The lights were dim, and it was suddenly quiet in the hospital room. This was a sharp contrast from all that had been happening there just few hours earlier. Across the room, my wife was enjoying a well-deserved rest after hours of labor while I sat in an armchair at the foot of her bed. It was from there that I looked down at the swaddled bundle, focusing on the face of my newborn daughter. I was overwhelmed by this beauty who was now entrusted to my care. How could I possibly be the father she deserved?
That day was 16 years ago this month and at the time, I knew nothing about having girls. While I wouldn’t call myself an expert now, I’ve learned that there are commitments to make to a daughter in order to be the best dad I can be to all my girls. Here are 10 commitments to make to a daughter.
1. I will let you talk me into new experiences.
I never dreamed about having tea parties or letting you do my hair (when I had hair). But if you ask and I can do it, count me in. The time spent with you is always worth it.
2. I will listen to you.
Whatever stories of unicorns and butterflies you come up with as a little girl, I want to hear them. As you get older, I’ll still be listening. I’d like to be someone you will pour your heart out to about whatever matters most in your life.
3. I will show up.
You can count on me showing up at your dance recitals, puppet shows, soccer games, and graduation. I want to be a part of every bit of your life that I can so much so that I’ll put my phone down so you know I’m paying attention.
4. I will help you with anything.
If you need me to check under the bed for monsters one more time, you can call me. When you need me to comb out your hair, I’ll learn how to do it so it doesn’t hurt. If you need to learn how to change a flat tire, I’ll be glad to show you. You can ask me, and I’ll teach you everything I know about everything I know.
5. I will teach you that you are beautiful.
You should see yourself the way I see you: a precious, beloved, and beautiful girl. And I will tell you this in my words and by my actions so you can understand that beauty is far more than what you see in the mirror.
6. I will show you how all men should treat you.
Let me show you the way you should expect to be treated by every man in your life. I will hold doors open for you. I’ll choose my words carefully when I speak about women. I will resist the temptation to steal a glance at an attractive woman.We should love people and use things (and not the other way around).
7. I will resist the lure of pornography.
Porn harms us all in many ways. One of the reasons for this is that every woman featured in porn is a person, and people don’t deserve to be used. I want you to learn that we should love people and use things (and not the other way around), I will do everything I can to avoid porn (or to quit looking at it).
8. I will apologize when I am wrong.
I know I’m not a perfect man. Sometimes I’m easily distracted. Sometimes my temper can get the best of me. Whenever this happens—especially if it hurts you—I’ll be the first to swallow my pride and say I’m sorry.
9. I will always forgive you.
I know you’re not perfect, either. When you come to tell me you broke my favorite coffee cup, scratched the fender on my car, or have made a poor decision around drinking, drugs, or sex, know that I’ll always forgive you.
10. I will always love you.
You’re my little girl. It doesn’t matter if there are days when you do things to drive me crazy or if it feels like my heart might be breaking. There is nothing you can say or do that will ever stop me from loving you.
Sound off: What are some other commitments to make to a daughter?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why is it so important to follow through on our commitments?”