and putting it all into words…

  138. Douglas Eden says:

    Im a bit confused as to what is MEANT by # & re: as teen aged boys do .
    .
    .
    BUT also # 5 mentions a belief in god BUT then # 24 says dont lie, so HOW can I brainwash a little girl into believing in god without lying ? ? NOT possible.
    .
    .
    ALSO # 9 and # 13 are grey areas because healthy bodies and a fit lifestyle demands she not get fat and also when it comes to loving and meeting a man to spend her erotic energies with dress size WILL matter , brains and heart are vital too BUT if he doesnt fidn her appealing they are secondary and useless.
    .
    .
    ALL of the rest seem 100% accurate and fairly common sense to me , just as with boys , # 15 is vital to treat the changing body as a natural wonder and a great normal thing when EITHER gender starts masturbating and desiring closeness with other gendered kids. . I have NO PROBLEM seeing my kids as becoming sexual beings and having bodies as I once had or once desired to sleep with .
    .
    .
    MY son is 14 and already KNOWS that dad is comfy and knowledgeable about these things and even somewhat in how to treat girls so they will respect and like him .
    .
    .

    • David says:

      Ok, so you just HAD to throw in that you don’t believe in God. Just skip that part then, ok?

      If your daughter meets a man who values her dress size, etc., more than her brains and heart, she needs to dump him quick, because they DO matter more than her dress size.

      I think you are already teaching yours that erotic energies are much more important than a belief in God, having brains, or a heart.

      I wish them well.

  139. Eddie M Green Jr says:

    I have 4 Sons 3 daughters 3 step daughters I love them all with a special kind for each one,Eddie 3rd. he’s First Born Only One Like Him,, 2nd born Carmelo My Princess ,,3rd born Sirredward the Genius that has to find his way,,4th born Michaela Strong Willed and Beautiful Spirit,,5th born Edwin Loyal and always my little buddy,,6th born Demetirus Tall Dark and Handsome the lover-boy,,7th born Ms.Ashley My HEART.Now those are biological,,but there are three very special young ladies Tenisha is giving,Jackia keeps it real all the TIME and Raquel just sweet,, that has also touched my life in a tremendous way,,no one could be as blessed as I ,to have shared a life and times in 10 beautiful and loving spirits as these children that God has shared with me.Thank you God for each of these Gifts you entrusted into my HANDS. WE CAN ONLY PLANT THE SEEDS and allow God to do the Rest.

  140. Amanda says:

    26. When you can admit when you are wrong, or that you have made a mistake, it teaches me that I am not a failure when I make mistakes.

    • Cato Younger says:

      Amanda,

      That is so true isn’t it? And it never gets easier. Oh, in my mind its easy to ask forgiveness, but then it sticks on the tongue. But I always push through. Not because I’m a great dad, but because my children deserve whats right.

  141. James Gillum says:

    I will have to share this with my men in residential. Thank you for sharing this.

  142. Shane says:

    Aww this is adorable :)

  143. Dorothy Silecchia says:

    I thought this is how all Daddy’s were. Mine is in heaven now but we keep in touch every day.

  144. Rosetta Flowers says:

    This is a beautiful,heart healthy message that needs to be a declaration to all females in the world.

  145. Cathy says:

    I wish my former husband would have followed #3 above. He left me after 33 years of marriage for another woman! Of course the “other woman” didn’t come out of the woodwork until 3 months after our divorce was final, he kept her well hidden and even claimed to be a man of faith, a pastor who was ordained by a family friend, not a seminary! What a performance, he should have won an academy award! He broke my heart and theirs and has yet to acknowledge the damage he has done!

  146. Tanya says:

    Do you have one for Mummies?

  147. pisceclipse says:

    hahaha this would explain why I’m so fucked when it comes to men + self-value.

  148. Tamara says:

    If only I had a dad like this, or half this “loving” I ended up looking for that love in so many men. Married for the 4th time and in counseling. Parents, pay attention to this article. Don’t let your children end up looking everywhere for love.

  149. tiffany says:

    I have a lot of memories with my dad. Some are good and some aren’t I just wish that he wasn’t sick with lung cancer now because my sisters kids need their grandpa here to see them grow up.

  150. Berta says:

    I agree on everything, except on this:

    “Every time you show grace to me or someone else, I learn to trust God a little more.”

    I don’t know what God has to do with good parenting, loving your daughter, loving your parents or anything related to family issues…

  151. Randolph says:

    This was a great article and as the father of 2 girls, I see the importance the impact if a God-inspired father/parent can have on the life of his daughters. I was raised with brothers, so I had no real perspective on how girls function while growing up. I did lean on my Christian/biblical influences to teach/train my children. We have 3 children and a boy is in the mix. Growing up with sisters is going to make him a great boyfriend/husband. It’s apparent to me that an negative comments here are the result of real hurt by fathers of father-figures who gave abused their relationship. The result become a woman who is hurt and bitter toward ALL men.

