Hello there friends! Today I’d like to share something with you that I found on a blog I subscribe to (Polish My Crown) that she found on a blog (From Dates to Diapers) that SHE found on a blog (Life to Her Years). (If that’s not a friend of a friend of a friend situation for ya then I don’t know what is!)
Anyway, while the first two blogs are fun to stop by, it’s the last one that has really captured my heart. It is written by a Dad (see “About Michael” below) whose blog is dedicated to listing ways he can uplift his daughter and be the kind of Daddy who truly makes a difference and impact in her life. It’s an easy read (most of his posts are tips…he’s up to 125) and will definitely pull at your heart strings. As a Daddy’s girl who is the product of a man who did many of these things and more, I appreciate the sentiment!
Today I’ve included a brief biography of the *true* author of this post, 50 of his tips, and a few of my own personal comments sprinkled in along the way.
Michael Mitchell is an (almost) thirty-something dad who blogs daily tips and life lessons for dads of daughters at lifetoheryears.com. He spends his days practicing the arts of fatherhood and husbandry, while attempting to be a man of God and a professional raiser of philanthropic funds. On the rare occasion he’s not tied up with the aforementioned and other pursuits of awesomeness, he enjoys fighting street gangs for local charities and drinking from a cup that’s half full.
1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.
*I rarely, if ever, see my parents fight. Oh, I know they have disagreements from time to time, and I know Dad pretty much has a no-arguing policy, but I’ve grown to appreciate that they don’t put that side of their relationship on display for us. It provided a very different picture of marriage than what is often presented on television, and impacted me in a big way as I began to date and think about marriage. I can see the love for my mom in my Dad’s eyes, and it always give me a measure of peace and security.
2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. 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. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she add years to her… add life to her years.
*I am blessed to have a dad who has been there for each of my life stages…this is already making me feel weepy!
3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion. Red cape and blue tights optional.
*My mom is wonderful, she deserves a million posts all to herself. She’s been there for me through so much, supporting me, encouraging me, guiding me. But there are moments in life when a girl needs her daddy to save the day, and mine has always been there for that. From broken hearts (I still remember crawling into their bed one night because an ex had told me he “didn’t love me anymore,” sending me into a hiccuping, crying, couldn’t-catch-my-breath kind of freak-out. While Mom hugged me, Dad called him a “slug” and listed off all the reasons why I didn’t need him & why I deserved better than that.) to the struggles of growing up (I’ve never talked to my Dad more on the phone than I did this past spring when I thought I might lose my job due to budget cuts. He listened, gave advice, and assured me that he & mom would help us if needed.) to big events in life (moving, buying my first new car, etc.) he’s been there through it all. And please Dad, leave the tights at home. 😉
4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.
5. Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.
*My Dad can be a man of few words…but when he prays, I listen.
6. Buy her a glove and teach her to throw a baseball. Make her proud to throw like a girl… a girl with a wicked slider.
*He probably wishes he had spent a little more time on this one. Ha!
7. She will fight with her mother. Choose sides wisely.
*Hum…he pretty much didn’t let me fight with my mother. Or my brother. Or him. I love that about my family. I hope I can replicate it in my own.
8. Go ahead. Buy her those pearls.
*My Dad has bought me some pretty awesome pieces of jewelry over the years….bracelets from stock shows, a “key to my heart” necklace (that I lost the charm for…so sad!). But the most memorable piece was probably the biggest suprise as well. Several Christmas’ ago I saw a necklace in the JCPenney ad that I loved. I showed it to him, commenting on how much I liked it…and thought that was that. I was over the moon when I opened the gift from my Dad later that month and found the necklace hidden away inside a travel coffee mug. It meant so much to me that he remembered the exact necklace I had commented on, bought it, and come up with a fun way to “trick me” when he gave it to me. I loved that necklace and wore it so often that when it was stolen a couple of years later (stupid car thief!) he and mom bought me another one. The words on the necklace actually inspired the theme for my wedding…and it still is one of my most worn pieces of jewelry.
9. Of course you look silly playing peek-a-boo. You should play anyway.
10. Enjoy the wonder of bath time.
11. There will come a day when she asks for a puppy. Don’t over think it. At least one time in her life, just say, “Yes.”
*We had quite a few dogs over the years…I don’t remember him willingly saying yes though! 🙂 He didn’t say yes to the hamster either, but luckily for me some of his friends took up a little collection and gave me enough money to buy one at a festival. Hehe…
12. It’s never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager… and on her wedding day.
*I was talking with Chris just tonight about how my parents saved money for my college education…even though we ended up being able to transfer it to my brother (thank you scholarships!) I’m so thankful they did that for me.
13. Make pancakes in the shape of her age for breakfast on her birthday. In a pinch, donuts with pink sprinkles and a candle will suffice.
14. Buy her a pair of Chucks as soon as she starts walking. She won’t always want to wear matching shoes with her old man.
*No Chucks in our family…boots all the way!
15. Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait ‘til her wedding day.
*I don’t know if he remembers it, but I can remember him picking me up from a 4H dance when I was a little girl and dancing with me before we left. I don’t remember anything about the dance but that.
16. Take her fishing. She will probably squirm more than the worm on your hook. That’s OK.
*Dad made me do lots of things that made me squirm (raising animals will do that to ya!) but it was ok…and I’m better for it!
17. Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.
*Oh he had/has this one down. Now that I’m a teacher, I wish more parents would use the word no. I respect him for saying it.
18. Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.
19. Teach her to change a flat. A tire without air need not be a major panic inducing event in her life. She’ll still call you crying the first time it happens.
