Being a father to a little girl, who will one day be a smart and beautiful woman, causes my mind to race a million miles an hour at times. I didn’t grow up with sisters (or brothers) and feel I have a greater obligation to my daughter than I might if I had a son. I am not saying that is right or wrong just how it feels in my heart. At the very foundation of those feelings of course is a desire to protect her from all the evil and bad things out there in the world. It isn’t possible to do so, but any father worth his salt is going to try his damnedest.
Despite all the progress we have made in the world I recognize that Samara is likely to face a number of battles she shouldn’t have to. Some of those will be due to her sex and some because of her ethnicity. Many of those battles are things I have not had to face personally growing up, nor have I had to face them as an adult. I am not sure how well equipped I am to help her with some of those potential challenges.
As a father I pray that she is both book smart and street smart, beautiful, compassionate and loving to others. I hope as she gets older she finds more happiness in the day-to-day of life than I have been able to. Even now when we are together I tell her to never stop dreaming, never give up on what you want and to always be kind to others. I tell her to be fearless and brave.
It’s the last one I want to emphasize here.. Whether you are a man or a woman there will be fearful times, moments when you doubt everything you have ever believed, opportunities to shrink back and live less of a life than you deserve. I want Samara to be brave and courageous in the face of fear and doubt. I want her to trust in her abilities rather than the words of others. It doesn’t matter to me if she wants to be an astronaut, doctor, lawyer, professional soccer player, teacher or magician. All I want is for her to do whatever she wants, to the best of her ability and to do so fearlessly.
Bravery comes in many forms and has many uses. Whether it is the confidence to go in to her bosses office and negotiate a raise or to stand-up to a significant other who isn’t treating her properly, she will need to be brave. Perhaps it will be bravery to enter a field that is under represented by women or ethnic minorities. It could be the courage to try out for the varsity hockey team (or any team.) It doesn’t matter what the situation. I hope that Sharlay and I are able to teach her to seize those opportunities and to move forward even in the face of fear.
If I am being honest I have no idea how to do that. I fear that in the complacency of each day teachable moments to show her courage and to instruct her on being brave will go by unnoticed. I worry that in my own life I won’t be a good example of bravery or courage to her. Worse than that I am afraid I won’t even realize the example I am setting until it is too late. As a young person it took me a long time to take risks and be brave because that wasn’t something I was encouraged to do. In fact it was often the exact opposite. It certainly saved me broken bones (I still haven’t broken any bones in my body…yet) but it also made me afraid to play football in school which is something I still regret to this day.
I came across this Ted Talk recently and as part of this post I wanted to share. It touches on a few of the issues I mentioned above and who doesn’t love a 12 minute Ted Talk? Click here to watch the video or play it in the background and just listen. Many years from now I hope that Samara will say to those who are listening that her father taught her many thing but above all of them he taught me courage and how to be a brave woman. I love you more than anything in this world Samara.
Until tomorrow, make it a better day!