To the daughter I never had

I have loved you from the moment that I first saw you.

For more than a decade I have watched you grow.

And now, as you stand at the cusp of young-womanhood, I am afraid.

I’m not talking about the mindless terror that paralyses, I am talking about the concern of a father for a precious daughter.

The job of a father is not an easy one, and it is getting harder all the time. My job description reads: to lead, to encourage, and to show your children what a real man looks like. With a daughter, part of the job is to help her to grow into a strong, independent woman who can make the right decisions. But there is an old Persian Proverb that says “A men with daughters will always be a shepherd”; another part of a Father’s job is to protect his daughter from bad guys. How do you spot a bad guy? Here’s how:

  • If he wants “the pleasure of your company” without any commitment, he is a bad guy.
  • If he wants to get you alone, away from your protective circle of family and friends, he is a bad guy.
  • If your three closest friends don’t like him, he is a bad guy.
  • If he will not face me, or tries to avoid facing me, he is a bad guy. Responsibility and courage are the signs of a real man – and this chap has neither.
  • If he does not think he needs my permission to date you, he is a bad guy. And I will probably have to kill him.
  • If he talks trash or shows off about other girls he has been with, he is a bad guy. Gentlemen never kiss-and-tell.

Remember that Bad Guys are masters of disguise; they will say, be and do anything to disguise their true intentions.

Now that you are a young woman, my job has changed. Over the next few years, a major part of my job as a father will be to protect you from those who would use you for their pleasure and then discard you. I have to protect you because you are going through a stage of life where your body is developing, your hormones are raging and your brains don’t work.

The most thankless part of that job is protecting you from yourself and your own bad choices. There are times when this will make you mad. You will think that I am out to spoil your fun. You will think that the world is coming to an end because you can’t do what you want to. This is because your hormones are raging and your brains don’t work – and mistakes here can change your life – and not for the better.

So here is the best advice I have to give.

  • Sex is a meaningful, powerful and addictive force. I believe that it binds to people together at a psychic level – and when that link is severed it takes a little of your soul with it. Like a fire, it warms the whole house if kept in the fireplace. Outside the fireplace it will burn down the house. So please… don’t play with fire.
  • Oral sex is sex, no matter what Bill Clinton says.
  • The TV did not raise you, and does not know you or love you. The TV would not willingly lay down its life to protect you – so if the TV tells you something and I tell you the opposite, the TV is wrong.
  • Boyfriends are people, not fashion accessories. If you are not ready for marriage, you don’t need one.
  • Losing your virginity is a one-way trip. Once you embark, there’s no going back – so make it count.
  • You don’t “need” a man. If you do, you are asking for trouble.
  • It is not how many boyfriends you have, it is how few.
  • Stay away from “Mysterious” boys. They’re not really that mysterious, they’re just dangling out a shiny lure, playing to female curiosity.
  • A teenager needs a boyfriend like a fish needs a bicycle.
  • Say no to “dating” and yes to “courting”. The word “dating” originated in Victorian London, where it was slang for spending time with a prostitute. If you aren’t interested in marrying him, don’t date him.
  • If he is not interested in marriage, don’t waste your time on him. Guys have been known to string stupid girls along for years before finally deciding that they never really wanted to marry in the first place.
  • The longer you live together before marriage, the less likely you are of having a quality life-long marriage. That’s not opinion, it’s statistics.
  • Much hilarity is made of women and their hormones, but it is true to say that while women are dominated by their hormones, men are dominated by theirs. Men will say or promise anything to satisfy their lusts; do not believe them – that’s just the testosterone talking.
  • Over the next few years you will be tempted to trifle with a man’s affections, as young women often do; Do not play tease-the-doggie; sometimes, doggies bite… and when they do, all the tears in the world won’t wash the pain away.

When you were a girl, you played being a princess. But what is cute at six is not such a good idea at sixteen, and is a really bad idea at twenty-six. I don’t want you to grow up to be a princess, I want you to grow up to be a pioneer woman. So what is a pioneer woman? I hear you ask:

  • A princess asks “Why me?” A pioneer woman asks “How can I fix this?”
  • A princess expects to be served. A pioneer woman serves herself and others.
  • A princess complains. A pioneer woman solves.
  • A princess whines. A pioneer woman works.
  • A princess looks for someone else to blame. A pioneer woman doesn’t waste the time.
  • A princess is spoiled. A pioneer woman is special.
  • A princess consumes. A pioneer woman produces.
  • A princess wants cake. A pioneer woman bakes bread.
  • A princess seeks a rich man. A pioneer woman seeks a real man.

Yes, I am old fashioned. I look to the day you stand at the altar, radiant, beautiful and strong, and give yourself, heart and body and soul, into the keeping of a real man. A man of honor, courage and integrity who will love and protect you, and allow you to become the woman that God meant you to be. And I will do everything to prepare you for that day.

Until then, I will do everything in my power to protect you, even if it means being a pain in the… neck.

Because I love you.

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