Shortly after my daughter was born, a former student of mine sent me a link to a site titled 50 Rules For Dads Of Daughters. While I cannot perform almost all of the rules since my daughter is only 7 months old to date, I did take to heart two of them.
The number one rule is to love her mom. The author suggests, “Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection.” Truly, this is every man’s wish for his daughter and so it is also my wish for my daughter. And this isn’t just a human wish, it is also God’s desire that every single one of his adopted daughter be loved, honored, and respected for she has been loved into existence. But this love many times will involve sacrifice and a vow of death to self in order that it can grow and thrive. Thus far, I’ve been a father for a little over a year (yes, I’m counting her months in the womb), and I can truly say that what I’ve witness what my wife sacrifices out of love for Madison is truly remarkable! So the sacrifices I must make to love my wife as a husband and father is nothing more than a little contribution to the fulfillment of my vocation as husband and father. And why else make these sacrifices if not for the reason that she is a loving bride, an outstanding mother, a generous friend, and a beautiful beautiful woman and daughter of God! I’m reminded here of that wise Chesterton’s saying:
Marriage is a sort of poetical see-saw.
The second rule is to always be there. The author’s description is, “Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her.”
I have been hanging out with my daughter every chance I get since the moment she was born with the two main distractions, i.e. TV and laptop, turned off. My wanting to be with her isn’t about the fear that one day she will turn out to not like me for not being there for her; instead, I want to be with her and to do the silly things that make her smile simply because I want to do them and because I enjoy our time together. The time we spend together is both mundane, and somehow very sacred. Amid the clanging and banging of her plastic toys and her favorite teddy bear singing the usual children lullabies, there is a kind of spiritual connection established between a father and daughter that seems to slowly grow every time I’m in her presence.
So on this Father’s Day, I vow to continue to love my wife as God intends for me to love her, and to spend as much quality time with my daughter as I could since it is in my vocation as a father to do so. I now leave you with a quote from the brilliant Fulton Sheen:
True love always imposes restrictions on itself–for the sake of others–whether it be the saint who detaches himself from the world in order to more readily adhere to Christ, or the husband who detaches himself from former acquaintances to belong more readily to the spouse of his choice.