*He tried to teach me this one…after a track meet outside of Brady, TX. I can still picture Mom and I trying to change that tire, while he stood there with his arms crossed and cars drove by honking. 😛
20. Take her camping. Immerse her in the great outdoors. Watch her eyes fill with wonder the first time she sees the beauty of wide open spaces. Leave the iPod at home.
*We didn’t have iPods when I was a kid. I was immersed in the great outdoors quite often though as we worked our land…and when I wasn’t working I was usually finding rocks for our “collection” or “building” houses to play in by lining rocks up to make the floorplan of a house.
21. Let her hold the wheel. She will always remember when daddy let her drive.
*I will always remember when he taught me how to drive. Those were scary times, but we both survived!
22. She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.
* When Chris asked Dad for my hand in marriage, Dad was quick to point out that I don’t “need” a man. As I began college and later a career in a new town, Dad always told me that I could do things for and take care of myself. He said it enough that I believed him, and in that I found a strength and independence I might not have known otherwise. I really think it kept me from “jumping” into marriage before I was ready…when I met and married Chris it was because I wanted to partner with him in life, not because I needed him to survive.
23. When she learns to give kisses, she will want to plant them all over your face. Encourage this practice.
24. Knowing how to eat sunflower seeds correctly will not help her get into a good college. Teach her anyway.
*My dad HATES sunflower seeds. He probably wishes I never would have learned how to chew them!
25. Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny.
26. It is in her nature to make music. It’s up to you to introduce her to the joy of socks on a wooden floor.
27. If there’s a splash park near your home, take her there often. She will be drawn to the water like a duck to a puddle.
28. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late.
*This one makes me think of the lyrics from one of my fav Taylor Swift songs “Never Grow Up”…which says ‘Memorize what it sounded like when your Dad got home, remember the footsteps, remember the words said…’ My Dad had seasons of the year when he worked long hours, and even when he was home he had a lot to do outdoors, but it was always my job to take off his boots when he came home. Sounds like a small thing, maybe even a weird thing to some, but it helped us connect in a small way every day.
29. If her mom enrolls her in swim lessons, make sure you get in the pool too. Don’t be intimidated if there are no other dads there. It’s their loss.
30. Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.
31. Teach her to roller skate. Watch her confidence soar.
32. Let her roll around in the grass. It’s good for her soul. It’s not bad for yours either.
*He once let my brother and I have a cow-patty fight. I’m not sure if that was good for anyone! 😉
33. Take her swimsuit shopping. Don’t be afraid to veto some of her choices, but resist the urge to buy her full-body beach pajamas.
*I don’t think he could have handled this one…he told mom to get me what I needed, but he didn’t want to know the details. Mom kept a pretty keen eye on my swimsuits for the both of them!
34. Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.
35. She’ll probably want to crawl in bed with you after a nightmare. This is a good thing.
36. Few things in life are more comforting to a crying little girl than her father’s hand. Never forget this.
*I know I’ve mentioned this before, but if I’m on the verge of tears I will break-down the instant I feel my father…it’s because I know I will find relief and safety in him. My first year of teaching I came home once and started crying while talking to him through the window of his concession stand. He hugged me through the window…and probably told me to suck it up!
37. Introduce her to the swings at your local park. She’ll squeal for you to push her higher and faster. Her definition of “higher and faster” is probably not the same as yours. Keep that in mind.
38. When she’s a bit older, your definition of higher and faster will be a lot closer to hers. When that day comes, go ahead… give it all you’ve got.
39. Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. WARNING: She has no concept of muscle fatigue.
40. She might ask you to buy her a pony on her birthday. Unless you live on a farm, do not buy her a pony on her birthday. It’s OK to rent one though.
41. Take it easy on the presents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead, give her the gift of experiences you can share together.
42. Let her know she can always come home. No matter what.
*This I know 100%, to the bottom of my heart. I’ve broken my Dad’s heart before, but in the midst of that hard time and disappointment he was sure to tell me repeatedly that he loved me and would never stop, no matter what. I wish more girls had Daddy’s like that.
43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.
44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them most.
45. Learn to trust her. Gradually give her more freedom as she gets older. She will rise to the expectations you set for her.
*As I referenced earlier, I’ve earned and lost my Dad’s trust a few time over the years. It was through his example and leading during that time that made me want to earn his trust back and keep it.
46. When in doubt, trust your heart. She already does.
47. When your teenage daughter is upset, learning when to engage and when to back off will add years to YOUR life. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
48. Ice cream covers over a multitude of sins. Know her favorite flavor.
49. This day <dating> is coming soon. There’s nothing you can do to be ready for it. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be.
50. Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink.
So THANK YOU DADDY for being the kind of man and father that I needed to grow into the successful, happy, well-adjusted girl that I am. Thank you momma for marrying him and building such a wonderful family. And thank you brother for being such a big part of my life. 😀
To all my readers…thank you for reading through all my mushiness. I really hope you’ll go check out the blog that these tips were pulled from…I have so much respect for its author and what he is trying to accomplish through his writing and in life. He deserves our applause!
And to those of you reading this who are feel unable to relate because your father was not able to / didn’t invest in your life, I want you to know that there is a Heavenly father who wants to shower immeasurable blessings on you. As wonderful as my Dad is, he isn’t perfect…neither is yours. But God is, and he loves you more deeply and strongly than any earthly father ever could. I’d love to talk more with you about that…e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll chat!
KEEP CALM & IF YOU’VE GOT A GOOD DAD…TELL HIM!