“Dad, I need to tell you something. Sometimes you’re not very nurturing.”
I still remember the moment my daughter, Ashland, said this.
I remember it hurt.
Not because she said something that hurt my feelings.
It hurt because she was right.
Sometimes, hopefully, not too often, I’m not nurturing. Certainly not as nurturing as my wife. Not as nurturing as I should be. Not as nurturing as she deserves.
I know it and it hurts when I’m not. Probably hurt more this time when she acknowledged it because I knew she knew.
I’ve joked with her for years that when she dates, I won’t be a good dad. When she was little, I would tell her, half jokingly…kind of…I think…that she could date when she was 40. Later I changed it to 38. My favorite daddy song is Rodney Atkins “Cleaning this Gun” which gets my vote for “National Dad/Daughter Anthem”.
You need to understand that I am a dad of three amazing kids – 2 boys and 1 daughter. I love my boys more than life. But the love between a dad and daughter is different somehow.
When God made my daughter, he made the most beautiful girl I could hope for. I’ve always told her that any boy who dates her must respect her. God made her worthy of it when he knit her together. Expect respect and accept nothing less.
By the way, later that night, Ashland apologized for saying I wasn’t nurturing. We hugged a long time and I told her that actually, she was right. Sometimes when I should be, I’m not nurturing and for those times I apologize for not being the way she needs me to be.
As a dad, and a believer, God expects me to constantly shower my kids with kindness and mercy and love.
To fellow dads – let’s commit to being the fathers our daughters and sons deserve. The dads they need us to be. Lead them. Correct them. Love them. Nurture them. Let’s reflect the love our Heavenly Father has for us onto them.
And to all kids everywhere – hold us accountable and never settle for anything less than the respect and love you deserve.