  152. Frank says:

    My little princess will be 20 in a few months. She’s the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. Some of your guidelines I instinctively adopted after I became a dad, others did not occur to me until I read them here. One thing I did early on (just because it felt “right”) was never excluding her from some childhood activity because it was a “guy” thing: hiking, swimming, racing, jetski-ing, etc. I believe because of that, she has grown up to embrace life and regard her future as limitless. I never let her think (at least I hope not) that some area was off-limits to her because she was a girl. There was never any “Go play with your dolls” or “Sorry, sweetie, you can’t do this”. Wonderful thoughtful post.

  153. Jay Weston says:

    Thank you to the author for posting this.

    As a father of 6, three boys and three girls, I have learned a few things:

    1. If you want your daughters to see the standard in action for what they would like in a man you must cherish and respect your wife in public and in private. This applies to your sons as well. They will treat their future spouses just like you treat yours and your daughters will look for similar qualities in men.
    2. Dont let your own timidity about trying something new, keep your children from trying these experiences, especially your daughters. If they want to fish, show them how to bait a hook, if they want to make a table, show them how to sharpen the saw. Obviously, prudence applies, take the jump together.
    3. When you discipline, do it with love. There is a distinct difference between the way sons and daughters handle being disciplined, they both need open communication but in different ways. If its your way or the highway, they will look for that road at some point. Its ok to explain why the discipline occurs and be open enough and man enough to hear their side. If you reacted and disciplined to quickly without knowing everything, fix it immediately. Seeking forgiveness when you have over reacted and made a mistake will help them do the same in their relationships.
    4. What the author said about how your treat your dog and other pets couldn’t be more accurate. If you are abusive to the animal, your children wont be far behind and its a sign of other issues. Just make sure that scale isn’t imbalanced.

    There is a whole to comment on, but this is enough. Merry Christmas every one.

  154. Alex says:

    I couldn’t help but feel this was written for a father who has already failed his daughter, yet sadly don’t believe this targeted audience will likely be here reading up on how to be a better father.

    It is sad to see so many daddy-daughter articles written from the perspective of a troubled past relationships and warnings of failure. It would be nice to see more written from a positive perspective that inspire while still offering the same valued messages for those already striving to be better parents.

    That said, it is a very touching story with sound advice.

    • Bill says:

      Agreed! I believe most of this was written by a bitter Mother!!

    • Cato Younger says:

      While I love this article, it would be nice to have some written by men AND posted to social sites by men. Every single one of these I’ve read has been written by a woman or posted by a woman. We get it ladies, you want us to do a better job. Well, we’d like you to do better also by the way.

  155. Ray Petros says:

    I always adored my little girls, but it would have been so much easier if I didn’t have to fight the things my wife said to them about me behind my back. There was one period in life where one of my daughters seemed to despise me, later to find out that what her mother said wasn’t true. Now she despises her mother sad to say. Repeat that with another daughter. I have a wonderful relationship with my daughters, but it is inspite of a Couple things on the list. I tried so hard… But I wonder how much was missed because of the lies they heard in my own home.

  156. Auntie says:

    Guess my farther never got these instructions…….

  157. daddy says:

    speaking for myself and a lot of daddys out there i pray that when you grow up you will know that you did not come with a book on how to say the right things this is learn by time and lord know that we all make mistakes some good some not so good but no matter we are always thinking about that little girl she is always in your hearts and wish we could be there to give them a hug any time she wants one because it make us feel good to.. for my self i wish i was there to hug now..

  158. Tim says:

    I missed these years in my daughter’s life. I missed a lot of years in her life.

    Her mom and I split up before she was born, and I didn’t understand why. I think her mom must have had some bad experiences in the past. Anyway, her mom lost custody of her, and her brother and his wife gained custody. At first, I wanted to fight for custody, but realized that they could raise her better than I could, alone.

    When I first got to see her, almost a year ago, she was 17 years old, nearly grown (a friend pushed me to get in touch BEFORE she graduated, I was going to wait until then). I was still afraid that they would tell me no. All they said is that they wanted me to get a DNA test done.

    One of the first questions she asked is why I didn’t try to see her before. And I didn’t have an answer. I told her I didn’t have an answer, that I guessed I thought maybe she was better off without me, that I figured that I left her in good hands, and that they would raise her as a daughter (their kids were grown by then).

    I didn’t fight, because as her father, I wanted what was going to be best for her, and I wasn’t it. Now we’re working on getting to know each other better. I try to be as honest as I can be, even when it hurts. And I let her know that she can count on me to look out for her. I don’t know if she gets it, but I do mean it.

  159. Tracy says:

    My daughter’s father isn’t involved with her, on more than a minimal basis. I want to send this to him, so he knows what his not being actively consistently involved… has done to his daughter.

  160. cletus says:

    I screwed my only daughter up pretty bad. wished i’d had this 20 years ago.

  161. Bill says:

    I’m an older man and have raised all mine,(all boys) & I will pass this on to all of them, BUT, I have a problem with #3 this works both ways not just one!! When a divorce allows a woman to use withholding of the children, when all support has been paid, and the Father is the best there could be, the little Girl is the only one being HURT!!

