There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself – John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, 1994
My first child was a boy. I figured him out quite early. It’s always been easy to buy presents for him or to figure out the things that he likes. It doesn’t hurt that he seems to reflect me when I was his age so, often, the things I found cool are the things that he does. In terms of teaching him the values and principles I live by, I try to live with integrity and respect for my fellow being as a way of teaching him. In the same way that my father taught me by being, I try to do the same. It has many parts but it’s about respect for himself and for others.
My father gave me the greatest girt anyone could give another person, he believed in me. – Jim Valvano
When my daughter was born, I struggled a bit more to connect with her. I spent a bit more time overwhelmed but that’s my Angel. Having a daughter has made me much more aware of how our world engages with girls and women, particularly in terms of value and validation. I have always been conscious of, for example, the images that music videos portray and I have always controlled what my son could engage with. With my daughter, it worries me more. I control the music she – and her brother – listens to, the images she engages with and the video she sees. I believe that she should be allowed to be a little girl, to grow up loved and protected. I believe she can do anything she wants to do and should be able to. I consider it my job to ensure that she has choice.
The thing to remember about fathers is, they’re men. A girl has to keep it in mind: They are dragon-seekers, bent on improbable rescues. Scratch any father, you find someone chock-full of qualms and romantic terrors, believing change is a threat – like your first shoes with heels on, like your first bicycle it took such months to get. – Phyllis McGinley
Watching this video for an Always #LikeAGirl campaign, I realise how big a job it is and wonder how equipped one is to fulfil it completely. All I can do is do best, hoping that it will be more than enough. I often wish we could fix everything for children. I guess all one can do is try to make his little patch of earth a better place for all who come into contact with it, and him.