Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dad and His Daughters

Question: What did Dad do to enrich his relationship with his daughters, and how do you think this affected them?


Kenneth (and Catherine)

The most meaningful and impactful thing I did with my daughters (and sons) was to have a personal interview each fast day with each of our children.  They still talk about those special times together when I had them offer a kneeling prayer as I listened to what they prayed about and then we discussed what was happening in their lives and then I offered a kneeling prayer at the end of the interview and prayed about what the Spirit directed that they needed.  They now do this with our grandchildren in their families.   I also gave them father's blessing when they returned to school and on other special occasions such as then they were married and went on missions, etc.

Brad (and Cynthia)
I was always blessed to have a good relationship with my three daughters. I think I did not feel the pressure was on me like it was with my son. I was more relaxed and could just enjoy them. However there are some things that helped. One, I enjoy being with women. I am never feeling competitive with them. Two, I am a psychiatrist and it was always easy to talk about anything with them. Three, their mother and I were never at odds or disagreement regarding the rules. They could never play one against the other. I had total respect for their mother who deserved it in every way. Four, when my children were young, I was new to the gospel and within 18 months was made a high priest and called into a bishopric. This forced me to work hard at understanding what Heavenly Father expected of me as a father and  husband. I did not just want to be a member of the church, but to be a good member of the church. I wanted to know my responsibilities which included to my children. And I had been blessed with mature and educated parents who sacrificed much to educate themselves and bring their family from relative poverty to a situation where you did not spend your life scratching out a living and were in a position to give something back. So the gospel taken seriously and good parenting form my childhood certainly played a big role. Five, I loved holding interviews with my children which I did formally and informally. Six, I believe that I was someone my children could trust. I kept my promises to them and I was consistent in discipline. They knew they were important and loved. I believe if you were to ask my daughters today they would tell you that I am always available to be their parent.

Daniel (and Barbara)
Other than being their greatest fan, next to their mother, in all their activities, I had a wonderful time taking walks and hikes with them.  There we could talk and I could listen.  I remember one daughter really liked to walk in the rain.  With this same daughter I walked from Lincoln's Monument on the Washington D.C. Mall to the Capitol building.  That wouldn't have been so bad, but she had a muscle spasm in her foot.  We still saw a lot of things and  enjoyed D.C.  We also went to New York and saw the Statue of Liberty.   I also had a great experience being a chaperone on a choir tour with her in Southern California and Disneyland.  I was asked to go to replace someone who couldn't go because the leaders knew my daughter wouldn't be embarrassed having me around.

We have three daughters; I've talked about one.  I had similar experiences with the others.  One went to Scandinavia with us on an Orchestra & Choir Tour to Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark .   She was in the orchestra.  It was a great trip.  This daughter was really interested in art and we would make a beeline for the museums, even though she didn't have much free time.

The other daughter asked me to go on a choir tour with her to Disneyland in Florida.  Then later we went to New York City and walked Manhattan Island and went to the Royal Ballet at the Met.  We saw many other things in New England.

As you can see, I've had special times with our daughters.  We still have special relationships and have fun doing special activities.  .The  most fun are usually hikes and walking of some sort.  As a family we took a special trip to Canada to Jasper National Park.  On the way we were able to all attend the open house of the Cardston Temple.  We will all remember that.

The trips we took back east were in conjunction with my employment.  When I would be require to be in Rhode Island, I'd double that with one of my children that was near H.S. graduation.  Our other trips as a family were in a '78 Ford Super Cab.  We camped out a lot.  With planning and time, we were able to go many places without spending a lot of money.

Brianne (and Spencer)
Dad was a friend to the girls.  When they told him about things they were working on he would say "that's really neat!"  He would listen to them, help them with projects in small ways, drive them, and tell them they looked cute.

If Mom was really on their case, or friends made them blue, he would take them for a soft ice cream.  This sometimes made Mom crazy, but in hind sight it was brilliant.  They didn't do anything awful to show Mom they were independent, cause they didn't want to disappoint Dad.  He didn't even talk about the dispute, didn't undermine Mom, just let the girls know he loved them.

I think it is a very powerful thing for a girl to have a Dad who admires her and gives her positive attention! 

It means she isn't starved for male affection when she gets to Jr. High and doesn't fall for boys who flatter to get their way.

Marsha (and Richard)
My husband and I were raised in the era when there was more of a separation of roles.  He took full responsibility for the support of the family and I took full responsibility for the care of the children, meals, family needs, etc.  He worked hard but was always home for both breakfast and dinner and never brought work home with him.  I think having him there for all the meals helped him keep in touch with what was happening in the children’s lives.  He was always interested in all I had to share which kept him informed and up-to-date on their needs and activities.

Dad has always been both the authoritarian and the “fun one”. He mixed high expectations of behavior with wrestling, tickling and being sure we did some fun things together as a family.  He used his vacations to take the family on trips to extended family, taught everyone to ski (his specialty), held family home evenings and led scripture study. 

With young children he just played with them.  As the girls grew they probably best remember feeling their father’s love and devotion by the time he spent with them skiing, taking a couple of major hikes, daddy daughter outings and events, etc.  He’s not one to get into deep conversation but he hired some of the girls to work at his company which gave him one on one time with them traveling to and from work in the summer time.  Seeing him in the work environment helped them to admire their father as they caught glimpses of him overseeing a large company.  He also worked side by side with them in the yard each Saturday.  Teaching them to work was a high priority.  Both boys and girls did yard work.

He demonstrated his love of the Lord and his devotion to Him by the total commitment he had to our church and his church responsibilities.  He served well and created for them a name they could be proud of. We were part of a loving and supportive environment with many friends who served as additional role models.

Dad attended their events, admired their talents and generally just loved them. Off and on he held monthly interviews with them to see how they were feeling about life and listened to the general conversations that I held with the girls. 

He carried the burdens of financial struggles cheerfully, safeguarding the children from the worries of our ups and downs and has the most optiministic outlook on life.  I know he has motivated all our children to reach for their dreams through his own example and encouragement. He is a man of vision.

Now as our children are all launched into homes of their own, he is a business counselor to many, has helped some get started in businesses of their own and has been a good business consultant.  He prays for them diligently and trusts them to manage their own lives effectively and they do. 

Dad loves his kids and I think they all know it.  He gives hugs, encouragement and praise generously. He is not intimately involved in their lives but trusts them as he prays for them daily and cares about them deeply.  He has been a strong role model. He always honored women in his speech and actions. I am sure that helped his daughters to know how they should expect to be treated.

Our daughters have grown up to be confident, capable women who know how to work, show a lot of initiative and are not afraid to tackle a task. They are deeply religious, living to the high standards of their faith.  They are very aware of the needs and feelings of others and because they know how to work hard and manage tasks, they are able to serve others well. They join their husbands in a deep commitment to their children and family life and put family first in their lives. Each made her way through the challenges of teenage years, developing individual talents while keeping standards and beliefs in tact and married admirable men.  I feel the security they felt in their father’s love and vision helped them to reach for high goals both in education and marriage and now in moving forward in such positive directions.

Karen and Lance
Dad plays and writes music, so practicing song girl routines with the piano worked well as they had a picture window to look at as if it were a mirror, in the evening. The girls were much better with Dad than their friends with their dads. They liked him and were pretty close to him. As we bring up memories they always mention him and the things they would do together. There never seemed to be any resentment from them. Dad was an Elementary School Principal and he had a chance to take them to his school for Summer School. They all rode together and were able to talk about things and play games on the way. This was an extra for them all. Dad would try to get the girls to sing at home and take them on Father Daughter outings. Make it something special and have fun.

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