  162. Annie says:

    I believe that this does not just ably to the fathers or daughters but both sons and mothers as well. Not every girl looks up to their father the way I do for others its their mothers. Mothers often forget the influence they have on their children like fathers but its not just fathers that impact a child’s life.

    On another note reading through these comments I was very glad to see how others reacted to what another has said and encouraged them to stay strong.

  163. Kirsty says:

    So very true!
    It was not my experience growing up, but as an adult now I do understand that my little heart desired that I be treated like this as a little girl.
    When you see other dads treat their little girl like this, you grow up thinking there must be something wrong and unlovable about you! It really shatters your self worth & self esteem.
    I just wish parents would really understand that their words & actions are so powerful, no parent is perfect but it takes years to heal.
    Praise The Lord that He is my father & revealed His Love for me.

  164. Danno says:

    For my first three (2 boys and a girl), I was not there for them. I was a career navy man. A submariner by trade. I averaged up to 300 days a year at sea. My children grew up without me. My second 3 (2 girls and a boy) were conceived and born in my last tours of duty, where I was senior enough that I was taking instructor assignments or squadron staff assignments. I left the navy at 22 years, with my kids being 22, 18, 15, 9,6, and 3. I know my three older kids love and respect me, but I really didn’t have much to do with molding them into who they are today. I hope to do a much better job with the three younger ones.

  165. Thorny says:

    Tara,

    What a fantastic piece! When my first daughter was born and I was holding her in my arms I knew I’d better get my act together quick. Sixteen years later I am in awe of the strength of character she shows. She doesn’t brook fools but still has a tender heart for those in need. Most of what you wrote I figured out along the way and received as counsel from much older fathers of daughters. As I train my sons to be a better father than I was, this will be in the training/discussion material.

  166. Sky says:

    I wish more than anything I had this kind of dad. My dad provided my brother and I with the “necessities” as he would say: a house, the latest gadgets, dance classes, basketball camps, and the like, but he was never invested. He treated my mother poorly and as a result our relationship is complicated. Now as a young adult I respect and care for my best friend’s father more than my own because I have watched him raise her younger siblings and love the rest of his family for the past 7 years. I’m still young but as I date guys I look at who would be a great father, not just a cute young guy. My kid(s) will have a dad who would rather play dress up dollies or football with them than world of warcraft. Someone who won’t leave halfway through a dance recital or a soccer match. Someone who wants to be a part of the family all of the time.

  167. joy says:

    For those of us that had a father that demonstrated none of the values outlined, it makes us aware of how it should/could have been and how not having these values have shaped our lives. It also makes us aware of what we need to do to instill those values from within our own heart to make ourselves feel more whole, respected, appreciated and strong. My father’s last comments to me seven years ago were “… I know that you would never amount to anything.” I was 54 years old, and this is after attaining a Master’s degree and having a very successful career. Now I know why I have always been working my life from the bottom up. I am not the only little girl in the world that grew up in a world full of ridicule and abuse. Millions of little girls deal with this every day. God bless all of us for making it through. Thanks for sharing a vision of how it was supposed to be.

  168. Father of 3 girls says:

    As a father of three grown daughters, one thing I may not have done well is to show our girls how to forgive others, so that as they now are adults and realize that I am not perfect, they can forgive me for my own feeble mistakes.

  169. Darren Spotjoy says:

    This was reading so well until number 5 and then after continued just as well. As a counsellor, I am disappointed you have included a reference to “God”. A persons faith, particularly that of your own, should not be expressed via this type of medium. I certainly hope that is not how you counsel a person in need.

  170. Richard Owen Cooper says:

    This is how Daddies Feel

    A constant empty, like your stuck between happy and sad, from sleeping on my cheast to laughing at a song. Who was it Cynthia? Having to leave Emma helpless under the incubator, and the baby well my pain haughts me everyday. So many memory’s and, now its lead to simply the longing desire to make it right. It does not help that your daddies mixed with both worlds of my name and so many conflicting traits. But on top of everything I would want you all to know I would suffer and die a painful death as long as you never feel the emotional pain I have I ask for all yalls painful moments to be put on me. However as you grow older so will I, and you will begain to gain your own self worth, follow your dreams. You will see I have too, I have wonderful plans of love and peace, and ideas on how to achieve this, as well as many other creative things, I am just waiting on my moment. I have always had a death sense of worth, and no matter how the cards play all the of those fireballs have mine and my family’s DNA flowing thru them. So if it’s not me how makes a huge ripple one if not all three of them will! I wish I knew how or a sign a breakthrough something to get me to express myself know but the pain and heartache and nothing ever bad luck just bets me down and I do anything to be happy, and in most cause can’t find that either. So yes that story is sad and I cry at movies so you could only imagian, but you all have eachother, it would be nice to change places ever once and I while so you could really see and feel the absolutely alone , and so many people have kicked you around for years, its hard to keep getting back up and fighting, not me I will fight till I win. “Love Above All” Richard Owen Cooper

  171. djm says:

    My life is a perfect example of what happens when fathers do NOT do these things.

