Lessons From My Daughters

My first daughter made me a father (with significant help from my wife). I felt unprepared then, and still do, on occasion, even though she is now 21. For example, I am still unprepared when she calls in a funk about tomorrow's final exam (in which she ended up doing more than fine, thank you).

Our son was born six and a half years after our first daughter, and our second daughter was born six and a half minutes after him. Ask me about twins another time, or boys; this time my assignment is daughters. My daughters have taught me about dance, and fashion, and the photosynthesis cycle, and scuba diving, and inductive geometry. They have taught me that observation is not judgment, that you don't have to be a feminist to support feminism, and, distressingly, that the world is cruel to women in ways that men only know when we worry about our daughters.

My daughters have also taught me that they are not so very different from my son. They differ from each other as much as they differ from him. My daughters have taught me that girls don't differ from boys in the depth of their dreams, or worries, or passions. They have taught me, along with my son, that daughters strive as hard as sons, shirk chores as willingly, and are as embarrassed as sons by their father.

What do I hope that I am teaching my daughters? I wish them to see that I can be strong, loving (as a father, and as a husband), and dependable, but that I can’t answer every question, even when they hope that I can. I wish that I am teaching them that they are their own best guides, have their own strength, and are a source of wisdom, love, and caring for themselves, for our family, and, one day, for their own.

Topics: Children
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How to cite this page

Dale, Richard. "Lessons From My Daughters." 13 June 2014. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 26, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog/lessons-from-my-daughters>.

Richard Dale with his daughters.

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