Friday, August 29, 2008

Listening to Girls

Girls tend to be a riddle to fathers. Like any mystery, our relationships with our daughters can be frightening, exciting, entertaining, baffling, enlightening or leave us completely in the dark; sometimes all at once.

If we want to unravel this mystery, we have to pay attention, even in the most ordinary moments. If we want to figure it out, we have to listen even before our daughters can speak.
A father named Jeff recognized this from his daughter’s earliest days:

At three days old, she had jaundice, and they were giving her the foot prick to get a blood sample. The person giving it asked me to give her a pacifier or hold her but I told her, “That’s your business, you are the one who wants the blood, I don’t need the blood. You prick her and she is going to be mad, because it hurts like hell. Let her scream; let her have those feelings.”
At that moment I realized that everyone is going to try to snuff her feelings. I mean it starts that early - just from the very beginning. Stick something in her mouth and say, “Don’t feel this, it’s OK.” Well, I don’t believe that, and as a result I think she is a lot better off.

Why is it so important for us to listen to girls? Because a girl’s voice may be the most valuable and most threatened resource she has. Her voice is the conduit for her heart, brains and spirit. When she speaks bold and clear – literally and metaphorically – then she is much safer and surer. We have to nurture these qualities.

Learn more at

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Let me tell you about an engaging, insightful new book designed for dads and adult daughters who want more from their relationship – and for professionals who work with families. It’s called “Between Fathers and Daughters: Enriching or Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship” by Dr. Linda Nielsen of Wake Forest University, where she teaches the country’s only college course on father-daughter relationships.

It’s fascinating to read, yet also has Linda’s no-nonsense, concrete strategies for improving the relationships between adult women and their dads and stepdads.

It’s rather baffling (or pathetic?) that there is only one college course on dad-daughter relationships, so little research on the topic, and so few books about it. So, I want to draw attention when something good does appear. Even if you’re the dad of a younger daughter, check out this book, and it will absolutely convince you of how important you are to your daughter’s future.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Girl Effect

Think about a daughter in your life--any daughter. Think about her potential. Then imagine her living in dire poverty in a developing country. Does your perception of her potential change?

Take a moment to watch this video:

The statistics back up its claim. Do everything you can to support the potential of EVERY daughter.