    I survived rape, molestation, emotional abuse, physical violence, negative self-esteem, self-harm, helplessness, hopelessness, homelessness, despair, and soul-sucking emptiness.

    The men in my life judged me harshly, taught me I had no value, made fun of or threatened or menaced me constantly.

    And my dad and brothers were ministers.

    I tried my best to get their approval, excelling in school and the arts, but it was never enough to make up for the acting out that was a natural consequence of the disaster that was my existence.

    So listen to the advice guys.

  172. Norma McQueen says:

    Wonderful words of wisdom that brought tears to my eyes. I wish every father in the world could read this.
    I know how very, very, much my son loves his daughter, and as she grows into a beautiful intelligent woman who makes awesome choices. I know she understands his love as I do. God Bless you honey.

  173. Greg says:

    “5. Every time you show grace to me or someone else, I learn to trust God a little more.”

    Modelling grace for our children is important, but archaic notions of superbeings aren’t a part of it. Assuming you are referring to the biblical god Yahweh, of Abraham, I cannot imagine a WORSE thing for girls to be taught. That God has indifference at best and no goodwill for girls. Google “bible misogyny” for yourself, read the actual words of the bible regarding women.

    A therapist should no better. I heartily agree with the rest though. Good, good stuff.

    • Tim says:

      You mean like this?

      Ephesians 5
      25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
      26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
      27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
      28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
      29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

      Oh yeah, lots of misogyny there…

    • Cato Younger says:

      Greg,

      Not everything in the Bible is supposed to be an example to emulate. Some passages are just relating historical events or giving examples to flee from. The Bible was also written during a different time period. If you look at that period, Jewish women and children were treated MUCH better than in surrounding cultures. Even in our own Western Civ, Christianity has been the basis of better treatment for women and children, while other cultures have lagged way behind. Lastly, most Christian theologians make the conclusion, shared by lay people, that the verses Tim references below mean that a husband should be willing to die for his wife. That is literally one thing a Christian man should settle in his mind before marrying. Needless to say, a man who loves his wife and is willing to die for her is not mistreating her.

  174. Keith says:

    I truly hope that I have done all of thos things, and if I haven’t I pray it’s not to late

  175. Mike says:

    My little girl is 5 and my little boy 3 1/2 and this is amazing.I try to be the best father i can but sometimes you question your own abilities (especially entrusted with something so precious) this list is now my bible and il be showing it to as many friends as i can!!

  176. matt says:

    Really good article, you brought up some valuable and practicle points. I also think you did miss one key element and thats Jesus. He wasn’t mentioned once in the article but who he is and what he did is the biggest reason for a father to serve his daughter in a Godly manner which encompasses you list and more. Jesus died so that his little ones might be set free, there is no better example for a father. Also, you said that fathers should teach that intellegence is more important than dress size however I really think this is just a saying of insecure, fat, intellegent women (sorry to be blunt) and not Godly. Going back to Jesus, he died for them, whether they are smart, physically beautiful or mentally disabled. Besides, shouldn’t all christians show Jesus’ love to everyone no matter who they are or how the world sees them? At the end of the day, a fathers job is to point his daughter to Jesus, your atticle has provided many practical tips for this to occur. Thankyou

  177. David says:

    My daughter is now 19 years old and I so wish I had seen this before now. Because my older son was into sports, I pushed her into sports at an early age when she didn’t really want to and as her weight became an issue, I tried even more ways of getting her into an active lifestyle, all well meaning, so I thought. She came to resent me for my actions and only recently has she forgiven me. I wish I could go back in time and do it all over again but hopefully time will heal these wounds I caused.

  178. Rex Curtis says:

    What a thought provoking list. I’m a 59 year old dad of three grown children with my first grandchild due in two weeks. While reading this list my first reaction to each was to think I did a pretty good job with my kids. Then, as reality took over, I know that I could have, should have, done so much more. Not only when they were young and so impressionable, but even today as young adults, I need to do more to show them how much they truly mean to me. Children, I believe, are a precious gift from God that can not be overshadowed by anything. Yet, I know that I have not taken the time nor put forth the effort over the years that a gift like this truly deserves. My kids know I love them and I know they love me, which is wonderful…but I can’t help but wonder what it might look like if I had put 100% of myself into being the best father I could have been during their more formative years. One thing is for sure, my soon to arrive granddaughter will see what I have learned over the years about being a better dad. You can teach an old dog new tricks. This list is awesome and I think I can put it to good use. A special note to my daughter Chandra…From the first moment I laid eyes on you 35 years ago was the first time that I truly came to know what love is. I was far from being the worlds greatest dad but I will try much harder going forward. For the record; my two sons are great young men that are loved too.

