As a father of a nineteen year old daughter and a fourteen year old son, I often reflect on the direction on which I’ve sent each of them. The standards differ based on their ability and their expectations. Because I do not expect my son to behave like a woman, nor do expect my daughter to behave like a man, I must model for them what I’ve determined to be appropriate gender roles.
When my son is left to his own devices he exhibits childlike mannerisms: wanting without working, playing until exhaustion, but feigning any responsibility to his home or for his actions…
And so I address it. We discuss it. I model an alternative to what he does and emphasize positive outcomes. It’s not easy. But it’s not supposed to be.
My daughter has always been more mature, but not without childish mannerisms. The women in her life, of course, take every opportunity to bestow upon her how to be a successful woman.
As I watch, I cannot help but observe some of the practices they’ve taught her. I wish we could simply raise our children up to be ADULTS; model citizens, hard workers, self-sufficient. But it is not enough. My daughter must also be a strong woman (especially when her counterparts are weak). She must be caring even when no one else cares. She will undoubtedly become as much of her mother as she becomes a fruit of me.
I worry that I’ve not given her enough. I see around me women who struggle with the world around them. It is men who’ve stopped caring that force the women to compensate. But more often I notice the women in our lives, the matrons of our family, and our lady leaders who must compromise–women who are forced to make tough decisions because their men were unable or impotent.
I wish this world were kinder to our women. I wish my daughter were not being taught how to “handle” men to get what she wants. Although her “compromise game” is weak, her “compensate game” is strong. She needs no one. But she’s offered the support from women who had to resort to manipulation and trickery for their own survival.
She’s accompanied a grandmother who chased her husbands away and a mother who couldn’t trick her husband into giving her what she wanted. They now press their prodigy to take their advice. She’s told to give to the young man who hasn’t found his way yet, but to spend no time with someone who challenges her ability. They’ve denied their own role in driving their lovers away. But they offer encouragement on how to find happiness without a “good man.”
The narrative changes depending on who tells the story. As a father who hoped he’s modeled what a strong man looks like, what a dedicated man does, and how a passionate man loves, no man can truly deserve my princess (in my opinion). I encourage her to hold on to what I’ve modeled.
But there’s another perspective–the female perspective. The mother perspective counters most of what this father models. This mother says, “forget him!” It says,”you don’t need him…”. It pronounces that, ” he’s nothing because he refused to GIVE me what I want…”
A mother’s distaste of the father equals poison in the development of a child. As a father I see it. And although I have no antidote, I can offer a vaccine.
“Daughters, we love you! Listen to what your mothers tell you, but recognize that there’s another side to that advice,” urges this father.
Don’t take the advice from a bitter person. Know that your father’s revenge is a successful life. We seek Queens to build our kingdom. This is why we’ve raised you to be princesses.