Today being Father’s Day there are mixed emotions surfacing for many of us, daddy’s girls and never daddy’s girls alike. Adulthood has taught me (and I’m sure you too) that no matter the circumstance, there is some life lesson to be learned through any and every relationship or experience.
So it would be easy to say all women have daddy issues and then write about what women encounter later in life due to the failure or success of that foundational relationship.
But I don’t want to do that. I’d rather not sum up a relationship that is so unique to each woman and so integral to who we become by sharing a bunch of biased opinions on fathers. So I decided to ask some friends and other voices I value to share their stories.
We asked 10 women to share their daddy-daughter relationships and the best lesson learned from the men they call father.
To start, I want to say that for me there is a difference between a “father” and a “dad/daddy.”
A father to me, is equivalent to a sperm donor, or a man who may have been in their child’s life physically but wasn’t present mentally. A man who doesn’t prioritize their child as being first and foremost after a wife(if of course a wife is applicable), a man who is distant, cold, lacks sensitivity and kindness and love– strict and hardened.
Now a dad, a man who learns through their child’s life, he is loving, caring, active and supportive of their child. Willing to go to hell and back because this is his God given blessing and he cherishes and teaches only the best and greatest qualities so that his son or daughter can grow up to only enhance the things they have learned from their dad. A dad is strong and inspiring and serves as a protector. He is consistent, accepts accountability as a man and uplifts his family all of the time.
I’ve been lucky enough to see both sides of this picture. My biological father had all of the characteristics of a “father” and for me, early on before I even had a step dad—- he was the only image I had of what a man looked liked and obviously he didn’t paint a pretty picture. For most of my life I lived in a single parent household until I was a junior in high school and got blessed with a “dad” — even while in the dating phase he worked for and eagerly and openly accepted the role of having me as his unofficial daughter and he turned my perspective around drastically.
I look at this as a tremendous blessing because most people don’t get the second chance that I was given. I have built so many memories with my dad and I love and care about him deeply. We don’t use the title “step” when referring to one another and to me that is even more impactful because although he has his own biological daughter I am equally his and he has showed me qualities that I hope my future husband and father of my kid has and will instill in his children.
This is my testimony and I hope that it blesses someone.
I love you Everett Edwards, thanks for being my dad. Happy Father’s Day
–Raven A., 25, Atlanta, GA
I would say, my relationship with my father definitely has grown in the best way. That’s so funny, my dad is always teaching me everything he’s learned or been through in life, I could say the one he always would tell me “You can do anything you put your mind to” and that has touched me a lot in the past two years. He’s a very determined “go to” person, when he wants to get something done or accomplished he does it. He’s a great motivator and inspiration to me.
–Anastasia L., 22, New York, NY
My biological father was addicted to drugs and gambling. When I was born, he took everything my mom got me: crib, clothing, diapers, etc…and sold them for money. We later found out he was a married man with 4 other children. He was in an out of our lives for about 5 months. I was 6 months old the last time he saw me. Little did we know that would be the last time. He was killed by the time I was 4.
Because of him I have chosen not to allow anything that alters my state of mind in my body. To love my children above all and to give them a beautiful life.
He had everything and lost it all. He taught me to live!
–Tamara M., 31, Los Angeles, CAMy relationship with my father is and has always been one of the relationships that’s not only impacted me the most, but something I’ve promised myself to never take for granted. As I’ve grown into adulthood, I’ve realize how much having access to his presence made me who I am today. The best lesson I’ve learned from my father? Hmmm, that’s tough, I’ve learned so many. I’d have to say he always let me, be me. The expectation was always that I come out being the best me there was, no caveats, just be me. And in that I learned to be self-aware as far who “me” was, who I wanted “me” to be, and accepting me for both who am I and who I’m becoming. He was the first person and still the most consistent person to never tell me how to live, he’s always been honest that we’re all just out here trying to figure it out, so I’ve always felt comfortable exploring life in a more contrarian sense.
–Nicolette G.,24, Dallas, TX
My father taught me what a real man is and how I, as a woman, should be treated when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex.
–Nikki E.,30, Atlanta, GA
The lesson I learned from my dad is no matter how bad your parents treat you, you have to try to break the cycle and don’t do the same to your children. He never learned how to love us, because no one ever taught him how to love!
–Melissa H.,44, Atlanta, GA
My father taught me how to throw a football and the oh, so necessary art of being subtle and humble.
–Ja’Karlon H., Atlanta, GA
I don’t know my biological father, but I have an amazing step dad who has taken on the role of being my father.I am impressed by that everyday…I’m not his own yet he loves me like his own. He came into my life when I was 13, at my literally worst, and still showed up to all my swim meets, horrible saxophone concerts, and art exhibitions he didn’t understand.It’s actions like these that make me realize that a dad or even parents for that matter don’t have to be biological…being a parent is all about showing up.–Hayley A., 25, Gainesville, FL
I’ve been lucky enough to have two dads. Both involved and loving in their own way. It took me becoming an adult to understand that these two men have a history of their own that have molded them into what I see them as now. In all my teenage angst, I was ready to lay blame to one or both of them at times because I felt so misunderstood and unloved. I realize now that they’ve both been there for me in the best ways that they know how and I can appreciate their willingness to do so, when so many men never try.From my dad:I’ve learned diligence. My dad and I haven’t always agreed on certain ideals, but I can say that his determination has always influenced me no matter what. He’s accomplished so much in my lifetime and still has many more ahead of him. His dedication to his work let’s me know that when I set goals I can achieve them with consistency and tenacity.From my step dad:I’ve learned that if I make a decision I should be confident enough to stand by it. My stepdad always tells me how my mom was so strict with me, then he came along and vouched for my independence. I was only 4 at the time, so there was no way for him to anticipate the bratty, demanding, bossy girl I would one day become. I value him for always allowing me to speak my mind and for calling me out when I was dead wrong. It taught me the confidence to make decisions, how to stand by them and also how to graciously accept when I make the wrong choice.– Briana M., 25, Atlanta, GA
The best lesson I’ve learned from my father is how to be fearless. This quality has given me independence and the ability to take a stance on critical issues. My dad pushes me to be great and that’s what I love about him the most. I’m wishing my father and all the other dads a Happy Father’s Day!
–Kierra J., 23, Atlanta, GA
Today be at peace with the relationship you have with the people in your life. Know that you can’t control them, you can only control your response and how much you allow them to affect you. If you’d like to share your story be sure to leave a comment below!
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
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