  179. Richard Cox says:

    I went to school for more than 18 years and earned a Master’s Degree. I wish that for just one hour during all that schooling, someone had shared these truths. It might have helped me considerably raising my two daughters. Fortunately, they turned out well in spite of all my mistakes and failures!

    Richard

  180. Paolo says:

    I love my kids so so much. Great article and wish they never grew up. I may be selfish father for saying that but I love the time I spend with them. Time goes so fast.

  181. Tamara says:

    I love this. I really wish this would have been around when my Daddy wasn’t raising me. I yearn for a father/daughter relationship me and my Daddy never had. This describes the Daddy I always wanted. My Daddy was capable of this but drugs had control of him.

  182. Gail says:

    Thank you, beautifully written and so true. Even though I loss my Dad as a teen he instilled in me many of the items you listed. I do miss his presence today but he imprinted on my heart and spirit and I can still hear his voice even today. Thank you Daddy!

  183. Mei-Lin Po says:

    What a beautiful post. Thank you for putting into clear words what it is I am looking for; THIS is who I want the father of my (future) children to be.

  184. Thank you for this article. I totally agree with many before me who have stated that the same could be used in the masculine tense. My dad was one who fit this %110 percent. Unfortunately early tomorrow will be the first anniversary of his death. I see many people posting about what their New Years resolution will be and I know lately, I may not have lived up to the father figure I know I should be and plan on working hard to make it a successful 2014 resolution.

  185. jules says:

    Love this!!! It is especially meaningful as you wrote or posted it on the day my Daughter was born! It’s so important to remember what an impact we have on their lives! ! Thanks for sharing!! God bless!

  186. Kara says:

    I got in an ultercation before Thankgiving with my Dad. Unfortunately & sadly there were no witnesses. My Dad played the pitty card to my sister & to her decision she wanted my Dad to press charges against me. This info was taken from another relatives fb site, this is how we found out my sister is using my Father to try & hurt me “again”. Ongoing thing for this sibling. Although my Dad lets this go on & shows favortism since I look like his ex wife. (My dear Mother who would be turning over in her grave knowing we have court coming up for something I shouldn’t even be charged for) As I am an RN who was just visiting my Dad from another state when he flipped on me. I was in 2 foster homes also as a kid for my Dad & his Father always “whooping” on me. They could have easily killed me with how abusive they were as my Dad forced me to live with his parents & him after the divorce when I was 4. Everyday I was told I wasn’t apart of my Dad’s family because I looked like my Mother. Finally, I took it upon myself before my Mother died (with her blessing) in the new Millineum to meet her side. They are a true blessing to me. Loving & Supportive unlike my Dad showed or taught me. Please pray I get through this horrific time as I have had to cut all ties with my Dad, siblings & their children since my Dad has destroyed my character on down the line starting with his parents. In which I never should have been forced to live where I wasn’t wanted in the first place. These charges are Misdemeanors, yet they could very easily jeapordize my future on Nursing jobs. My sister realizes this as this is what she is hoping for as she states she is defending my Father. Thanks for your time.

  187. Please Fathers of daughters: Take this very seriously. I never had one of the points written, given to me by my Father. As a result, I’ve let people mistreat me, can’t learn to love myself, don’t trust my talents, hate my body because of my size, took it for granted that I was not as good as anyone else, was jealous of other people, I’m still too over sensitive, and I’m 73 years old! When my Father would kiss myself and my sister, he would put his tongue in our mouths, Mother said he didn’t know how to kiss.
    I regret I wasn’t a good role model for my children, two of which have low self esteem. Us humans should have to take child care classes before becoming parents. I love my family dearly, but still don’t love myself.

  188. Kathy Tortoreo says:

    Thank you for this! I will be passing this article to the men in our Domestic Violence Battering Intervention and Prevention Program every cycle during the Responsible Parenting Theme. *With appropriate credit and direction to you and your blog!*
    The men in our groups, with violent histories, must understand what their daughters learn, and how to give them positive, loving messages. I am sincerely grateful for your post. Some of our participants will also appreciate it, I’m sure.

  189. Becks says:

    Wow, thanks so much for posting this. I won’t say thanks for making me cry (lol), but I do hope all the dads and future dads out there get to read this. Some of these points couldn’t be more true…

  190. April G. says:

    This article made me cry. I am very blessed to have such a good father. No one is perfect and every parent makes mistakes, but he got the most important things right. I try to be sure and tell him how much I appreciate how he and my mom raised me… mostly around his birthday, Father’s Day and Christmas. This article reminded me that I should tell him more often.

