Daughters Marry Their Fathers
By: David Jackson and Rob Ingram
The moment I saw her take her first breath I felt two overwhelming emotions stir in me: “The most beautiful thing has just been born,” immediately followed by “I have to buy a gun.” Why is it our fatherly instincts immediately go there when it comes to the births of our daughters? Why do we think no boy or man will ever be good enough for our daughters? When I really wrapped my thoughts around it, I realized that most fathers fear that the males our daughters will someday date or marry will have the same thoughts that we ourselves had about females when, as young men, we became aware of attraction.
After spending over 20 years both in rearing my own daughters and mentoring a multitude of other young ladies in the community, one thing has become clear: For good or not, our daughters date and marry men who resemble what their father figure has represented to them. If a father represented neglect, abuse, absence, violence and instability, our daughters will probably be unconsciously drawn to those traits.
This works in a positive way as well, but don’t be deceived; a father can appear to be a positive and responsible figure to the external world without being so for his daughter. It’s the positive interactions and significant emotional experiences that a daughter has with her father that help brand in her mind what feels right in a relationship.
How does a daughter know the difference between sexual attractions versus real, loving affection? By the loving embrace and affection her father gives that has no sexual connection to it whatsoever.
How does a daughter know the difference between real respect and gratitude for who she is versus a plot to wine and dine her to get into her pants? When her father takes the time to take her out to movies, dinner and has meaningful conversations with her that have no sexual connections whatsoever.
How does she feel comfortable about being herself and being able to express herself in truth and integrity with the opposite sex? They say practice makes perfect. Well, if a father doesn’t practice this with his daughter, then where does she learn?
This is for the fathers who are actually involved. For those who aren’t involved with their daughters, understand the great risk you put your daughters into in trying to figure it out on their own.
David, better known as O.G. ONE, has served communities for over 25 years. Since 2001 he’s been an in-school coordinator at Jefferson High School through Self Enhancement, Inc. He’s emerged onto the music scene as the Pacific Northwest’s premier disk jockey and is a respected music producer and community activist. djogone.com.
I remember the birth of my first daughter like it was yesterday. I held her in my arms and melted. Right there on the spot I changed. I knew immediately that I had to, and would, make something of myself, for her.
I also remember narrowly avoiding multiple car accidents rushing to the hospital for the birth of my second daughter. I must have ran through six red lights trying to get to the hospital as soon as I could, only to have an eight-hour pause before she would finally enter the world.
Those two incidents taught me something profound: I had people who needed me, and they deserved my best. And so I’ve spent the next decade-plus trying to give them and my other two daughters everything I could, only to learn what they really needed: They needed me to be strong, honest, polite, gentle, consistent and loving.
And now my concerns are more about whether the boys and other men in their lives understand, or will understand, the same things. I toil over whether my daughters have to open the door in the company of these males, if they receive the type of support and attention they desire, and if society sees their true worth and value.
I’ve found raising girls is much different from raising a boy. I learned that far too many young girls are lacking what they really need from the men in their lives. I’ve even found out that at times I’ve not been everything they needed me to be, but I continue to try. I’m intentional in showing my girls what a man, especially a father, should look like: compassionate, sincere, diligent and, most of all, transparent. They’ve seen me laugh, cry, soar and stumble. What I find most interesting is that I’ve learned that even when I stumble, I get right back on track. And to be honest, they make it much easier for me to do so because I know that they are watching to see what I do. I’ve learned that with them it is even easier for me to get back up because they are somewhat like my springboards. Better yet, they are my fuel; they keep me driving.
I wonder if other men in their lives realize what I’ve figured out: The girls we raise will become the women we need.
The director of the Office of Youth Violence Prevention, working with Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Rob has worked with at-risk youth since he was 18 years old at Emanuel Community Services, the Blazers Boys and Girls Club, and later NEXT: Generation of Leaders. Rob is the most proud of his role as a husband and father.