  191. Colm says:

    This is actually what one little girl wanted of her Daddy. The little girl who wrote it. I am a Daddy of a 4 year old little girl. I try to teach her and her brother to own what they feel. I try to teach them that men and women, little girls and little boys, want the same things in life. Do you think for a moment any little boy would not want the 25 things you wrote above? Do you think for a moment there are any men or women out there today who don’t have twinges of regret at least, that either or any of their parents or guardians did not or could not, give them all of those 25 concerns. While I understand and even dare I say it tolerate you writing this from your own place of pain, can you not realise that part of the problem in society today is that women lump men into one jar and one label. Why would you think that Daddy doesn’t know this stuff already? Why would you think that Fathers, every Father, doesn’t know how to treat his children? There is such condescension in this piece towards men that if it was written with the gender roles reversed by a man, it would be called sexist by many women. I understand my language is direct. I don’t intend to hurt you. I do intend to challenge you strongly. Frankly as a father, as a man, I am thoroughly fed up with being lumped into a category by women for which very few men I have met in my life belong to.
    It’s not so much important what happened to us as children, it’s what we do with it now as adults that count. So we didn’t have loving fathers or mothers or capable fathers or mothers, or perhaps our parents were ill.. My difference is that I see it, and I take it into account and I educate myself and my children in a non dogmatic way to live and love and be free. Thank you for the space to give my feed back on this article.

    • Cato Younger says:

      Colm,

      Brother I understand where you are coming from. Nowadays in every commercial or sitcom the dad is a bumbling fool and the brunt of the jokes. Otherwise, men are portrayed as frat boys who just play. Academics write articles that men are actually no longer needed and “obsolete”. It can make it easy to become sensitive and reactionary. But…this article I think was really just a gentle reminder of the things we can and should do for our daughters and the importance of those things. And yes, people generally want the same things, but I think our society has overcompensated for a previously gender-specific society by trying to become androgynous. It won’t work either. Men and women really are different and that’s okay.

    • Jen says:

      Colm,

      I have to say I was really taken aback by the passion behind your comment, and my impression was that perhaps you have been percolating a bit on this topic, and this blog may have been your proverbial straw. Whatever caused it, I think you’ve really misread both the tone and intent of this piece. It’s simply a list of reminders that any father should appreciate, given how busy we get, how easy it is to forget how our words, actions, and demeanor really impact our children, etc. And I have reacted the very same way to posts that were more focused on women. In fact, I re-posted one recently that was a reminder of what moms need to teach their sons. I wasn’t offended in the slightest by thinking that the person who wrote the list thought that ALL women fail at the things on the list, or that it was condescending to tell me something that (hopefully) I already knew. I simply took it for what is was–a well-intentioned reminder that my children are extremely precious, and I shouldn’t take for granted the fact that my actions and example are helping to mold them in the process of them becoming adults. And for what it’s worth, I do believe that while we have many similarities, boys and girls do need different things from their parents, and moms and dads have different things to offer. Take the physicality topic for example. My daughter liked to rough-house and wrestle when she was younger, but as she grew older, she didn’t like it as much. She needed/wanted a more tender, loving contact than my boys did. If I want to express affection to my daughter, I give her a hug and a kiss. My youngest son really doesn’t like to be kissed, but I can bump shoulders with him anytime and he views it as me letting me know he’s loved. I could go on, but if you can’t see the value in what a father can give his daughter that is different than a mother can, or different than the way he helps to shape his sons, I’m not sure I can change that in a short comment here.

  192. John says:

    This is the best advise a father could get to be true to there little princesses

  193. Karin Whitmore says:

    This is a wonderful article which I’d like to send to my ex-husband, but he and I are not Facebook friends. Is there any way to email this to someone? Thank you for the wise words!

    • Cato Younger says:

      Karen,

      You might want to send it to one of his guy friends, and let that friend send it to him. Just a thought. Cheers!

  194. Amy says:

    Maybe I would be in a better mind-set regarding men if my dad had know this or had the where-with-all to figure it out, 45 yrs ago. I hated my dad for so many years and I still don’t know why, but only loved/honored him in my adult years because I allowed God to show that through me. I never had that described ‘warm, loving, longing to see him again feeling’ when i moved away or now since he’s passed.

  195. Leigh says:

    I have to say that if we don’t have that male figure in our live… Jesus has promised to be that to us. I know as a child with a very busy dad that I remember crying to my Abba Father and He was always there for me. I see Jesus more now as my source of strength. I pray that if my husband does not fill this role that me and Jesus will fill those empty spaces. Even if a daddy is perfect, Jesus needs to be there for our dear children. Well, said because I wish and pray that a little girl could look to her daddy, but if he isnt Jesus will hold her hand and dance with her and make her strong. Jesus can heal where everything is missing. I am sorry for bitter people who don’t have Jesus and or a daddy

  196. Thomas says:

    Show your strength so she can trust the physicality of men, uh what? If this isn’t a negative or neutral thing, I’d rank this near last in importance in the list of what makes a good father.

    • Cato Younger says:

      Thomas,

      I think what this is trying to say about “the physicality” of men is that men simply are more physical than women and that’s okay. And the daughter can see that its okay. Obviously, abuse is a different subject but that is also part of it – mean are physical WITHOUT being abusive. When this girl has a husband of her own who want to play pickup basketball or two sons that wrestle all the time, she can know its different but okay. I am not explaining what I’m thinking well, but there it is.

  197. Lilly says:

    Very good I was reading this for a long time

  198. Jen says:

    Thank you for this post. I have experienced firsthand both a very disengaged biological father and an incredibly loving and nurturing stepfather. I’m so grateful that my “daddy” (the one who chose to actually be a father to me) exhibited the behaviors in this article. I had so hoped that I would give my own daughter the same blessing. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen and even now (in her 20s), I know it hurts her to remember back on the callous way her father treated her. Fathers, you have no idea how much impact your words and actions have on your children.

  199. Damon says:

    Jeff’s comment demonstrates how hypocritical the liberal mentality can be. Mentioning God in an article is not pushing religion down anyone’s throat. Are you completely unable to appreciate a moving article simply because the author has made a religious reference? What happened to ‘tolerance’? Should I discount a well-written article because the author mentions something about being gay? Certainly not. That you believe anything mentioning religion isn’t worth publishing is ridiculous. You may personally disagree with any one of those 25 points, yet that should not devalue the overall message.

    You have certain rights in this country… not being offended ain’t one of them. Get over it.

  200. Russ says:

    Thank you for this. I hope that by keeping this in mind, I can “finish strong” with my now-teenage daughter, rather than making her feel even less valued than my younger daughter…because I will remember these words with both of them!

  201. Donald Wallace says:

    Thank you!! My girls are grown now, I do have “FIVE” granddaughters now. This will help me be a better Papa. I truly love you my dear daughters, you are my life and breath I take.

  202. Olivia says:

    This touched my heart. I know if my dad were by my side as i grew up he’d be the perfect dad. Sadly, he passed away when I was only 5 years old. How I wish he were still in my life.

  203. Russell Souza says:

    Just so you all know i am a father of four beautiful daughters and i believe this list is so foolish, i failed at many of the things on this list. My girls are all grown up and i am a very important part of their everyday lives as well as they are in mine, i made my share of mistakes while they were growing up, but my mistakes could only be corrected by what i learned from them, you can’t find this in a book or a list of things a daddy should do.

    So as a daddy do want your instincts tell you, put faith in the good Lord and if you have their best interest at heart, you can not fail.

    Just one question though, were is the list for mothers. There are alot of single dads out there, so i guessed what we did as daddy’s, we did ok.

  204. dougj says:

    You provided a bunch of wonderful insights, Tara. Thank you. After my 20-year old daughter shared your list with me, I wrote the following to her in response. I hope it helps my daughters and girls everywhere. Even though I have a Bachelor of Arts in Family Studies, among other degrees, and understand the importance of fathers to their daughters, I’m not always the best father that I could be. I hope that this helps my own daughter understand and to be a bit more stable and steady in life.

    What Daddies Wish Their Little and Grown Up Girls Knew

    1. You are one of my choicest treasures. I will always value you most highly.

    2. Even though I’m a bit awkward at expressing myself, please trust that I truly do love you very deeply.

    3. Know that you are a daughter of a Living God and that he loves you infinitely and wants you back in his own presence and abode one day.

    4. Life is good.

    5. But, there’s a lot of bad and less than good out there. Be wise.

    6. Even though it sounds like a lecture, it’s meant for you to contemplate, study, pray about and learn from so that you can be happier by avoiding mistakes I’ve made or am aware that others have made.

    7. Prayer works. But, if it doesn’t seem to, then pray for and about other things for the time being.

    8. There’s a man out there who is also trying to learn and grow and figure out life and his path through it. Be patient and allow him time to get ready for you. Keep yourself for him. One day, I’ll rejoice to give you to him. I might cry, though.

    9. I know that you need attention and approval and that it has an affect on your sense of self worth. If those are not always forthcoming from me to you, please be still and steady and know that I do approve of you. Don’t seek it from those who would eventually have a negative affect on your sense of self worth. Positive attention and approval really will come to you before long. I’ll do my best to give it to you and pray that it’s sufficient for you. Your own sense of self worth will eventually carry you.

    10. I love to see you happy. Yes, having fun and laughing, but also truly happy, joyful and fulfilled.

    11. I’m sad when you struggle but trust that you will make it thru your trials and be all the better for it. You are strong and capable. You will continue to grow and become even more so with time and continued effort and endurance.

    12. Trust that despite me being a mortal man with all my shortcomings and faults, I truly do want to be the best I can and to eventually return to live with our Heavenly Father in his presence, just like I want that for you, too. I really do.

    13. I love your mother very much.

    14. Family is generally the safest and best place to ultimately rely on and return to. We need you as much as you need us.

    15. There’s a law for that! (My children should understand this one. Essentially, there’s a law for everything. Just figure out the law for a given thing, taking into account current circumstances, and you can do that thing.)

    16. If you want a good husband, study the women who have good husbands. Be like them, go where they go (went) and do what they do (did) and choose to be around the good guys (and girls) and not the others. Those women already figured out that path. Follow them as long as it leads to what’s right.

  205. Weezie says:

    Even at 50, I am still struggling with my relationship with my father.

  206. Jorge says:

    I’m that guy :)

  207. Swapan says:

    What this daddy would see to it that her little girl knows:

    - Make a priority list
    - Own consequences of the priority list you made
    - There is always a price
    - Good or bad, accept and go through the ride as an experience
    - If there is a problem, do an honest root-cause analysis to fix the problem
    - Every incident of unhappiness is an opportunity to experience happiness
    - Let go of yourself to experience all emotions so to experience life 360 (it is okay to cry, hate, love, angry, afraid, feel like a loser/winner/guilty/evil/devil/angel/Goddess/whatever)
    - Learn more through experience, rather than through bookish knowledge
    - I’ll give you hell when I’m alive so that going through hell becomes a cakewalk when you face it alone (trust me, you will and I know you’ll be ok)
    - You have yourself even when you are all alone, the rest is an environment around you
    - No matter what, find a reason to smile/laugh once a while (learned it from you)
    - Lastly, I’ll be there even after I die, as part of nature (I mean, chemically I’ll just transform into something else… at least 60% of my body is water, so, the next time you drink water… that’s not “Ewwww gross!”, that’s reality!)

  208. I definitely related to this article. I have a very broken relationship with my father. He was abusive and manipulative when until my parents divorced with I was 4. I had visitation until I was 10. Then one day he introduced me to his new wife and never spoke to me again. I am 19 years old now. I have held onto years of pain and anger but have recently accepted God as my unfailing father.

    I wrote more about this on my blog: http://faithlouise.weebly.com/

  209. Rob van Dort says:

    Never before did an article strike me more than this one. It appeared in Dutch in my newspaper “Het Nederlands Dagblad” this morning. As a father of three daughters (age 21,33,35), but also as a husband and a son it was like as if the hood of the precious women’s soul was lifted and and a caring mechanic explained what every part was for and how it would operate best in cooperation with the other parts. While reading the list for the first time, I noticed that something inside me asked for every item “hey Rob, how did you do on this one”. I did not reach nr. 3 with dry eyes… If men knew about this list before they became fathers, I think the world would have been very different!

  210. White Dove says:

    I didn’t have a loving father when I was growing up. So I can only imagine what it would have been like. I also didn’t have a loving mother. I was adopted by my CPS foster family and they treated me like a slave all of my life, until I turned 18. Then I got married to an abusive husband that treated me even worse than either of my CPS foster adopted parents did. He also destroyed our family and hurt my oldest daughter. She will make some man an excellent wife someday, “if” some man will just see the value in her. So far, all men have done is to hurt her. She doesn’t deserve to be hurt. Please God, give her a happy ending like You have for me in Jesus’ name I ask, Amen.

    However, thanks to Jesus Christ, today I have a loving husband who is a true sincere “born again” believer in Jesus Christ who fears God and lives a Holy life and treats me wonderfully and takes good care of me. I no longer have to starve on a regular basis. He is so very good to me.

  211. Katie Green says:

    This article is wonderful; thank you for your insight Tara. One of my most sought after prayers is that my daughters receive all of what you’ve mentioned here. With Christ, all things are possible. <3

  212. Brian says:

    I’m from the Netherlands, they translated this piece in dutch and published it on a dutch newspaper,
    http://www.nd.nl/artikelen/2014/februari/12/wat-papa-van-z-n-meisje-moet-weten?source=09b104bd251b9d723e2f3d47ce9968e1

    I just read it and was touched by your words (my litle girl is 6) and I just wanna say thank you Tara for your beautiful words. You will inspire a lot of people!

    regards,

    Brian

  213. Doris Peirce (Grama) says:

    Sweet Mandy….you are so right, you have learned your value by some of the treatment you received from your Grampa, who loves you dearly. You are so precious to us, and so aware of your value….May God bless you in every way—just as we have been blessed by your loving presence in our lives all these years. And now, dear child, you are willing to share your precious children with us. We can’t express how much we love our grandchildren—each and every one of you. And we love your children’s generation so much we can’t begin to express it in words. Love you always, gma

  214. Jon says:

    Beautiful article, and so true. I am a father and uncle and have always loved my little nieces and nephews, and of course my own son and daughter. It makes me happy to see so many men actively taking care of their children. They are finding out what women have known all along, which is that raising children is so precious and rewarding. Dads – don’t be afraid of your girls. Give them all the love you have. The need it and so do you. I truly feel sorry for people who don’t like children for whatever reason. They are missing out on so much. Every little girl (and boy) deserves a loving father.

  215. kayra says:

    hello,
    what a beautiful post. I love my dad. I was extremely pleased to find this website. I wanted to thank you for this good knowledge and I definitely enjoying every single small bit of it and I am looking forward to check out new stuff you post.
    thanks

  216. Dolores Curry says:

    Fathers today read things like this. In the 50′s they would have scoffed. I am amazed that so many of the children of the 50′s became as good and thoughtful parents that did…and now those children are even better. I do tear up watching my grandson -in-law with his thoughtfulness and understanding of his little girls.

  217. So true about our daddy, Lucy. I will read it again sometime.

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